Three or four years ago, going green was the latest business fashion. Then the downturn hit and sustainability got put on the back burner whilst organisations concentrated on managing the pounds and pence.

While sustainable credentials can prove a hit with some customers, especially those in the public sector, many organisations believe that there is little point concentrating on environmental matters when revenue is falling off a cliff. Sustainable business practices quickly moved from the next business necessity to a nice-to-have.

But it does not have to be this way; going green is by no means exclusive from economic efficiency. Implemented in the right way, sustainable business practices can help your firm to increase its effectiveness, cut costs and reduce its environmental impact.

This fact is recognised by the financial professionals who were recently surveyed by document management provider, Version One. 90% of respondents stated that going green is still a key consideration within their organisations’ current buying process. 18% actually suggest that the concern is now more important than ever.

Yet in a constrained economic environment, what will be the incentive of going green? The answers, according to the Version One survey, revolve around economics and governance.

As much as 39% of respondents believe financial incentives are most likely to persuade their organisations to become more environmentally conscious. And just under a third (32%) suggest that new environmental legislation, combined with penalties for non-conformance, would influence their organisation to become greener.

While concern for compliance is significant, going green should never be treated as a tick box. While compliance can provide a compelling reason to act, organisations must not lose sight of the important business benefits that can be garnered by pushing the green agenda.

Going green does not need to be an expensive exercise and key systems, such as document management, also make smart business sense. While helping to reduce paper consumption and carbon emissions, document management technology can cut costs and improve efficiency by giving executives automated access to key documents at the right time.

Such systems mark an important step in the right direction. However there is still much to be done with as many as 66% of senior finance professionals suggesting to Version One that they are still concerned about the negative impact of their company on the environment.

The sooner that organisations recognise that going greener and operating cost-effectively should not be viewed in isolation, the better!