Being visibly green is a way to connect your values with your customers and employees. And there is nothing as green as solar. Making your solar investment more conspicuous is also a great way to generate green buzz.
Companies like Kohls, Apple, Costco, IKEA, Macy’s, Johnson & Johnson, Staples, Campbell’s Soup, Volkswagen, General Motors and AT&T (to name a few) are including their investments in solar energy as a critical part of their corporate social responsibility personas. A report issued by the Solar Energy Industry Association in late 2014 said that 25 of Fortune 100 companies have, together, implemented nearly 600 megawatts of solar capacity at 1,100 locations, a 28 percent increase from 2013-2014.
These systems are generating enough clean electricity to prevent 549,296 metric tons of damaging carbon emissions from being released into the atmosphere—the equivalent of saving nearly 62 million gallons of gasoline, according to the SEIA.
They’re not only creating shareholder value by reducing their long-term electricity costs; they’re putting their investments where their customers and employees can see them—often incorporating solar capabilities into facades, canopies, awnings and other building features.
So how can you take an already smart business decision—solar—and turn it into a green marketing tool? If you’re already competing effectively on price, quality and performance, promoting your focus on environmental sustainability may enhance your brand image, help you attract and retain talented employees, and establish (or cement) your position as a responsible community partner.
Make sure your claims are credible. Here are a few suggestions on how to get started, complements of the U.S. Small Business Administration:
- The Federal Trade Commission’s guidance can help you determine credibility
- Read the Environmental Protection Agency’s Guidance for Retailers, Manufacturers, Consumers, and Institutional Purchasers
- Understand the business case for green marketing.
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