The focus on eco-friendly or “green” initiatives might feel like a passing trend, but with the public’s interest in global warming, pollution, water consumption and other far-reaching issues, it’s much more than a fad.

Instituting more sustainable business practices can mean real cost savings, from lower energy costs to tax incentives, but businesses can also gain loyal clients and end users looking to do business with like-minded organizations.

recent study found that more than 50% of Gen Z shoppers (the generation following millennials) are willing to pay more for a sustainable product. With one of the youngest generations showing a marked interest in protecting the planet and its resources, a true focus on sustainability can help your business emerge as a leader now and in the years to come.

Start with reliable data

Corporations can leave massive carbon footprints behind, but you may not know the full extent of your company’s trail without a comprehensive and honest end-to-end investigation.

One way to truly put your business to the test is to hire a third-party sustainability consulting firm that analyzes your entire process. An unbiased firm can find ways to help you responsibly manage or reduce waste and energy usage in ways you may not have thought possible. Depending on the nature of your business, they can also help you source more responsible or sustainable materials, develop greener technologies or even use less water.

Read the rest of Jim Granat’s article at Forbes