When it comes to running a business, most entrepreneurs would agree that it’s all about giving their consumers what they want. As trends show that sustainable businesses are increasing in frequency, consumers are also considering a company’s environmental policies before investing or buying your products and services. When your business is sustainable, from day one, you get several advantages. First, you have a much smaller carbon footprint than big global competitors. Plus, your green credentials can give you a surge in popularity.
Another advantage is that you can show your target market that you care about the planet. While you shouldn’t do it just for profit, it can actually help improve your marketing campaign. The most important thing is to make sure it’s not forced.
Being aware of your company’s environmental impact can be very rewarding–especially if you go green from day one. Your customers will confirm that it is just another reason why they support your business. And, we all know that brand loyalty is critical to the success of any business. So, here are seven ways your business can go green.
Provide a recycling depot
We all need fuel to get through the day–including hydration and food. But, what happened to the container for all that stuff? That can add up a lot, especially when people choose to stay in the office for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sure, productivity increases–but so does waste.
So it’s a good idea to give employees a dedicated space to store paper, plastic, drink bottles, and other recyclable materials. You want them to understand that “reduce, reuse and recycle” is a core foundation for your company. Remember, your employees are some of your best supporters.
When they see how much your business cares about the world, they will surely be proud to share that message with friends and family. And, before you know it, the message has gone viral. Just imagine an employee’s parent saying this at a Bridge meeting, “Oh, my son works for ABC Company, and they recycle all the food and drink containers in the office.” Talk about doing good, while getting free marketing.
Support a greener journey
When there are fewer cars on the road, the environment benefits. That means less emissions, traffic and smog. Another way to go green is to encourage people to use public transportation, carpool, or bicycle to work. Of course, not all employees can safely cycle to work if they live far away. But, for those who can, you can offer cashback on tire purchases or even provide a secure bicycle storage area.
You can also create a list of people who want to carpool so they can interact with each other to set up a work carpool. Occasionally, you could offer to pay for gas once a month – perhaps give the carpool coordinator a gas card.
In addition, several companies offer bus tickets. This really depends on the budget you have. If you are a newbie, you may not have the funds to pay for monthly bus tickets for each employee. You can schedule one day a month for everyone to ride the bus and pay for that daily bus ticket. The ideas are limitless for how you can encourage a greener journey.
Add green space
After a while, we all have to get out of the concrete jungle. Perhaps you can recreate a green space by having a space that offers lots of windows, natural light, and live plants. It gives your employees the opportunity to rest with Mother Earth. It can also be a courtyard or patio space.
Encourage employees to take time to get some fresh air. Plus, living plants in the office can help filter airborne pollutants and send oxygen into the air. It also makes the office more serene and inviting. If you can’t be outside, bring some indoors. Make sure you have someone dedicated to caring for the plants. It would cause a lot of rolling eyes to come across an office full of dead or dying plants.
Turn off equipment not in use
Some office spaces can be energy suckers. So, you should turn off all equipment that is not used. Make sure your employees know they need to take part in this community action. This not only makes your company more environmentally friendly, but also saves money on energy. In addition, it protects your company from power failures and accidents.
Put the computer into sleep mode
We can not run a business without computers. And, basically, every employee needs to have one. But, you don’t have to leave them all the time. Imagine the energy bill if you do that. Instead, put all computers into hibernation mode when not in use. This can help your business save between $10-$50, per computer, annually.
We’ve reached the day and age where you literally don’t have to print anything anymore. In fact, in 2009, the US government switched to a paperless budget. As a result, they saved 500 trees, 20 tons of paper and millions of dollars. So, provide as many documents electronically as possible.
I don’t know about you, but the last time I printed anything was seven months ago–and, well, it was two sheets of paper. Instead of printing a memo, send an email. Tell employees only to print paper when absolutely necessary.
Use eco-friendly furniture
Increase greenery by using eco-friendly furniture. It’s what our ancestors used, and we can do the same. Think of furniture made from bamboo, aluminum or HDPE wood. What is HDPE lumber you may ask? This is wood made from recycled plastic. When you use eco-friendly furniture, you are not contributing to deforestation. Also, it means less maintenance.
There are many ways your business can go green. The goal is to start now. Even a few green plants can make a big difference in a boring and sterile office. Simple options like limiting printing and turning off the computer also help. What are some ways your business can go green?
Katrina manning is a content marketing specialist for Gogreen.org who has written thousands of articles on green living and the environment for a wide variety of clients. He is also the author of three books and is currently working on his fourth. In her spare time, she enjoys raising funds for charitable causes, playing with her cat and baking cookies.