Do Your Customers Care Whether Your Business Goes Solar?
In an earlier article, we discussed how going solar could enhance your company’s corporate social responsibility (CSR) image. By installing photovoltaic (PV) panels on your commercial property, you can demonstrate to your stakeholders that you take environmental protection seriously. Instead of relying on dirty, expensive fossil fuel, you’ve chosen to power your business with clean and free sunshine.
There is no doubt that customers will appreciate your green commitment. But will they care enough to do more business with you?
It’s an interesting question, with compelling arguments for and against the role CSR plays in generating sales:
- On the one hand, many consumers prefer supporting businesses that reduce their negative impact on the environment.
- On the other hand, customers often vote with their pocketbooks, choosing to buy whatever products or services offer the most value.
So which one is it? Is there an actual link between solar-powered CSR and higher revenues?
Let’s take a look.
Will Going Solar Attract More Customers?
Fortunately, you don’t have to rely on guesswork. The link between corporate social responsibility and profits is well-documented. And it’s not simply customers that your PV installation will attract. Commercial solar energy can also help your business in other surprising ways:
1. Attract More Customers & Charge Higher Sales
According to a 2014 Nielsen study, corporate social responsibility not only leads to more sales. It also allows you to charge higher prices. In fact,
“55% of global online consumers across 60 countries (Asia-Pacific — 64%, Latin America — 63%, Middle East/Africa — 63%, North America — 42%, and Europe — 40%) say they are willing to pay more for products and services provided by companies that are committed to positive social and environmental impact.”
2. Recruit (and Maintain) Better Talent
According to a 2012 survey by Net Impact and Rutgers University, CSR makes it easier to recruit top talent.
51% of survey respondents indicated that societal betterment was an essential aspect of their dream job. And roughly 45% of workers said they would take a substantial pay cut if their next job had a positive environmental or social impact.
However, making an impact such as going solar may help you attract top talent. This form of CSR organization mindset makes it easier to keep employees as well. A 2010 study by Forbes revealed that 66% of workers would quit their job if they believed their company’s actions harmed the environment.
3. Improve Corporate Performance
According to a 2015 study by Harvard University, CSR can increase overall company performance — especially as it relates to stock prices. The researchers,
“Using calendar time portfolio stock return regressions we find that firms with good performance on material sustainability issues significantly outperform firms with poor performance on these issues, suggesting that investments in sustainability issues are shareholder-value enhancing.”
This isn’t so surprising when you realize stock performance is directly linked to a company’s ability to generate more sales, charge higher prices, and attract better workers.
Can Solar CSR Make You More Profitable in Other Ways?
We’ve already discussed how installing PV panels can improve your bottom line. Going solar allows you to generate your own free electricity — rather than rely on expensive grid energy.
And as outlined above, your customers do care about your solar power investment. The same goes for employees and investors.
But even without these well-documented benefits, commercial solar can improve profitability in other ways.
For example, going solar provides many more opportunities to connect with stakeholders — even if you don’t have new products to announce. Your monthly and annual carbon savings are newsworthy updates worth publishing in periodic press releases.
Going solar also provides a way to differentiate your business — especially if you work in a highly competitive industry. In terms of price and quality, your products might be extremely similar to what your rivals offer. But with your solar power investment, you’re setting a cutting-edge example — one that immediately distinguishes you from the rest of the pack.
That you’re also saving money in the process is simply icing on the cake.
Differentiate your business with solar. Schedule a free solar evaluation with our team today.