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6 Things to Know When Building an Authentic Green Brand ESG is a noble undertaking that requires a genuine commitment to change.

By Rob Lancit Edited by Micah Zimmerman

Key Takeaways

  • Committing to building an authentic green brand – or transition to one – is a noble undertaking that requires a genuine effort to accomplish.
  • More and more corporations are beginning to see the innate value in adopting purposes, policies, and procedures that protect public health and demonstrate a true commitment to building an environmentally sustainable brand.

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

When you set out to build or transition your brand into an environmentally sound and sustainable business, it takes more than just lip service. It takes a thorough commitment to evaluate every aspect of your operation to develop best practices that align with green strategies across the board. This extends to the production of your product and/or service offerings, vendors, suppliers, office supplies, distribution model, partnerships, and any other strategies capable of reducing your overall carbon footprint.

More and more corporations are beginning to see the innate value in adopting purposes, policies, and procedures that protect public health and demonstrate a true commitment to building an environmentally sustainable brand. To get started down the right path, here are six things to know about building and sustaining an authentic green brand.

Related: 7 Strategies Businesses Can Use to Be Profitable and Sustainable

1. Being green is an urgent social issue

While there currently appears to be a wide discrepancy among party lines in the U.S. about climate change, a recently published survey from Science Advances reveals that more than three-quarters of Americans (77%) believe it's a serious threat to humanity. Two of the largest consumer demographics, Millennials and Gen Z, appear to be the most concerned, and their combined purchasing power will only increase in the coming years. As a whole, society has become much more cognizant of supporting brands that practice environmentally sound and sustainable business practices.

2. Assess your ESG efforts

Brands looking to establish an authentic green reputation should conduct a thorough analysis of their own environmental, social and governance (ESG) policies. ESG can be incorporated into your business model in a multitude of ways to enhance the company's environmental and social impact. A review of your current practices, relationships, and approach to selling and supporting your product or service can reveal areas where you could be making a larger ESG contribution. There are even consultants who specialize in this area who can provide a holistic approach that helps identify risks, develop transitional strategies, and provide a roadmap of solutions to implement.

Related: Are You an Ethical Entrepreneur? Here's How Business Leaders Can Embrace Social and Environmental Responsibilities

3. Integrating sustainability into your business model

One of the best ways to demonstrate your green commitment to stakeholders and consumers is to incorporate these efforts into your core values and mission statement. These values should be reflected in your marketing, sales and operations process and have a measurable effect on your bottom-line financials. To remain true to your principles, establish key performance indicators early on that will measure the impact quantitatively. The positive results can become a powerful part of your value proposition and even a key differentiator among your target audience. One surefire way to succeed is to create a "Green Operations" team or committee to oversee a comprehensive effort.

4. Leave no stone unturned

When brands begin looking into how to build or transition to a greener model, they're often surprised at the number of ways to demonstrate real change. Opportunities to become a greener company can be found in almost every aspect of your business operations – provided you're willing to explore what's possible. Brands can begin with their own headquarters or facilities by reviewing their own level of energy consumption and use. If you sell a product, are you sourcing green or recycled materials? If you supply a service, how is it delivered? If your business model is dependent on transportation, what type of vehicle is used? Then there's internal waste – as we're all well aware by now, there are many different organic products and materials that can easily be recycled and repurposed for future use.

Related: Emerging ESG Trends Forward-Thinking Small Business Owners Need to Watch

5. Source green products and services

Organizations that aspire to build a green brand should do everything in their power to work with other green brands. This extends to all vendors and suppliers that make up your supply chain — everything from raw materials to manufacturing and distribution. Establish a formal policy to incorporate as many green and renewable products and processes as possible.

Related: How to Maintain Brand Authenticity in an Increasingly Skeptical World

6. Don't just talk the talk

It takes a solemn commitment for brands to establish a green reputation, and the results should always match the effort. You can't treat the exercise like window dressing. In fact, there's a word for companies who do – it's called greenwashing. This term refers to any misrepresentation of a company's ESG claims and performance, and it's fast becoming synonymous with a much worse term – fraud. Committing to building an authentic green brand – or transition to one – is a noble undertaking that requires a genuine effort to accomplish. Treat it as such.

Rob Lancit

Entrepreneur Leadership Network® Contributor

Vice President Franchise Development

Rob Lancit is a serial entrepreneur with three decades of experience in franchising, having served as a consultant, franchisor, franchisee, area developer, and supplier. All have given him a unique perspective and understanding of the franchise industry both domestically and internationally.

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