The decision to expand your business overseas requires a long list of considerations. You need to think about the wages commanded by local workers, examine tax codes, search out a no foreign fee credit card, and take into account a wide range of other crucial hypotheticals. It’s an exciting possibility, to be sure, but it’s also a stressful one. The logistical issues, combined with the fears that your overseas risk will not be rewarded, and will probably drive you to give attention and thought to every detail of the process.
One factor that should play a role in your decision, even though it may initially go overlooked, is the issue of environmentalism.
An overseas expansion can help your company go green or go environmentally wasteful, depending on where you move and how you go about doing it.
Ultimately, the difference comes down to planning appropriately for a green expansion. Such a move is not only the right thing to do, but it can also reflect well on your company at home and – perhaps more importantly – in the country of your expansion.
On that note, here are some questions to ask yourself:
What are my power sources?
Many businesses move to a new country, open a new facility, plug in to the national power grid, and give energy no further thought. But the source of that power matters on an environmental level. As companies such as Facebook have recently realized, there is a big difference between dirty and clean energy sources – a difference that the public will notice. While many countries and municipalities run off of dirty power such as coal, there are many places in the world where nuclear, hydroelectric, or wind power dominate. All else being equal, expanding to one of those regions can have a tremendous impact on your environmentalism.
How can I avoid increasing my business’s carbon footprint?
An overseas move is likely to bring with it greater transportation costs. Whether its products being shipped between countries or executives moving back and forth, these costs can amount to a considerable carbon footprint. Furthermore, these costs can also be minimized. If you’re transporting a product across continents, shipping it in bulk on a freighter is greener than sending it on an airplane. If you have a need to coordinate between distant offices, a conference call is far preferable to a flight.
How can I reduce inefficiencies and waste?
Expansion often means a less centralized and organized company on a bureaucratic level. A similar phenomenon can take place on a level of waste, as well, as distant company offices send mailings and newsletters between themselves and across the globe. This poses inefficiencies and waste that can best be eliminated by having the company be less paper-oriented and more digital. In an age of cloud computing and smartphones, there’s really no reason internal business should ever need paper.
Besides these questions there are probably other issues you want to consider, but this should help you get started in your quest for an environmentally-friendly expansion.