NAMC News Feature: The Green Advantage for Your Business

June 01, 2015
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NAMC News Feature: The Green Advantage for Your BusinessSophia Head Shot

By Sophia Cavalli

Diversity and Community Partnering Director 

Balfour Beatty Construction

We live in an increasingly complex business world. That reality, combined with the need to constantly outperform our competitors, means business as usual is not enough.  Green business practices are increasingly becoming a competitive issue. Paying attention to “greening” our businesses is especially sensible when so many of our potential customers and clients are actively seeking greener products and services.

Balfour Beatty Construction was ranked by Engineering News-Record as the No. 6 U.S. Green Building Contractor in 2014. As such, we are committed to conducting ourselves in ways that are responsible and earn the trust and respect of our clients, the communities we build in, and our employees.

“Operating our business in a way that is good for people, the planet and profits is no longer optional. It is a fundamental way of doing business,” says Tracy Browne, Balfour Beatty’s national vice president of sustainability.

Sustainability and Green Business Practices are big buzzwords across the nation, but what exactly do they mean for minority-owned businesses? Businesses embarking on green business practices typically focus on three drivers:

Competitive Advantage – Putting a focus on green business practices increases profits and revenues, and can lower operating costs.  Additionally, promoting green successes can help create preference and build market share.

Reduce Risk – Taking into account how future regulation may affect your business and planning to stay ahead of expected regulation can save time and money. Improving safety and health conditions may also help reduce insurance costs.

Branding – Businesses that adopt green business practices earn a good reputation with clients, suppliers, investors, community members, and their employees. A good reputation can also attract and keep top talent.

“In the next decade, the most successful companies will be those that integrate sustainability into their core business practices and operations,” says John Bernardy, a senior vice president in Balfour Beatty’s Southwest Division.

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For those companies seeking to pursue or enhance an existing Green/Sustainability Plan for their business, here are some key things to keep in mind:

  1. Get Started. Identify an internal champion and get moving. Create a plan.
  2. Commit. In the beginning, it is very important to get people to invest in your plan, so communication and involvement is a key factor. Communicate commitment often.
  3. Small Acts – Big Rewards. Consistently reducing the amount of energy, water and paper your business uses can make a huge difference, both to the environment and to your bottom-line.
  4. Set Metrics. What gets measured gets done – set goals. Consider what goals make the most sense for your business. Having a mix of short and long-term goals will make your sustainability plan a living document that your company can return to and revise over time.
  5. Report on Goals. Include a plan for reporting your goals and achievements to clients and employees. Sharing achievements can be a powerful way to further build your brand.

To learn more about ways to save money and grow your business, Sophia Cavalli from Balfour Beatty Construction is offering a “Green Building and Green Business Practices for Minority Businesses” workshop at the NAMC Annual Conference on June 18th. For more details visit: NAMC Annual Conference.

When we look at the world today and the trends that will shape business far into the future, it’s easy to see that embedding green business practices into our businesses is essential.

Sophia Cavalli promotes a culture of Supplier Diversity and Corporate Social Responsibility at Balfour Beatty Construction. She can be reached at scavalli@balfourbeattyus.com.