"We are business people," said Hill. "So in making any major investment or in taking any long term initiative, you're looking to do several things. Cost savings over the long haul is certainly part of that. ... but there is also a big long term benefit in PR value, both with the consumer, but also very importantly with our corporate customers."

As primarily a business-to-business company, Diamond Wipes' green model has an appeal all along the supply chain, he said.

"We feel there is a benefit with our corporate customers, since many of them are taking initiatives to project themselves to the customers as being more green, so they like to do business with companies that are projectable as being more green."

Basically, this means that every documented green initiative Diamond Wipes takes -- from solar energy projects to biodegradable packaging -- can be used as a selling point for every customer adopting its products or taking them to market. Because Diamond Wipes is green, every company doing business with them is a little greener.

"Our customers ... are being very proactive in the expectations -- or even demands -- of their suppliers to be able to document their sustainability efforts as it relates to packaging, manufacturing, manufacturing practices, distribution, right on through the whole carbon footprint chain. We want to be proactive in that environment. "

And they certainly have been. Diamond Wipes has a long catalog of environmentally conscious initiatives that cover every step of the manufacturing and distribution process.

This includes a current project to become certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), which monitors wood products all the way from the forest to the store shelf to guarantee sustainable practices. The company has also transitioned away from hard plastic packing and lids to reduce waste and improve shipping and warehousing efficiency, and switched to biodegradable, compostable products all throughout its portfolio.

Looking forward, this kind of business model will not be seen as simply an extra incentive for a niche customer, Hill said, but will be standard practice for competitive business.

Companies need to "Think carefully, but think quickly" about their green initiative, he said.

"In the long term, I think any company that is not thinking in this direction is probably putting themselves at peril."