The advantages of being green in business are now very well documented. On the one hand, it helps the environment, which numerous studies have shown to be under threat. On the other, being green can really strengthen the reputation of a brand, as the environment is one of the things consumers feel the strongest about. Indeed, many businesses have built almost their entire brand around how they care for the world around them. They have some of the most loyal customer bases.
So, as a small business, what are the little ways in which you can be more eco-friendly?
Recycling is the big and obvious one, but businesses still don’t do enough, especially smaller ones that don’t feel they’re under the same amount of scrutiny as the global players. Walk around your place of work and you’ll spot countless instances of things being thrown away when they could actually be recycled. Paper especially often gets thrown away with general waste; ensure you’ve got a dedicated bin for it. The key here is to educate your staff, and get everyone into the routine of recycling everything they possibly can. These days it’s possible to recycle just about anything — even metal, so make scrap metal recycling and copper recycling a must in your business.
Power requirements are one of the major causes of pollution, particularly when not using clean fuels. If you’re lucky, you may be able to get your power from a renewable source, or you may even be able to generate your own with something like a solar panel (take a look at the Critical Power site to get an idea of what you can do small-scale). Many businesses are tied to whatever their lease allows them, which means that simply cutting down on power use is the best option. Again, it’s quite simple but not enough businesses do it. Consider putting all lights on sensors so they can’t be left on, and where possible, switch to computers and equipment that don’t use as much power. An old desktop can use significantly more than newer notebooks and tablets.
If you’re really enthusiastic about cutting your carbon footprint, then you should think about what your business does about transport. This is one of the biggest contributors to global warming, with tonnes of harmful gases being produced every single day. Don’t allow for unnecessary business trips, and allow your staff to work from home if convenient. Video conferencing is cheap and simple these days, and you can use it for both internal and external meetings.