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Increase profits with sustainable practices

October 20, 2023
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“Green” is a trending adjective for a practice construction companies have been following for years. Before it became the norm to recycle, construction companies were recycling construction and demolition (C&D) debris, including steel, asphalt and concrete. As an industry that works directly with the land, many have understood the importance of protecting it through sustainable practices.

While these are important practices for protecting the earth, are you aware of the increasingly wide variety of ways sustainability efforts can boost your company’s value overall? Green practices can help reduce material costs, increase employee retention and ultimately boost profitability as supply chain partners and customers see you as a company worth working with for reasons beyond the traditional requirements.

Here are three ways thinking more sustainably could help boost your bottom line.

Lower costs

According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), sustainability is based on a simple principle: Everything that we need for our survival and wellbeing depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.

Many new construction projects are done on sites where removing old materials like pavement, foundations, brick and concrete are part of the job. Recycling and reusing these materials on-site can provide significant savings.

Using recycled materials reduces the need to purchase virgin aggregates and the trucking costs associated with bringing them to the job site. It also reduces the need to transport C&D debris off-site, as well as the potential fees to put it in a landfill. Less fuel use as well as reduced wear and tear on trucks lowers repair and replacement costs for consumable items such as brakes and tires.

In some cases, old materials can’t be reused on-site and must be hauled off. These can still have significant value. That’s why numerous companies have set up recycling yards that accept C&D waste and turn it into new products.

Recycling and reusing materials such as old pavement on-site reduces transportation costs, potentially increases profits and lowers emissions, which benefits the environment.

Attract and retain top talent

Employee turnover is costly and is estimated to equate to 1.5 to 2 times an employee’s salary when you factor in advertising, training and lost productivity, according to the article “The True Costs of Employee Turnover” published by Built In. While you may not have considered it, reducing your environmental impact could be key to lowering those workforce costs, retaining existing talent and attracting new employees, especially younger workers.

“There are numerous surveys that show that younger employees want to work for companies that demonstrate they are committed to sustainability,” said Komatsu’s Caley Clinton, senior manager – PR, CSR and content. “That includes on the job site, as well as in the office through practices such as reducing paper, water and electricity use. Prospective employees also want to know about your community involvement and how you’re giving back in ways that contribute to environmental improvements such as donating equipment, time and labor to projects like tree planting.”

Clinton added that it’s important for companies to highlight their sustainable practices in prominent ways so that they stand out to prospective employees.

“Having a section of your website dedicated to what you are doing to reduce your carbon footprint and water usage should seriously be considered,” Clinton indicated. “Pictures showing your efforts are helpful. Icons such as the recycling symbol that show your commitment to green practices should be prominent on all your materials, including recruiting items, company brochures and other marketing items. It’s an essential part of your brand’s value, as long as it is actually a part of your company’s culture.”

Studies show today’s workforce takes corporate responsibility and sustainable business practices into account when choosing an employer. In this photo, Komatsu executives help plant trees for a corporate reforestation project in West Virginia. “Prospective employees want to know about your community involvement and how you’re giving back…,” said Komatsu’s Caley Clinton, senior manager – PR, CSR and content.

Land more jobs

Just like employees want to work for businesses committed to sustainability, other companies want to work with those who emphasize greener business practices. In many cases, companies or governments are making it a requirement to work on their projects.

“Companies that advance their approach to sustainability now can get the benefit of doing it for the right reasons, being on the forefront of the curve, and helping lead the way in their industries,” Clinton emphasized. “If you wait until it’s required and have to submit a report to a customer or another contractor you want to work with — and only then realize you don’t have all the requirements — you may be at a disadvantage in the near future.”

Tips to get started

Clinton said measuring your sustainability is going to be increasingly more essential, and it’s never been easier to do.

“There are many companies with software that help track practically everything you do related to sustainable practices,” Clinton noted. “Right now, that’s mostly at a nice-to-have level, but as more and more requirements are built into regulatory aspects of how companies have to do business, it’s going to be essential. Those who don’t have those metrics are probably going to miss most, if not all, opportunities. Those that do will likely land more jobs.”

Editor’s Note: This article is excerpted from a longer piece that appears on Komatsu’s blog. For more information about how focusing on sustainable practices can benefit your business, visit

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