When entrepreneurs are looking to start a business or improve their existing one, one important factor they should consider is the environmental impact of the business. Sustainable and environmentally friendly practices can easily be applied to any type of business, and it’s easier than many people expect. Any small change can make a major impact in the long run, for both the environment and for your business.
As a green business certified organization, we here at MACs Women are passionate about spreading the word about sustainable business planning. In this post, we have compiled some general guidelines for becoming an environmentally sustainable business. There are many ways to be environmentally friendly; you can do as many or as few of these as you want!
1. Invest in renewable energy.
Renewable energy is an important step to having a sustainable business. Every year, renewable energy increases in popularity and becomes more and more affordable. According to the Solar Energy Industries Association, an estimated 36 percent of all new electric energy in 2014 came from solar power alone. Renewable energy is the way of the future, and will save your business a lot of money in the long run. Plus it’s a wonderful choice that will benefit the environment.
2. Go paperless, or decrease your paper usage.
With today’s technology like tablets, emails, and smartphones replacing the need for printing everything out, it’s becoming much easier for a business to go paperless. Reduce.org reports that the average American worker uses 10,000 sheets of paper a year, and this is easily fixable by decreasing or completely eliminating the need for paper in your business. One way to do this is to print on both sides of the paper.
3. Change your lighting.
Use natural lighting whenever you can, meaning open the blinds and let in the sunlight! No one really wants those fluorescent lights! This will cut your energy usage down significantly, plus studies have shown that workers who are exposed to natural light are more productive than those who don’t.
4. Purchase local office supplies.
Al office supplies - paper, cups, paper towels, toilet paper, file folders – have to come from somewhere. The further away your supplies are coming from, the more gasoline is being used to transport those items to your place of business. Try and purchase your supplies from a local supplier than you are familiar with. This decreases the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the environment.
The overall takeaway from all this information is to think green for your business! No matter whether you are new to green thinking or an experienced veteran, thinking green simply means you are always searching for ways to minimize your business’s environmental impact. You and your business will be helping to ensure a sustainable future for everyone.
If you want to create an environmentally sustainable business but still are unsure about where to start, consider signing up for an event or conference that focuses on green business. If your business is based in the Westchester, NY area, the Westchester Green Business Challenge is a great place to start. The Westchester Green Business Challenge is an award-winning public-private partnership designed to guide Westchester-based organizations toward environmental sustainability, all while improving performance and saving money.
Do you have or are planning an environmentally sustainable business? We would love to hear your tips and methods for thinking green. Post your thoughts in the comment section below.