What is Eco-efficiency?
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Eco-efficiency is increasingly becoming a key requirement for success in business. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) describes eco-efficiency as a management strategy of doing more with less. In practice, eco-efficiency is achieved through the pursuit of three core objectives:
- Increasing product or service value;
- Optimizing the use of resources; and,
- Reducing environmental impact.
Because of the opportunity for cost savings associated with each of these objectives, addressing them makes good business sense. In fact, case studies of companies that have adopted eco-efficient technologies and practices demonstrate that eco-efficiency stimulates productivity and innovation, increases competitiveness and improves environmental performance.
Reaping the Benefits
Eco-efficiency offers a number of practical benefits for your business, including
- Reduced costs - through more efficient use of energy and materials;
- Reduced risk and liability - by "designing out" the need for toxic substances;
- Increased revenue - by developing innovative products and increasing market
- Enhanced brand image - through marketing and communicating your improvement
- Increased productivity and employee morale - through closer alignment of
company values with the personal values of the employees; and,
- Improved environmental performance - by reducing toxic emissions, and increasing the recovery and reuse of "waste" material.
Company-wide Commitment = Company-wide Benefits
Achieving the benefits listed above requires a commitment to eco-efficiency throughout the various divisions, departments and functions of your business. The return on investment is achievable benefits in all areas of your business, including:
viewing your company's activities through an eco-efficient lens can reveal hidden costs and unexploited opportunities. Better information supports better decisions, which can lead to competitive advantage in the marketplace.
Design and development
reducing material and energy intensity of your products and services, and increased product durability results in cost savings for your business and your customers.
working with other business functions to reduce hazardous and/or toxic materials used in processes and facilities, reduces costs associated with employee health and safety, and waste disposal.
tracking costs and benefits of managing your environment impacts and improvements, results in more informed decision-making and strategic planning.
Marketing and Communications
providing your customers, stakeholders and investors with updates on your productivity improvements and innovations improves brand image, and can attract new customers and financing.
Production and Distribution
optimizing the use of materials and resources, minimizing waste, and offering remanufacturing/refurbishing services provides your company with cost savings opportunities and opens new markets.
implementing recycling programs, improving building efficiency and site management processes motivates employees and improves the company image while reducing operational costs.
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