Give People What They Want: What Can Your Business Do To Go Green?:
Organic produce and green products managed to survive a recession. This speaks volumes. There are people who want to protect the environment and choose environmentally friendly products whenever they are available. Retailers need to offer recycled, organic and chemical-free merchandise, particularly in communities that are environmentally aware.
Printers should look for post-consumer recycled materials. Restaurants and food purveyors have biodegradable food container options, and they can increase their quality by choosing local ingredients whenever possible. Any manufacturing business can choose raw materials that are recycled or, at the very least, nontoxic materials. All of these options will help green a business.
Honestly market green business strategies. Consumers are becoming jaded because many companies stretch the truth when it comes to their environmental impact. If you managed to reduce waste by 20 percent, then that is the figure that should be advertised. Appeal to the emotions of consumers by stressing personal business goals. For example, keep the public aware of any new projects in the pipeline that will potentially have a positive environmental impact, and share success stories after they are implemented.
Green advertising is becoming commonplace. We are inundated with pictures of trees and wildlife, so try to come up with something unique to market a green business. Choose images that reflect the business itself, and use them to connect with customers electronically. Not only does this save on printing costs, it will also save trees. If it is possible, pick up a green business certification, such as being certified organic, LEED certification or Energy Star ratings. Certifications provide independent proof that companies are succeeding at their attempts to become green.
Ways to Save Money and the Environment:
Green business does more than attract new customers; it will save money. The money saved on energy alone makes going green worthwhile. Start by choosing energy saving light bulbs. They last 10 times longer than traditional bulbs and use 75 percent less energy. Keeping the lights off when a room is empty will also lower the electric bill. Another energy saving tip is not to use light bulbs at all. Many rooms can be lit simply by using available daylight. Remove window coverings and try using natural light. Natural light provides vitamin D and lower energy bills at the same time. Using sunlight at work is also good for growing plants that decorate the room while oxygenating the air.
Along with allowing natural light in, try letting in some fresh air as well. Air conditioners use quite a bit of energy and run up the bill. Open the windows and run ceiling fans on nice days. If it is simply too hot to turn off the air conditioner, turn up the thermostat at the end of the day. Do not turn it off because it takes more energy for it to cool the building when it comes back on in the morning.
Purchasing equipment that is energy efficient can reduce energy bills. Always check the Energy Star rating at before buying new electronics. Make sure that all equipment is clean and in good working order, and turn off machines when they are not being used. Phantom power can be drained by electronics when they are not in use, but there are power strips designed to prevent the loss of phantom power.
Purchasing environmentally friendly products is not only good for the environment; it is good for the health of everyone in the building. For example, nontoxic cleaning supplies are less likely to incite allergic reactions or cause asthma to flare up. Cleaning services that specialize in using only natural, chemical free products are growing. Try finding one, if the size of a building demands a cleaning crew.
Use recycled paper products whenever possible. Look for products labeled that they contain “post-consumer waste.” Recycled paper products that are easy to find include paper towels, toilet paper, napkins and paper plates. Better yet, provide real plates and glasses in the kitchen or break room. These can be washed and reused, which will cut costs on paper products and reduce waste.
Conduct business online or over the phone whenever possible:
We live in the digital age, so why not take advantage of it? Teleconferences make it possible for people across the globe to meet and discuss the business without having to travel. This saves energy and money on travel expenses. Telecommuting is becoming a popular alternative for many employers. Allow people to telecommute at least part of the week if their jobs allow for it. They might appreciate not having to fight morning traffic.
No one enjoys sitting in traffic, but commuting to work still remains a drain on natural resources. There are several options to reduce the energy used simply to go to work. Some businesses encourage employees to carpool or institute working four 10-hour days rather than five eight-hour days. There is also o growing trend of providing “green benefits.” Some companies offer subway passes or bus tokens as part of their employee benefits package. Others go so far as to financially assist employees who green their houses or purchase energy efficient vehicles.
Businesses that require company vehicles should look into energy efficient cars, trucks or SUVs. Hybrids are becoming easier to find as the price of fuel increases. It is also important to understand that a vehicle needs to be maintained for optimal energy efficiency.
Reducing waste will cut costs and help a business go green:
Use shredded papers, obviously not any documents with sensitive information, as packing material. Save rainwater and use it to water plants later. Set the printer to print both sides of the paper automatically, and choose a smaller font size and often style. Century Gothic is a font recommended for saving ink and money. Buy recycled ink cartridges and donate or recycle old electronics and supplies.
Start a recycling program at work and get the employees involved. Recycling bins may be available, but without employee involvement the program will not be successful. Encourage them to find new ways to make the business green and share them. Make going green more than company policy; make it an employee led movement. Employees with environmental interests will connect with the company as the feel that working allows them to support their ideals and draw a paycheck.
This is a good time to remodel. There are plenty of green builders, and the government may offer financial help to certain green building projects. A directory of government programs is available online at http://www.greenbiz.com. Whether building a new structure or remodeling, look into LEED certification. The Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) Green Building Rating System can easily be researched online, and being LEED certified proves to customers and employees that the business is built upon the premises of sustainability and environmental concern.
Like any other business venture, networking is essential. Try to network with other environmentally friendly business owners. Purchase products from other green businesses and refer customers to them. They will return the favor. Find a green business owner to mentor you as you make changes in your own company. Someone with an established green business will likely have a wealth of information on becoming certified, finding products, reducing waste and saving money.
Going green is an important step for a business to take. No matter the size of a company, it is possible to draw in customers and reduce company costs by creating a greener workplace. Green policies will also affect employee morale and involvement. Overall, a green business draws people together as they unite around a common cause. Preserving resources and saving the environment will not only save money and energy, it can also create a sense of pride in knowing that a business built today will have a positive impact on the future.