More businesses are choosing to go eco-friendly, not just to save the environment, but because they also reap many other benefits. Going green can help businesses cut operating costs, boost sales (among customers who care about the environment), and foster their brand image. In some cases, going green may be necessary to meet regulatory requirements, and still, in other cases, businesses that go green may be able to benefit from tax incentives.
The following are 7 simple eco-friendly practices that any business can adopt:
Encouraging eco-friendly commuting
Businesses can encourage their employees to reduce their carbon footprint by embracing eco-friendly commuting practices such as biking, carpooling, walking, or taking public transportation. Large businesses with enough resources can provide company buses to ferry their employees to and from work. Businesses of all sizes can incentivize their employees by organizing competitions that reward employees who are the best at embracing green commuting.
Going paperless by switching to cloud computing
Offices can keep digital records of their files and paperwork, and they can use cloud-based applications to store all their documents. Apart from being good for the environment, cloud computing offers more safety, security, and convenience. Initially, businesses that wanted to go paperless had to invest in expensive server equipment, but they can now just use cloud services from reputable providers including Microsoft, Google, and Apple.
Adopting eco-friendly procurement practices
Businesses can ensure that they purchase office equipment and stationery that are eco-friendly. This not only reduces a business’s footprint, but it also boosts other green businesses. By sourcing goods and services from green businesses, you can help foster a community-wide culture of green practices. You can ensure that the cleaning products and chemicals used by your business are non-toxic and that all your office supplies are either reusable or recyclable.
Using renewable energy
Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy are more easily accessible to businesses now thanks to new technologies in the sector. Businesses can take advantage of these sources of energy in different ways, depending on their size or capability. Small businesses can install solar panels on their roofs, while large companies can choose to operate wind farms or solar power plants to power their facilities.
Reducing their building’s energy footprint
There are many ways to reduce a building’s energy footprint. Businesses that build their offices from scratch can now include energy-efficiency features in their designs. Businesses that operate in older buildings can renovate them to include better insulation, solar panels, more natural light, and energy efficient HVAC systems. Businesses should make the most use of natural light because it reduces the amount of electricity used to light up their buildings, while at the same time providing nicer work environments which foster productivity.
Getting employees involved
Businesses can involve employees in their green initiatives by creating “sustainability teams” and encouraging people who are passionate about the environment to join and help raise awareness among their colleagues. These teams can do lots of things, including starting recycling programs, weighing in on purchase decisions (to facilitate green procurement), and organizing “green challenges”. When properly organized, green challenges can be very effective in reducing the footprint of an entire office. Businesses can organize fun competitions to see which departments recycle more, which individuals are better at eco-friendly commuting, or even which employee comes up with the best energy conservation ideas.
Engaging environmental consultants
The best way for businesses to figure out how they can go eco-friendly is by seeking the advice of professional environmentalists. They can hire environmental consulting firms which specialize in carrying out environmental assessment and determining the best courses of action that need to be taken to reduce the business’s footprint. Businesses that are looking to set up new buildings can seek the services of environmental consultants to help them understand the environmental impacts of their projects so that they can modify their designs to ensure that they are eco-friendly. Environmental consultants can also help to ensure that new projects comply with environmental laws so that businesses can have an easier time getting permits and approvals from environmental regulators and planning offices.