By: Devin Morrissey
More so now than ever, people are holding businesses accountable for the effect they have on the environment. With many areas experiencing the consequences of climate change, people are supporting companies with green initiatives. What can your business do to help the environment and your customer acquisition and retention? Here are 10 innovations that will make your business greener overall.
Encourage employees to walk or bike to work instead of using their cars. Not only will the environment thank you, but your employees will become healthier as well due to the exercise. Sometimes it’s not feasible to commute to work without a car, though. In that case, advise they walk or bike part of the way, even if it’s just a few blocks. The time a car is turned off is time the air isn’t being polluted. Public transportation is also an economical option to consider. Keep bus stops and bike paths in mind if you’re looking for a new location for your business as well. Finding ways to incentivize alternative transport, such as subsidizing bus rides or offering prizes to employees who use greener transportation, is also a great motivational tool.
If you don’t want mountains of trash to be part of your mission statement, then it’s time to get involved with recycling. Your company’s outdated and broken electronics make up a good portion of what goes into landfills year after year. Next time, instead of throwing unwanted computers and monitors in the trash, consider recycling them at your nearest computer manufacturer or electronic retail store. Better yet, donate your functional older equipment to local schools or non-profits. Also think about purchasing used items like furniture instead of something brand new.
3. Go Paperless
Many companies are making the switch to paperless systems, and so should yours. Deforestation for paper materials is having an immense effect on the environment, and not in a good way. To reduce the need of cutting down even more trees, scan paper documents you currently have and transition to a digital system. The less waste your company produces, the better you’ll look in the eyes of customers.
4. The Cloud
Once your company becomes paperless, it’s time to move to the Cloud. Cloud-based technologies make sharing files much easier while helping the environment at the same time. This technology eliminates the need of expensive and energy consuming servers as well as individual desktop computers. Also, due to its ease of access from anywhere, paper usage from printing files will be reduced dramatically.
If it’s not possible for your company to go completely without paper, consider switching to a paper option that’s composed of post-consumer waste (PCW). PCW is one of the few products you can trust to be made completely out of recycled paper. Since the recycling sign is not regulated, it doesn’t necessarily mean the paper you’re buying is actually from recycled materials. That being said, the higher the level of PCW a brand has, the better. Don’t forget to recycle your PCW paper when you’re done with it as well.
6. Green Procurement
Revise your procurement policies so that you’re sourcing products and services that are sustainable in nature. This includes products made from renewable resources and non-toxic materials. Don’t be afraid to ask suppliers too many questions either. Ask how products will be delivered to you and where the goods originally come from. Some may offer other environmentally friendly services such as reusing the packaging when you’re done, so inquire about those as well. It’s also a good practice to start with suppliers in your area instead of looking online.
7. Energy Savings
Look for ways you can reduce the energy consumption of your business as a whole. One way to do this is by switching the lightbulbs in your office to more energy efficient CFL or LED lights. They may cost more than what you usually get, but they last much longer and save you more money in the long run. Another option to consider is powering your company with renewable energy such as solar or hydropower. Like the light bulbs, eco-friendly energy costs more than the standard. However, the positive impact you’ll have on the environment and customers will be well worth the cost. This isn’t available in every area, though, so check to see if green energy alternatives are offered in your state.
8. Conserve Water
Water rationing and droughts are a real concern for many people worldwide. Even if your company isn’t located in an area with water concerns, it’s still a good practice to not waste this resource and conserve it as much as possible. That means fixing any leaky plumbing and possibly switching the plants in your landscaping to more hardy breeds that require less watering. Plus, it will save your company money on its next water bill.
9. Green Web Hosting
When looking for a web hosting service provider, consider choosing one that implements sustainable practices. Web hosting companies take up quite a bit of energy, placing a heavy burden on the environment. To mitigate these effects, some companies participate in activities that reduce their carbon footprint. Not all service providers do this, so it’s important to do your research before committing to one. As an extra bonus, many of these green web hosting services cost the same or less than their non-green counterparts.
10. Make It a Part of Your Company
Lastly, the best way to make your business more green is by making it a part of your company’s culture. Encourage your employees to follow the practices listed above in and out of the office. Offer incentives to workers who make these green energy choices and make sure you participate as well to lead a good example. When customers see your business and the people who work for it truly embrace an environmentally friendly lifestyle, good things will surely come.
There are many ways your company can lead a greener working experience. Some practices will be easier to implement than others, but it’s well worth the time and effort. What makes the environment happy will undoubtedly make customers happy as well. So what are you waiting for? Today’s the day to revamp your business and go green.
By Devin Morrissey
About the author
Devin prides himself on being a jack of all trades; his career trajectory is more a zig zag than an obvious trend, just the way he likes it. He pops up across the Pacific Northwest, though never in one place for long. You can follow him more reliably on Twitter.