Going Green: 7 Tips to Make Your Small Business Eco-Friendly

April 5th, 2017   |  

Today, both big and small businesses are realizing the impact their operations have on the community and the environment. Wishing to make a positive difference, these businesses are choosing to “Go Green”. What many once thought of as a passing fad, has become a huge factor in most industries. In fact, in 2012, Office Depot’s Small Business Index found that a majority (61%) of small business were actively trying to become more environmentally friendly. That same survey found that near 70% of the remaining businesses planned to adopt more eco-friendly policies in the next couple of years.

Why go green?

While many corporations may preach environmentally friendly practices and how they’re helping change the world for the better, the truth is that the number one motivator for green strategies is money. Many people associate sustainability with high expenses, but companies that have embraced it are financially outperforming their counterparts. Whether it be because the new implementations help save them money in the long run, or because they’ll profit from a better public image.

In fact, in a study of 1,500 global executives and managers conducted by MIT, the researchers found that respondents cited the impact on company image and brand as the number one reason why they adopted green friendly policies. Other top reasons included cost savings, competitive advantage, employee satisfaction, innovation, new sources of revenue, risk management, and shareholder relation.

You’ll also be in good company if you decide to adopt green initiatives in your business.

Amazon has recently made a huge investment in clean solar energy by announcing that by 2020 all of their warehouses and distribution centers around the world will be powered by solar panels.

Unilever, the conglomerate behind brands like Dove, Lipton, and Hellmanns, plans to double their revenue over the next 10 years while cutting the environmental impact of their products in half.

Walmart also has reached various eco-friendly milestones and plans to continue making their corporation more sustainable through a commitment to renewable energy, reducing their carbon emissions, and helping preserve wildlife habitats.

Many tech companies are also leading the Go Green pack. Facebook has received accolades for being the first major internet company to commit to being 100% renewably powered by 2017, and it continues to play a leadership role in the sector. Google has also taken steps toward a renewably powered Google Cloud and is improving its deployment of renewable energy in new markets.

What you can do

It seems like being green is a change that many companies will have to do sooner or later. Forcing big changes is often a recipe for disaster, but there are many ways that organizations can easily implement small changes to engage their workers and position themselves to be more eco-friendly. It’s not only good for your environment, but it’s good for your wallet too:

1) Buy Eco-Friendly

Buying green products is the easiest way to save money. Energy efficient lights and computers, remanufactured printer cartridges, and recycled paper products are often comparable or cheaper than their non-renewable counterparts.

2) Change your font

While it may seem minimal, the truth is that the difference between a fatter font and a slimmer one can affect your paper and ink/toner budget. Companies like EcoFonts have made environmentally friendly versions of popular fonts that help cut down ink usage.

3) Consider investing in renewable energy

Many states offer incentives to install renewable energy equipment like solar panels. If you can’t install your own renewable technology, you can buy green power directly from many utilities, you just have to ask.

4) Recycle

If you haven’t started recycling, where have you been? This is the easiest way to start helping your environment. Start an office recycling program and encourage your staff to participate.

5) Reuse

Did you know that in the U.S. alone, over four million pens are thrown out on a daily basis? When possible, buy reusable office supply like refillable pens, white board calendars, and more.

6) Power Down

Standby power, or phantom power as it’s sometimes called, is a huge expense and drain on energy. Many appliances have “standby” settings that draw power–sometimes as much as 15 or 20 watts–even when they’re turned off. Make sure that your devices are completely off and pull the plug from the outlet.

7) Telecommute

Encourage employees that don’t require a daily, physical presence at the office to work from home. With the innovative tools available today like instant messaging, video conferencing and more, telecommuters can still productively contribute to the office while saving time, energy, and pollution.
Do you have any green tips that have worked for your small business? Share with us on Facebook or Twitter! A downloadable PDF of this article is available here.

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