Contractors of all types have the capacity to make a large impact on the environment and the community. Today, many are taking the “pledge” to be more green and socially conscious by adopting a triple bottom line business model.
A triple bottom line business (like our featured Bootstrapper Nicole Snow at Darn Good Yarn) is one that demonstrates its commitment to people and the planet while also seeking profits (known as a “3P” business plan). It’s not enough to say that you care about your employees or are concerned about the quality of the water we drink: actions need to be taken that have a positive impact on employees, the community, and the planet.
Benefits of Being a Triple Bottom Line Contracting Company
- Create goodwill and drive sales by earning the loyalty of employees and the support of the community. Paying high wages and offering good benefits will create a positive working atmosphere and that leads to better productivity and more profits. Being active and involved in community causes will inevitably lead to more business as your name will come up first when people need the type of services you provide.
- Lower costs and help the local economy by cutting waste, recycling materials and buying materials and supplies from local sources. Lowering your costs can give your company a competitive edge by allowing you to pass on some of the savings to your customers.
- Be a friend to the planet we all share by practicing sound and sustainable policies. Your company can reduce its carbon footprint in many ways by driving fuel efficient vehicles, using non-toxic paints and solvents, and using products made from recycled or renewable materials.
To give you an idea of how different types of contractors can implement a people, planet, profit business model, take a look at the examples below. Each small business has been able to earn a profit while also being true to the ideals of treating people and the planet well.
T Paul Sek Eco-Painting
T Paul Sek and his wife, Debbie, have always believed in living healthy, working in a healthy environment, and preserving the planet. The business that began back in 1989 made a firm commitment in 2007 to become an eco-friendly full-service painting company. T Paul Sek Eco-Painting is EPA certified, uses non-toxic and zero VOC paints and stains, and recycles project waste materials. The company buys locally produced and distributed materials that helps support the local economy and benefit the community. By using non-toxic paints and stains, there is less down time, the job can be completed more quickly, and there is less disruption in the lives of their clients.
CIR Electrical Construction Corp.
Lackawanna, NY, just outside of Buffalo, is home-base for CIR Electrical Construction Corp. The company installs solar panels and takes advantage of the latest technologies to improve energy efficiency and reduce the impact homes and businesses have on the environment. Self-labeled as a Blue Collar, Green Company, every employee becomes part of the corporate culture that treasures people and the planet as much as profits. The company partners with other similarly concerned companies to help further their efforts in advancing the goal of creating a model, eco-friendly, Western New York community.
NC Green Plumbing
Carrboro-based NC Green Plumbing is doing its part to show residents how making the right choices can have a significant impact of lowering the physical impact on the environment. In addition to providing all of the normal plumbing services, the company offers alternative solutions for flushing, bathing, cleaning, and irrigating with water. Today’s technology gives us energy-efficient, high performance shower heads, on-demand hot water, rainwater harvesting systems, and many other ways to save and use water more efficiently.
Winner of the Green Building America Award, Maryland-based O’Leary Asphalt uses the safest and most environmentally-friendly materials to pave drives, roads and parking lots. A significant percentage of the base used in these projects is made from recycled asphalt. Recycling motor oil and using recapped tires on their trucks and hauling off asphalt debris to recycling plants are a few of the other ways that this contractor demonstrates its commitment to lowering its environmental impact.
Summit Brick Company
The Pueblo, CO based Summit Brick Company is a member of the United States Green Building Council and does business with people and planet in mind. The bricks and masonry products they produce are easily recyclable and offer energy-saving features. They are good insulators against both hot and cold temperatures, they are made from abundant clay, and they are durable.
Contractors that believe in supporting employees, the community, and the planet, may find that their commitment initially requires a significant amount of working capital. If you’re a contractor who wants to remain true to this noble cause but you’re short on cash, you may be able to get the funding you need through a small business loan from a bank, online lender or the SBA.