Being green – what does it mean ?
The term “green” has been driven deep into the collective consciousness of the American public, as well as many other industrialized countries of the world. We hear it relating to so many phases of our personal and business lives that it has now become a commonly accepted fact of life if not a cliché, overly-used and perhaps too broad of a term.
So what does being green actually mean? We’ve heard other terms such as “carbon footprint,” “stainability,”
“environmentally friendly” and “organic.” There are lots of descriptions for what is essentially the same thing.
The term “green” is representative of environmentalism, which is simply the philosophy and social movement that has, at its center, a concern for the conservation and improvement of the natural environment, both for its own sake as well as its importance to civilization.
While the overall social and economic acceptance of environmentalism has really picked up steam in the past several years, the awareness of the impact our civilization is having on the environment dates back as early as 1272 when King Edward I of England banned the use of sea coal because of the smoke burning problems it had caused.
Why is it important to our Industry — how does this affect our businesses?
Obviously, adopting a “green” strategy affects how our individual companies operate. It can impact how and what you sell, have an internal and external social impact, and have a deep economic impact on your company. If you want your company to go “green,” you will have to approach it in two stages: 1) How you handle your company’s resources and 2) How and what you sell to your clients.
GOING GREEN CAN SAVE YOU GREEN
We first focus on your company resources. Our industry, as well as the overall U.S. economy, has received painful financial lessons within the past two years. If those lessons do not yield key changes in how we all do business, the results can be financially catastrophic.
A resource that has probably the heaviest use and has the greatest impact on a vending operation is fuel. Fuel is the perhaps the most glaring example of how a green strategy can impact a company’s finances.
From June of 2007 to June of 2008, the cost of gas increased an average $1.14 per gallon. The impact this has had on the average vending company is frightening.
According to Tom Whennen Jr., president of Triple A Services Inc. in Romeoville, Ill., their fleet’s fuel costs rose by 33 percent in the last year. This has resulted in a spending increase of over $5,000 per month compared to a year ago. Combine this fact with slipping sales, resistance to price increases at the account level and continuing increases in costs in every area of business operations and you have the recipe for disaster for today’s vending operation.
So what can be done about this? While alternative energies are being researched and hybrid vehicles are just now being rolled out to the market in a serious manner, focus must turn to making changes to yield as immediate of an impact as possible. There are quite a few easy and inexpensive maintenance steps that can be taken to add miles to every gallon of fuel and save money.
Step One: Vehicle maintenance
It may seem elementary, but simple proper vehicle maintenance can save lots of fuel. You can avoid gas vaporization by ensuring that your vehicle gas cap is not damaged, loose or missing. Tires must be properly inflated, otherwise it can cost you a few miles per gallon.
Replacing spark plugs regularly to avoid misfiring also helps fuel wastage. Lastly, replacing clogged air filters can improve gas mileage by as much as 10 percent.
Driving habits are another major contributor to poor fuel economy. These habits include exceeding speed limits, aggressive driving, and excessive idling.
When traveling at highway speeds, your drivers should keep windows closed if at all possible. By doing so, one can increase mileage by 10 percent. Steady driving helps as well, since sudden changes in speed wastes fuel.