(You don’t need us to tell you that the world is in a mess. Environmental concerns have become part of the public consciousness, thanks to the media, published literature, and expert-driven warnings. So, unless you have been hiding under a rock for the last 30 years or so, you will be no stranger to the dangers of global warming and pollution to the world we live in.
Chances are, you have already found ways to go green at home. From recycling your plastic bottles to changing your lightbulbs, you might have proven your domestic green credentials already. But what about your business? Have you taken steps to implement green measures? You should, and not purely for environmental reasons (although world-saving should be your #1 priority).
By going green in business, you will…
a) Reduce your business overheads. We will be looking at how you can go green in a moment, but certain practices, such as going paperless and reducing your power usage, will have a positive impact to your bank balance.
b) Please your customers. As we said, the concern for the environment has become part of the public consciousness, and this includes the people who do, or who are likely to use your business. If you can prove your green credentials to the people who matter to your business the most, you can almost guarantee increased custom.
c) Satisfy your staff. Would you want to work for a company that operated unethically? We are assuming not and neither would your staff. If they know they are working for a business that is underpinned by green principles, you are going to keep them on your side and improve their morale.
d) Boost your reputation. Imagine winning a green business award. Not only will you get the opportunity to display your achievement online, but you might also attract positive media attention. And award or not, if you can showcase how your business has gone green, you may be one step up from your nearest business rivals.
Going green is a no-brainer then. It’s good for the environment, and it’s good for business. But what can you do? It’s okay talking the talk, but what can you do to walk the walk?
Here are some of the ways you can go green within your business.
#1: Go paperless
Paper accounts for around 25% of the waste found in our landfills, and that creates environmental problems because of the emission of greenhouse gases. By going paperless, you can reduce the problem, and because you will be using less printer ink as well, you will both a) create even less waste, and b) save money by not relying on ink (or paper). So, rather than printing off reams of material to be stored in your filing cabinets, consider saving your important documents to the cloud. Rather than relying on expensive mailouts with your business letters and promotional materials, communicate through email or fax online. And use digital versions of your regular paper products, such as using Trello to replace your sticky notes and your smartphone calendar instead of using a paper planner.
#2: Make changes around your office
Is it time you undertook a ‘green check’ around your office? If you’re at work right now, stop reading for a moment and have a look around. How eco-friendly is your work environment?
Is your technology energy-star rated? If not, you might want to replace some of your older tech with eco-alternatives when money allows, as not only will you aid the environment, but you will save yourself money in the long run as well.
How much equipment is plugged into the mains? If you’re not using something, turn it off. The less electricity you use, the smaller your carbon footprint. You might also consider purchasing a ‘smart’ power strip that puts your electrical items into sleep mode when not in use.
Have you switched to energy-saving light bulbs? CFL bulbs are more expensive, but as they consume less electricity, they are excellent for long-term savings.
How many plastic bottles are in your waste bin? For starters, any plastic waste should be recycled, but you might want to consider reusing your water bottles instead of throwing them away.
Consider what needs to be done, and do as much as you can today if you need to make any changes. The world and your bank balance depend upon it!
#3: Practice green procurement
While you should do all you can to go green within your business, you should also consider the suppliers you work with and source from, as well as the products you use.
Do your suppliers practice green principles? Or do they stuff your supplies with excess packaging and use materials that aren’t sustainably sourced? Speak to them, and ask them the relevant questions with regards to their green principles. If they fall short, consider using a different supplier. You might also switch to a local supplier if you haven’t already done so, because not only will you be supporting another small business, but you will also be reducing the amount of fuel that is used to ship products to you.
Are you buying products that are harmful to the environment? If they are overloaded with toxic chemicals, then the answer is ‘yes.’ You should also answer ‘yes’ if there is an abundance of plastic and other materials that aren’t biodegradable. Look for greener options with regards to your office furniture, office supplies, and cleaning products. Not only will you procure something safer for the environment, but they might even be cheaper too!
#4: Implement a recycling policy
(The more waste that is thrown onto our landfills, the more harm that is inflicted into the environment. Recycling is a must then, not only in your home but also in your business. Using these office recycling tips, implement a policy that you and your team follow. By investing in the appropriate bins, and by finding alternative ways to get rid of any unwanted items, you will create both a healthier workplace and a healthier world outside of your office doors.
#5: Work from home
If you’re running a home business, then this is something you are doing already. But if you’re not, then it’s worth considering the possibility, even if it’s only one or two days a week. Working from home is not only an excellent way to improve your work-life balance, but it’s also an excellent way to go green, as you will be spending less time polluting the earth with your daily commute (assuming you use your car). Your staff will benefit too – not because you’re not in the office to boss them around – but because their morale will be improved if they are given the opportunity to work from home. And thanks to apps and software that aid remote working, productivity shouldn’t take too much of a hit by this possibility.
#6: Support green charities
Another way to sway positive public opinion to your side is to support a charity. By giving a portion of your profits to a deserving cause, you are both doing a good deed and doing something to enhance your reputation. And if you are already implementing green principles within your business, you might want to support a green charity, not only to help save the environment, but to let people know that as a business, you care for the environment, both inside your office walls, and in your support of larger causes. This is excellent PR for your business. You might also host a fundraising event for the charity in question, as this is going to attract more attention for the charity and your business as a whole.
#7: Explore other ideas
There are loads of ways you can go greener within your business, so commit to research and investigation. Look at other businesses around you, and consider what they are doing to go green. Speak to your team and pool together their ideas. Go online, and research other ways to green your business. Visit those websites that will keep you up to date with green thinking. And bring in a recognised company to give your business an environmental audit, as there may be other ways to go green that we haven’t considered in this article.
As a business owner, it makes perfect sense to go green within your business. There are all of the world-saving benefits of course, and they should always be a priority. But as a business, going green will enhance your business reputation and increase your survivability. By implementing green measures, you will save money in the long term. You might improve staff morale, and that should increase their productivity. You will gain the support of both your customers and investors. And you will also experience the personal rewards, knowing that you have done something within your business that will make a difference, to your life, to your business, and to the world around you.
If you haven’t already, going green should be your priority today. Consider what we have said in this article, and do what needs to be done to make changes in your business. It’s necessary in world-terms, but it also makes excellent business sense too.