The benefits are a green business are plentiful. From promoting a healthier workplace to cutting down on costs, more and more people are growing inclined to start and support green businesses. This remains true even if that means paying a higher price. Greenbiz.com found that 71% of consumers would pay more for a sustainable brand (Moody). This is quite a change from earlier years and may be intimidating to some, but this green wave isn’t here to hurt you nor your business. Here are a few recommendations to help you and your business use it to your advantage.
Use Energy Efficient Tools and Products
Using energy efficient tools is one of the easiest ways to decrease your carbon footprint. Start by replacing your regular light bulbs with energy efficient ones, like LEDs. These may be a little pricier up front, but over the long haul, they’ll be easier on your wallet and the environment. To further decrease your electricity bill, install motion sensor lights. That way, when someone leaves the room and forgets to turn off the light, you won’t waste any power.
Consider unplugging your computers and appliances before leaving for the day. This will stop the flow of phantom power, which can be taken even when the appliance is off, but still plugged in.
You can also decrease the workload on your heater and air conditioner. When it’s hot, keep the thermostat a little warmer than usual. When it’s cold, keep the thermostat a little colder. This can save money and reduce emissions for your green business. For a more high-tech option, use a smart thermostat, like Ecobee. Ecobee connects to the internet, reading the weather and the sun’s position, and adjusts your heating and cooling to be more efficient. It even has motion sensors, that over time, learn your habits and turn off the heating and cooling when they don’t expect you to be there.
As we’ve seen with Covid-19, remote work is easier and more environmentally friendly than the traditional office working model. US carbon dioxide emissions decreased by 12.9% in 2020 compared to 2019, and globally, emissions decreased by 6.4%. Although this might not seem like much, this 6.4% decline equates to 2.3 billion tons of carbon dioxide, virtually double the entirety of Japan’s yearly emissions (Tollefson). Clearly, virtual staffing has great environmental benefits; but it can also be more economical to offer remote work. There is less need for office space and the expenses that come with it, like heating, cooling, water, sewage, electricity, etc. Depending on your circumstances, it could be in your best interest and the environment’s to virtually staff your green business.
Patron Green Suppliers
This is one of the biggest ways you can help the planet and reward others for doing the same. Research suppliers who value environmental stewardship and consider buying from them rather than their competitors. Additionally, check with your electric company and see if you can choose to buy electricity from renewable resources, rather than coal or others.
On a smaller scale, you can buy green office supplies. When buying printer paper, does it have a label, like one from the Forest Stewardship Council, showing their commitment to sustainability? Does it say a portion of the product is recycled from consumer waste? If so, you might want to consider investing.
As a globe, we are trending towards hard drives and memory cards in lieu of paper. Get ahead of the curve, save money, and decrease your environmental footprint by cutting down on your business’ paper usage.
It’s not necessary to go completely paperless, merely creating “less-paper” is enough. For many businesses, it may not be feasible to go to the full extreme of paper-lessness, and that’s okay. You can still show your business’ commitment to the environment without being 100% perfect. Look into how much you truly need to print. Would an email be as effective as a paper notice? Examine how you use paper in your day-to-day, and the areas where there’s excess.
Tell The World
Implementing these tips for your business can be great for the environment, and your budget, but for consumers’ opinion of you to grow as a green company, you have to market it.
Blog about the green changes you’re making. Write a blog or article and post it to your social media every time you implement a new green practice. This is doubly helpful, providing marketing content and promoting your company’s environmentalism.
Update or create a section of your website to describe your environmental values and speak authentically. What inspired you to make these green changes? What environmental cause do you care about most? Consumers, especially the younger generations, can tell if you’re being disingenuous. Make sure you’re not saying things just because you think it will sound good. Be truthful.
Look into earning accreditations. Organizations like LEED Rating System, B Corporation, Green America, and Energy Star are all reputable certifications to apply for. You may qualify for some, or none at all. If, despite your efforts, you still don’t meet the requirements for these certifications, don’t worry, there’s another option; 1% For the Planet.
1% For the Planet is a reputable, well-known nonprofit organization that is growing in popularity. The best part is, it’s easy to qualify for. All you need to do is donate 1% of your gross sales to your choice of the roughly 4,500 partner nonprofits and send in your receipts to be certified (1% For the Planet). That’s it. You’re now a certified member of the organization, which you can share to your heart’s content.