How much does a sustainability program cost?

Written By: Doug Ruhlin | Sep 1, 2021

Time to Read 5 Minutes

Find out how much a sustainability program will cost you and your company.

If you're thinking about implementing a sustainability program at your business, you're probably already asking yourself: "how much is this going to cost me?" In fact, the most common questions we get asked about sustainability either involves the up-front price of a program or what anticipated ROI could be - in other words, what is this program, from start to finish, going to cost me & my operation.

Remember - the goal with sustainability is to provide a positive environmental benefit, while ultimately reduce your costs and increase your profits in the long run. You'll find that sustainability is actually a large part of smart business. And, like any plan for the future, you'll probably need to invest some time and money.

How much does it cost to be sustainable?

The short answer is it depends. It could cost you nothing to millions of dollars. It's going to depend on your operation, industry, facility details, operating details, product, goals, etc. Point is, it's like trying to answer how much does a car cost? There's a big difference between a used junker that barely runs, versus a brand new Ferrari.

Much of the cost of your sustainability program will depend on how much money you're willing to put into it. Your sustainability program can be small and modest, or large and complex. There's no "one right way" to implement a sustainability program, so there's no "one right price" to pay for one.

We know, that doesn't narrow things down very much, so let's take a deeper dive into what you can expect to pay for a sustainability program that's right for you and your business.

How much will I pay for a sustainability program?

Again, it depends on what you want. What do you want? The great thing about sustainability programs is that they can be as complex or simple as you want them to be, from a simple system run on Excel to something extremely complex and intricate that may require equipment, material, software, and other related purchases. There's no single way to implement a sustainability program, so there's no single price that you should expect to pay for one.

Price of a Sustainability Program

What do you want out of a sustainability program?

If you're looking to start small, such as starting a recycling or composting program, or implementing a "lights off" policy, your costs could be range between nothing and a few hundred dollars.

If you're looking to invest heavily in energy-saving technology, such as LED lights, new windows with better insulation, and computers that are optimized for energy savings, you may be looking at a couple hundred to a few thousand dollars.

If you want to implement a full Environmental Management System, your costs will be a little higher. A full Environmental Management System implementation could cost you a few thousand to tens of thousands of dollars, depending on the size of your company and how advanced you want your system to be.

If you are looking to convert to renewable energy such as solar power or attain status as carbon-neutral or zero-waste, then your costs are likely to escalate further. Depending on the size of your business and how high your sights are set on your environmental vision, you can start to get into tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, these programs - while more expensive in the short term - can provide you with the greatest savings down the line. Not to mention, you'll look great to your customers and be a shining example of environmental responsibility in your industry and community - something that's hard to put a price tag on, and may ultimately end up providing you with new benefits (ie, customers, markets, job opportunities) that you didn't have before.

So, you'll really need to figure out your desired end goal with regards to a sustainability program first in order to determine what it'll cost you.

Price of Sustainability


Sustainability costs will vary!

The money spent on sustainability will be worth it in the end, but it's up to you to decide what you really want and need - and how much you're willing to pay.

With the knowledge that you can save money (and make new money) in the long run, we challenge you to think of sustainability programs as one of your best business investments. The more money you put into it, the more money you'll get out of it - for years to come. No matter who your customers are, no matter where your business is located, every business could benefit from sustainability in some way, shape, or form.

Need additional sustainability help?

If you’re trying to figure out whether or not you need a sustainability program, this might be a lot to take in. We get it, the buzzwords around sustainability can be overwhelming, confusing, and ultimately end up getting you nowhere. If you need help, you're not alone. We know the ins and outs of the environmental concerns industrial and commercial facilities face regarding sustainability and other environmental issues. Not only can we help you get into compliance with applicable environmental laws and regulations, ensuring your business stays out of trouble and in compliance, but we can also help you go above and beyond simply "complying with regulations" by establishing an environmental sustainability program!

Our staff members have been on-site at thousands of commercial and industrial operations across the country, so when we say we've seen it all and done it all, we mean it. No matter your size, industry, or location, we'd love to learn how we can help with your sustainability program needs.

If you're having any type of issue at your operation with your sustainability program, would like to start a new sustainability program, or anything else, and need the help of an environmental consulting firm with a proven track record, reach out. Even if we can't help, we’ll do our best to steer you in the right direction. Feel free to contact us at, click here to contact us, or give us a call anytime at 888-RMA-0230 to learn how we can help your operation deal with environmental regulations and sustainability initiatives.


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