Going green should be one of the most talked-about topics in the landscape industry as it can definitely be integrated into marketing to create a real service niche. The reality is, while some companies have put a real effort into promoting green initiatives… it vastly remains to be the green industry’s ‘best-kept secret.’ Putting a focus on green initiatives can help position your company as a leader. Green initiatives can translate into operating efficiencies and environmental awareness, which can be promoted to clients and prospects. Showing that your company cares about its impact on the environment also shows your employees and customers your commitment and drives to build a better world. After all, we are landscapers. We are the stewards of the environment.
When your company talks about more than it does to make a buck, it can position itself as a ‘thought leader. Share experiences and lessons learned related to working on your green initiative program. Show how your company thinks beyond making a living as it focuses on reducing its carbon footprint and how this benefits the client. Publicize your green initiatives and boost your company’s reputation. Make the marketplace aware of what your company is doing to be at the top of its game as a citizen of the world, protecting resources for the next generation and the one beyond that. Your best clients will appreciate your company’s commitment.
Do not hesitate to show customers how green initiatives make your company more competitive. Saving money from green initiatives into competitive advantages for the customer. Going green also creates multiple opportunities to save money as your company grows. Fewer resources consumed means less money spent. A dollar saved becomes a dollar of profit. The tax benefits/breaks for businesses who take steps to be green can be turned into cash. Use that money to fund marketing initiatives, reward employees for good work and develop things customers need and want. Thus, you create a self-perpetuating wheel: save, invest, improve, outperform, save.
What can you do to go green?
1- Switch to LP Powered Mowers- Propane is a clean-burning fuel that substantially reduces greenhouse gas and other harmful emissions. Using propane-powered mowers provides opportunities for green branding. Propane provides longer run times than gasoline, with dual propane tanks each providing 7.5 gallons for a total of 15 gallons. Powering a mower on propane extends engine life. Propane is traditionally much less expensive than gasoline or diesel, usually offering more stable pricing. Propane is domestically produced.
2- Battery Powered Equipment- Electric equipment is five times less noisy than gas-powered trimmers and blowers, breaks down less, and requires less maintenance. This saves costs while reducing greenhouse gas emissions that contribute to global warming. Several major lawn equipment manufacturers make commercial-grade string trimmers, blowers, and handheld.
How do you power all that electric equipment? “Simple, solar electric power. You can install Solar panels mounted on your enclosed trailers that feed charging stations that power up batteries electric equipment,”… says Industry consultant Steven Cohen of GreenMark Consulting Group”.
3- Recycle Landscape Waste- Take that landscape waste generated from your properties and convert it into a usable product. Typical landscape waste that can be converted into usable materials such as topsoil, compost, and mulch include; wood waste, leaves, excess soil and grass from landscape operations, stone. These can be used as soil amendments when planting trees, shrubs, or seasonal flowers and mulch for a bed cover.
4- Organics & IPM- Organic fertilizers are a great Eco-conscious alternative to the traditional chemicals associated with turf care. They contain raw materials meant to stimulate and feed the life of the soil. Transition your turf program from a chemical-based program to an organic-based program. While the transition from chemical to organic lawn care requires a willingness to learn about and accept the gradual processes of nature, patience and ecological awareness are essential. Integrated Pest Management Integrated Pest Management (IPM) is an effective and environmentally sensitive approach to pest management that relies on a combination of common-sense practices. IPM programs use current, comprehensive information on the life cycles of pests and their interaction with the environment. In combination with available pest control methods, this information is used to manage pest damage by the most economical means and with the least possible hazard to people, property, and the environment.
5- Water Management- There is no more important and precious natural resource than water. Introducing a smart-water technology platform into your green initiative program will save your customers not only water but money as well. Best practices reduce run-off, overspray, and costly environmental and property damage while providing an optimum moisture level for plant health and performance. Working closely with your irrigation vendor, local water districts, and trained personnel is a great way to contribute to the green initiative movement.
What else can you do? The possibilities are endless- Paper reduction internally, recycling of paper, cans, and bottles. Recycling of ink cartridges. How about the use of more electronic communications like this one?
Whatever you do to promote this platform, you must not just market it; you must LIVE IT! If your people are passionate, and you feed that passion, it will have a multiplier effect. What better way to demonstrate commitment to your employees and customers than to pay attention to a common set of values. Be honest about living in a world of limited resources. Be careful and respectful with how those resources are used. Build a better world for tomorrow by acting with care and concern for the world today. GO GREEN!
Looking for a good book on the subject, suggested reading;
- The Visionary Leader: How to inspire success from the top down.
- Susan Bagyura (Author), Michael E. Gerber (Foreword), Fiona Dempsey (Illustrator)