A growing number of California businesses are taking steps to become more eco-friendly, and are saving money in the process, according to a new survey conducted by the Sonoma County Economic Development Board. One example is the Price Pump Co. in Sonoma, which has switched to more environmentally conscious packaging, using brown boxes instead of bleached-white ones and eliminating use of nonbiodegradable foam packing material — moves that are cutting costs by about $40,000 a month. “My motivation is to stay in business and make money,” said Bob Piazza, president of Price Pump. “If I can do that and be environmentally conscious, why not?” Of the 107 companies that responded to the survey, 88 percent said they are making efforts to conserve energy and 70 percent believe conservation practices save money. Meanwhile, shareholders are ramping up green pressure on corporations by offering an increasing number of shareholder resolutions that call on companies to improve their environmental performance. Last week, almost one-quarter of shareholders of the Southern Company voted for a resolution that would require the utility to assess and report on the potential financial risks of producing greenhouse gas emissions that cause climate change.

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