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Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is a phrase that you often hear bandied about in business meetings these days - but is there a positive relationship between customer engagement and sustainability?

SMEs are often guilty of thinking that CSR policies are just an annoyance and will have no tangible effect on their business. However, research by the Reputation Institute, cited in Forbes, revealed that your desire to buy, refer, work for, and invest in a company is 60% motivated by your perceptions of the company’s reputation and only 40% by your perceptions of the products or services it sells.

Consumers are becoming increasingly eco-conscious - last year the value of green home product sales, such as sustainable timber and renewable energy installations, was up by 7% to £8.9 billion, according to The Ethical Consumer Report 2013. From these figures it is no surprise that being a green business is one of the top CSR priorities on a consumer’s list.

How Do you Become a Green Business?

A green business strives to have a positive impact upon the environment, working hard to adopt sustainable solutions and making a conscious decision to reduce their carbon footprint by being energy efficient.

Being a green business doesn’t mean you have to sit in the dark all day. Replacing items around your workplace can make a huge difference to your energy consumption. For example, replace the old hand dryers in your bathrooms with modern energy-efficient machines. The high concentration of air produced from these dryers works much faster than older models, reducing the time taken and energy used to dry hands.

Switching your light bulbs from traditional bulbs to either Compact Fluorescent Lamps (CFLs) or Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) can significantly reduce the amount of light energy used. Although more expensive to buy initially, LEDs are more energy efficient than CFLs and will save you more money in the long term.

Offices in the UK throw away thousands of tonnes of paper every year. Think before you print or be even more energy efficient and promote paperless activity. Email documents instead of printing them out and opt for ceramic cups instead of paper ones. If you must use paper, then make sure you recycle it after use.

How Can Your Green Ideology Attract Customers?

While being energy efficient will do wonders for your own profits, it also has the power to boost company equity and build a positive public image of the firm.

49% of consumers claim that they actively buy from responsible brands, according to CSR international. So, if you are a green business, promote that fact to attract and retain customers.

Getting involved with local sustainability projects is a good way to improve community engagement and showcase your values. You can supplement this by promoting your green image across social media channels and you may even gain coverage in the local media.

Inspire green activity to flourish in your business by creating a “green team” to become eco ambassadors for your company. Members of this team will come up with innovative ways for your business to become more responsible and can research local and national projects that you can get involved in. Hopefully, their enthusiasm for the role will be infectious and everyone in your workforce will catch the green fever.

If you want to learn more about energy efficiency in the workplace, why not check out our top tips in the Love Energy Savings Help Centre?

It’s clear that being more energy efficient can benefit your enterprise in a number of different ways. First things first, make sure that you’re not paying too much for the energy that you do use in the workplace. If you want to switch to a greener energy supplier or simply want to compare prices in order to find a cheaper tariff, contact Love Energy Savings today for an impartial online comparison.