Because we live in an endangered planet. Because we owe it to ourselves, our customers, our other stakeholders, our families, our children, our children’s children.
Because – and perhaps this should be the least of our reasons – it makes good business sense. Customers, suppliers, the community are more and more environmentally aware and would be happy to do business with a company that knows its social responsibility and is gentle and respectful to the environment in danger of being despoiled.
In an earlier article we listed down basic ways of going green – simple and easy things like going easy on lighting, on water usage, using energy-saving LED bulbs, surrounding the place with trees and birds, and segregating waste.
There are, however, infinitely more that business owners and managers can do to lessen their company’s carbon footprint.
Ecopreneurist suggests the following:
Use less paper
Paper makes up about a third of the total waste stream, even thought it is quite recyclable. Encourage your staff to use as little paper as possible by being choosy as to what emails to print. Copies of important files and emails may be kept in an external drive instead of storing them in folders and then inside cabinets.
Go digital with your communications
A great way to reduce paper use and get contracts and documents signed more quickly is to use electronic signatures. You can send proposals, contracts, and invoices entirely through e-mail as PDF attachments. Clients can then e-sign the documents and send them back, and you both have a signed copy without having to print anything. Some companies use PayPal to send invoices, which allows them to accept credit cards and receive instant payment.
Pull the plug
Turn off the computer, printer, and other machines before closing the office for the day. Some computers can be programmed to turn off automatically at a certain time each night. Don’t forget to unplug cellphone chargers when not in use.
Encourage your people to recycle. Place paper recycling bins in convenient locations all over the office, like right next to copiers and mail boxes. Keep clearly labeled bins in several central locations such as break rooms. Everywhere there is a trash can, there should be a recycling bin. If you have a cafeteria or break room in your office, consider adding a compost bin. An employee or neighbor with a garden wouldn’t mind the free plant food, and worm bins are compact with very little odor.
Work with like-minded families.
Network with other environment-conscious companies and use their services when you need them. Part of being a green business is making sure that you do your best to ensure that your supply chain is green, too.
Barter, pass on
Try to look for used furniture instead of buying brand new. After all, it is true that one man’s junk can be another’s treasure. If you have a large company, you can organize an office-wide barter party, where everyone brings items they don’t use any more to swap for things they might need from others. When you upgrade your office equipment after years of use, pass it on if it’s still useful.
Institute a company recycling program for electronics
In addition to recycling the usual paper, cans, and bottles in the office, don’t forget about the e-waste that is so essential to businesses and so toxic to the environment. When old electronic equipment finally bites the dust, don’t just toss it, but make it company policy to recycle everything you can. Many computer manufacturers offer take-back programs for old computers, so make use of them.
There is always more you can do to make your business more sustainable. And the only way to make progress is to know where you’re headed. Keep up with environmental news and green business trends to identify areas you can improve on. Make your own checklist of green business practices to implement and set deadlines for crossing them off your list. Share green news and tips with your co-workers, employees, and clients.
Photo: From www.techforecasters.com