2018 will be a year of big changes for American business owners, and many have already begun to reap the benefits of going green. Companies such as Google and Wal-Mart are becoming leaders in sustainable business practices with the use of cloud technology and new policies that sever ties with suppliers who contribute to high carbon emissions. In addition to reducing their environmental impact on the planet’s ecosystem, they are also appealing to the next generation of eco-conscious investors and consumers. With improvements in technology and easier access to renewable resources, there are many reasons to make 2018 the year to go green.
Green Can Compete
More and more customers want to support clean businesses. According to a recent study on market trends regarding clean business, 75% of U.S. consumers are more likely to support companies that offer economically-sustainable products or services. This percentage is expected to increase as green industry methods gain higher influence in determining market shares. Global trends are also showing similar promise. In another study conducted on 40 different companies from various fields, German-based banking service Deutsche Bank revealed that higher environmental efforts directly correlated with long-term success and advantage over rival businesses, proving that going green not only profits the planet but is currently the integral way to stand out from competitors who are not investing in sustainability. The decision for businesses to become aware of their environmental impact is increasingly demanded by consumers, shareholders, and governments worldwide.
Trends in Environmental Regulations
In the next decade, businesses can expect to see stronger government regulations in favor of limiting traditional practices that generate harmful emissions, and data provided by the Pew Research Center suggests that the majority of Americans are in favor of stricter environmental regulations. In addition to popular opinion, the Pennsylvania State Supreme Court (PSSC) recently ruled in favor of a case that upheld a portion of the state’s constitution claiming responsibility to prohibit the degradation of public natural resources. This ruling changed a section of state legislature that would direct natural gas lease revenues to the state’s general fund and instead voted in favor of a new policy that directs revenue to the Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Additionally, the PSSC overruled a gas drilling law in 2013 because it violated the state’s fiduciary duty.
American business owners need to bear in mind the progressive movement that states across the country are making to protect the planet. Companies that depend on fossil fuels to produce plastics and other environmentally-toxic synthetic materials will have to adapt to future changes enforced by government regulation—that is, if consumer demand does not first render these poor practices obsolete.
Go Green, Save Green
Many business owners are aware that going green is an unconventional approach to running a business and therefore can be expensive, but some would be surprised to know that alternative energy sources, such as solar energy, can save a lot in expenses over time. Solar has not only proved itself as a lucrative long-term investment; it can be the stable source of energy your business needs to withstand the coming changes in fossil fuel access. Surface-level oil and natural gas has been depleted, leaving only what resources exist deep underground, which are consequentially harder and more expensive to access. Not considering the heavy costs in environmental damage, these location factors (paired with limited, non-renewable characteristics) contribute to fossil fuels being an unstable and highly-irregular energy source. Unfortunately, many homes and commercial properties still rely on fossil fuels as a main source of electricity. It is uncertain how much longer we will be able to burn through these resources or at what cost, but we do know that the sun will shine for years to come.
Energy utilities are aware of this, and so is the U.S. government. The Federal Tax Credit (FTC) for solar panels exists for this reason: to promote and financially assist the transition from traditional energy sources to solar at both the business and homeowner level. The FTC currently offers nationwide funding for 30% of solar-electric and thermal paneled systems. This number will decrease to 26% in 2020 and continue to drop until 2022 when the credit disappears for all residential systems and remains permanently at 10% for commercial properties. The U.S. government aims to facilitate the growth of solar-sourced energy over the next five years with the expectation that it will be an industry standard by the next decade.
More than ever before, now is the time for businesses to take the next step toward a greener future. Business owners have the opportunity to become leaders in transforming their industries through sustainable practices and renewable resourcing. Many have already seized initiative, and many more will follow in 2018.
To learn more about solar and how your business can take the next step toward renewable energy, visit SunlightSolar.com.