BE Blogs: A Voice for Responsible Business
As part of our sustainability pledge to discuss best practices openly and honestly, we share insights that allow others to effect change in their community. While companies have responsibility to drive change internally, we believe they also can add to their insights and impact by sharing their experience with others.
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BusinessEarth has had an exciting week at the SXSWeco Conference here in our home city of Austin, Texas. Thousands of individuals from businesses, NGOs, governments, and more have interacted and discussed some of the biggest problems and opportunities that lie in sustainability.
There is far too much to cover in one post, but over the next few weeks and beyond, we’ll share all sorts of ideas and insights that we’ve come across at the conference. So keep a look out for some really interesting stuff!
These are some of the main standout topics we look forward to sharing with you this month:
- How to drive corporate sustainability intrapreneurship using internal incubators, etc.;
- What it takes to get consumers and employees to make sustainable behavioral changes;
- New tools that will allow companies and individuals to better manage their energy use;
- Social media strategies for sustainable business;
- How sustainable architecture and design can take cues from nature;
- How to use “big data” to drive energy efficiency;
- Why sustainability is still poised to be the most profitable business opportunity of our time;
- And much more.
As Americans think about military service this week, let’s consider one lesson that the military stands to teach our companies: sustainability is a strategic imperative. The U.S. military has been embracing green technologies for years, and more private companies should follow suit.
I read a figure from Ernst & Young last week that shocked me. In a recent survey, nearly 40% of tax department respondents inside of companies that have a sustainability strategy were completely unaware of any green tax incentives that may be available to them. To me, this says two major things:
One: sustainability departments are insufficiently aware of the many federal, state, and local tax incentives that are available to them.
And two: sustainability is good business, even without tax savings, for many companies.
To address that first point, I encourage you to take a look at the following resources, which may help you find incentives that are relevant to your business:
- Energy.gov – a federal listing of energy savings incentives
- DSIRE – The Database of State Incentives for Renewables and Efficiency
- EPA Funding Opportunities – though not directly tax-related, this is a list of resources for getting funding for green facilities projects
Additionally, there are far too many local incentives to list, but you should look to see what is available in your own city.
And on that second point, I’m somewhat encouraged that such a large group of companies realize that sustainability is a vital key to their success, even without governmental help. Though I hope that more businesses take advantage of what is available so that they will continue to grow.
What incentives does your company enjoy? And do you know of any more resources to help other businesses find them? If so, please share with us in the comment section below.