Individuals the world over are making increasing efforts to become environmentally conscious.
In addition, governments everywhere are also joining in on the race to go green, as is demonstrated by the fact that as of June 2017 over half of the electricity to the entire UK was provided by renewable energy sources.
But what about businesses? What are corporations doing to stave off global climate threats and help to be good stewards of the Earth?
If your company is struggling to find ways to get in on the eco-friendly action, here are a handful of the easiest ways to build a sustainable green business making environmental waves for years now. But what about the average for-profit business?
If your company is struggling to find ways to get in on the eco-friendly action, here are a handful of the easiest ways to build a sustainable green business, even if you are a smaller operation or have very limited resources to work with.
1. Look for green alternatives
The best way to kick off a green initiative at work is to simply evaluate how you currently operate.
As you do so, look for ways to reduce or eliminate areas where resources are being wasted. Also, look for any opportunity to replace an inefficient process with one that is more environmentally friendly.
For instance, if you have a small bakery and you make deliveries on a regular basis, consider upgrading your delivery van with a greener electric vehicle.
While your small business financial acumen may scream at the idea of adding such an expensive item to your eco-friendly plans, you may not actually have to spend too much.
Depending on where you live, there may be multiple tax credits that can be claimed to offset the cost of having a more efficient vehicle that runs on renewable energy.
If you live in New York, for example, you may be able to access a $2,000 state tax rebate on top of a $7,500 federal tax credit in exchange for purchasing an electric vehicle.
The point is, don’t hesitate to crunch the numbers and try to upgrade even big-ticket items in the name of the environment, as they are often well worth the effort.
2. Recycle… For real
There is a huge difference between popping a recycling bin in the break room and genuinely trying to have a recycling-friendly business.
If you want to build a sustainable green business through recycling, you need to go above and beyond to have a genuine effect.
Take shredders as an example. If you shred a lot of paper, you can’t simply throw all of the shreds into the recycling bin. They’ll simply slip through the screens at the recycling plant and end up in the dump.
Instead, make sure to gather your shreds and invest a few dollars in having them properly recycled at a qualified local recycling plant.
Sure, it’ll take a little bit of extra effort and cost, but in the grand scheme of things, it should be a minor concern.
3. Go paperless
While correctly recycling shredded paper is a good place to start, the best-case scenario is ditching the flimsy white stuff altogether. Wherever possible, look for ways to reduce paper usage at your company.
Make it a corporate initiative and encourage employees to get in on the action. Don’t print a memo, send it out digitally. Communicate via email or Slack. Send meeting notes as a Google Doc.
There are simply too many digital options at this point to excuse the heavy use of paper in most businesses, and it’s an easy item to focus on when it comes to going green.
4. Decorate with a purpose
Another extremely simple way to build a sustainable green business into your office is to decorate with a purpose.
This doesn’t mean you have to ditch your office’s vibe, either. Just make your decor decisions with an eye towards how they’ll affect the environment.
Instead of getting new furniture or desks, go thrift shopping. Get thick coverings or blinds for the windows in order to keep hot and cold air from leaking outside, reducing the need for an AC or furnace to be running all of the time.
You can even look for eco-friendly approved options the next time the walls need a coat of paint. Whatever you’re decorating, make sure to think about the eco-friendly implications.
5. Think practically
As most environmentally conscious people are well aware, often it’s the little things that add up to make a big difference. In the name of the little changes, then, look for small ways to upgrade your office including:
- Getting a smart thermostat to avoid waste with your heating and cooling.
- Opening windows (if possible) rather than solely depending on an artificially controlled environment.
- Swapping out light bulbs for LED alternatives.
If you can maintain an “every little bit counts” attitude as you try to build a sustainable green business in your office, more and more small opportunities like these will make themselves known over time.
6. Cultivate an upcycle attitude to sustainable green business
Whether you’re reusing the backs of printed paper, milking a second-hand office chair, or establishing a “pro-thrift-store” dress code, there are many ways to instill your workspace with an upcycle attitude.
The important thing is that you always ask yourself if something can be reused before it’s disposed of or even recycled.
Don’t be afraid to think outside of the box when it comes to alternative uses either and make sure to praise the upcycle initiative of others as well in order to spread the reusable vibes.
7. Clean with green
Finally, all offices need to be cleaned, but harsh cleaners and chemicals can have a slew of various ill effects that take place when cleaners either evaporate or are flushed down drains. Some of these effects are bad for your staff and others are harmful to the environment, as well.
Instead of stocking up on artificial scents and those nauseatingly toxic toilet bowl cleaners, then, make sure that your janitorial staff is empowered and informed to make environmentally sound choices for your company’s cleaning products.
8. Making a professional effort
Whether you are swapping out cleaning products, going paperless, or picking up a new desk from a local thrift store, there are countless little-yet-effective ways to build a sustainable green business.
However, the most essential part of the entire process isn’t one specific initiative or effort, but rather your own attitude.
If you can commit, as a member of the corporate world, to create genuine, long-lasting, environmentally-focused changes for your business, you’ll be setting an example for competitors and customers alike to follow.
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Ainsley Lawrence is a writer who loves to talk about good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. She is frequently lost in a good book.