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Green Up Your Business and Add Green to your Pocket: 5 Ways to Reduce Your Company’s Environmental Footprint
Businesses everywhere are looking for ways to become more eco-friendly and reduce their environmental footprint. Switching to sustainable practices is win-win for both the environment and your company: you can save money by reducing waste, attract environmentally-conscious consumers and employees, and differentiate yourself from competitors.
Here are 5 ways you can change up operations to boost your company’s eco-friendliness and reduce operating costs:
1. Increase Energy Efficiency
To jumpstart your business’ focus on efficient use of energy, hire a third-party company to conduct an energy audit – a thorough accounting of the energy use throughout your company’s headquarters. Also known as energy assessments, audits are a powerful way to help maximize energy improvements for your business.
Once you have conducted an energy audit, you will have a better understanding of where you can install energy-efficient systems and equipment to minimize waste.
2. Decrease Water Usage
Start keeping tabs on your water meter. Small efforts, such as making sure that no water is being leaked when no one is on-site (over weekends and holidays for example), can go a long way over time. Some other simple ways to help reduce water usage: installing lower water-usage toilets, automatic taps, aerated faucets, and water-saving shower heads (if showers are provided in your building). All of these efforts, over time, will help you reduce your environmental impact and simultaneously decrease operating cost.
3. Source Locally
Smart businesses are learning to look to local suppliers first – not only can it help reduce environmental impact, a shorter transport of goods can often save time and reduce cost as well. Many companies now take pride in claiming to support smaller, local independent operations – this can become part of a larger PR strategy for the company as well – and makes businesses great neighbors to one another.
4. Say No to Disposables and Yes to Reusables
The price of convenience is getting greater every day – our single-use lifestyles are contributing to unfathomable loads of landfill trash. Our “one-and-done” society is so accustomed to plastic cups, bottles, plates, and cutlery, employees have come to expect their company kitchens to be stocked with all these so-called “essentials.” Moving away from disposables can be a difficult transition to make, which is why it may require gradual effort overtime to transition completely.
One way to work up to it includes encouraging employees to bring their own reusable water bottles, coffee mugs, and utensils for lunch. Businesses might also offer incentives like gift cards, water bottles, etc., for those who consistently avoid disposables. In time, the business may be able to get to the point of halting the purchase of plastic disposables altogether and only keep a small inventory of biodegradable plates andutensils for emergencies.
5. Use Eco-friendly Products
Whatever your business may be, every company purchases materials and company supplies for different reasons. When purchasing office supplies, purchase in bulk, avoid styrofoam and plastic, prioritize quality and longevity over the price, and conduct research about the environmental impact of your suppliers.
If you manufacture and distribute goods, consider eco-packaging solutions. Use products made of paper, or even better, products made of Stone Paper®. When distributing goods, pay attention to what vehicles your company uses, their fuel consumption, and how you fuel them. Switch to hybrid or electric cars and trucks if possible, and fuel with alternative and renewable energy sources.
Reducing the environmental impact of your business is truly worth it in the long run, as it will also improve the sustainability of your business. If you are less dependent on natural resources than your competitors and find ways to deal with rising costs due to climate change, ultimately your business costs will remain lower and you will have a greater chance of longevity and success.