As a green business owner, it is important to reduce your impact on the environment for the sake of the planet and to help boost your profits.
As consumers continue to align their buying habits with their values, eco-friendly businesses will continue to thrive.
Even if your business has been around for years, it’s never too late to get started. It is simpler than you think to move towards sustainable business practices.
What are some ways that you can minimize your carbon footprint and decrease waste in your business? Check out our seven tips for running a green business below.
1. Make the most of remote work
Now that working from home is the norm, it’s important to capitalize on the benefits this has for both your company and the environment.
Since you’ll be skipping your commute, you’ll already be reducing your carbon footprint at a rate of 3.2 metric tons per year.
However, even though people are working remotely and decreasing greenhouse gas emissions, they still need to hold themselves accountable with eco-friendly practices at home.
Whether you’re a tiny startup or a quickly expanding more established business, you need to recognize the cumulative environmental impact of all of your employees.
As employees work in their own homes, it could be worth creating a fun accountability system where people report on ways they’ve been environmentally friendly each week.
It is a great excuse for employees to connect through something non-work related, too.
Taking small steps to make the most of the work-from-home scenario to focus on environmental health (in addition to our own health) goes a long way.
2. Reuse, reuse, reuse
One of the best steps a company can take to begin the process of going green is eliminating the utilization of all single-use products and reusing anything that is safe to reuse.
It is incredible the amount of waste that can be reduced by reusing mugs, boxes, and office supplies. There is absolutely no need for paper products or single-use plastics anymore.
Do something good for the planet and always opt for reusable plates, bowls, utensils, straws, etc.
Challenge yourself and your employees to take your environmentalism to the next level. Make a list of every “convenient” single-use item your team uses, and see if you can find a reusable alternative.
You might think you are already doing everything right, and that there is no way you could possibly be “greener”. However, you could easily be overlooking small bad habits that add up.
How sustainable is your coffee maker? Do you use reusable coffee filters? Are your coffee beans sustainably grown and ethically sourced?
You won’t be able to make every change overnight, but it is important to start thinking seriously about these things.
3. Make green business partners
There is no question that the foundation of a business’s sustainable practices relies on its partners.
If you do business with vendors that aren’t on the same page about green business practices, it detracts from your hard work to be a sustainable company.
Even if it is a great deal, consider the true cost of a bargain when you’re supporting a business that has no regard for the environment.
Some startups justify partnering with big companies that aren’t eco-friendly at all because they claim they simply don’t have the budget to work with more expensive, environmentally friendly businesses.
Don’t use this as an excuse. Don’t negate the efforts you’re making to do right by the planet by supporting a business that has no environmental awareness or compassion.
Buy shipping materials, decor, and other items from small businesses that have green practices.
4. Give back
As your business grows, partner with programs that give back to Mother Earth.
The Conservation Fund and 1 percent for the Planet are great organizations that help businesses of all sizes make clear financial commitments to giving back to environmental causes.
Climate, food, land, pollution, water, and wildlife are just some of the categories that need funding, and your business can do its part by contributing financially, even if it’s a small amount to start.
For example, 1 percent for the Planet is a program where businesses can commit to giving 1 percent of their sales back to the environment, whether a business is profitable or not.
Realizing your responsibility to protect our planet as a green business owner is key to your long-term success.
If you make your priorities clear by putting your money where your mouth is, you will attract eco-conscious, likeminded talent, and customers.
5. Incorporate smart energy
Using smart energy benefits both the environment and business owners’ wallets. You’ll add more to your company’s bottom line in the long run by incorporating eco-friendly practices.
Even if you don’t reap the financial rewards right away, you can rest assured you are helping the planet.
According to renewable energy company Green Mountain Energy, some of the largest retailers in the United States such as Walmart set goals of utilizing 100 percent renewable electricity for operations by 2025.
In addition to long-term goals, stores around the country are making small changes to daily practices to reduce their usage of electricity, oil, and gas.
Follow the lead of companies utilizing these green practices that you admire as a business owner. Plus, keep in mind that using less energy means lower energy bills, so it’s a win-win situation.
6. Pass on paper
As a green business owner, it is easy to let the paperwork pile up. Opt for Cloud storage solutions rather than paper filing systems.
Also, choose systems that allow for e-signing important documents rather than printing things out and snail mailing contracts or other papers that could pose security threats if lost or stolen.
Worst case scenario, if you can’t avoid certain paperwork, always use recycled paper.
It might seem like a no-brainer, but you’d be surprised by how many small businesses fall into the trap of antiquated paper systems.
Some might feel like solely relying on systems like cloud storage could be risky for security. The truth is, investing in the right digital storage systems is extremely secure when you do it right.
However, it is an investment to keep up the recurring fees to maintain these reliable, trust-worthy storage solutions.
7. Recycle electronics
Reduce e-waste by donating to charities or trade-in to companies that will dispose of electronics correctly.
We live in a world filled to the brim with devices, and unfortunately, most people don’t discard them properly after they’ve retired them.
When you run a business, it’s your responsibility to do everything in your power to help your employees properly recycle or donate their previous device before providing a new one.
Offer to pick up the electronic(s) and do the recycling for them if you must. Make an effort to minimize your company’s toxic waste in as many ways as you can.
Running a green business isn’t easy, especially considering everything happening in the world right now. One way to give your business a competitive edge is by using sustainable business practices.
There have been multiple studies that prove consumers are prioritizing buying from eco-friendly businesses now more than ever before.
Not to mention, people are particularly conscious of the well-being of our global community/environment as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Whatever it takes, do your part to help the planet as a business owner. Both your customers and the environment will thank you.
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Julia is a content creator who enjoys writing about the environment and how startups can become more eco-friendly. She is passionate about empowering entrepreneurs to incorporate green business practices into their daily operations.