One way to gain a competitive edge over your business rivals is to adopt environmentally responsible sustainability practices.
But what if your competitors have beaten you to the punch, or are"greener” than you? The only way to find out and level the playing field is to do a little research.
Here are some tips on sizing up the competition from Mother Earth News:
- Start with an Internet investigation. Type the name of the company into a search engine along with words like “environment,” “sustainability policy” or “green practices.” That should provide information on any environment al initiatives the company has taken. It could also reveal any environmentally irresponsible actions. However, ignore any information that comes directly from the company’s homepage which may simply be dismissed as self-promoting “green washing.”
- Search for sustainability reports. If the company in question is striving to preserve the environment, it likely wants to share that information in a corporate social responsibility or sustainability report. Those are harder to fabricate and should contain substantiated claims.
- Check for any environmental awards. Companies are often recognized for their legitimate efforts to protect the environment. If your competitor has received an award, it will be noted on the Internet. If not, their green credentials may be questionable.
- Refer to ratings sites. Independent organizations such as Green Seal include a search program on their websites where you can easily identify eco-friendly businesses. Others, such as Climate Counts, assess everything from recycling programs to energy efficiency when rating companies for their eco-friendliness – and often provide a score.
- Look at the company they keep. Businesses that are certified green publicize their association with respected environmental groups. On the other hand, companies that only claim to be green do business with environmentally irresponsible organizations. Either way, this information can be very telling.
Once you know how green your competitors are, you can focus on matching or exceeding their level of sustainability – and boosting your company’s credibility and customer base in the process.
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