Don’t worry, this article isn’t going to be going to try to lecture and guilt-trip you into being environmentally friendly in your business.
We are sure that you are aware of all that carbon footprint, future-of-our-planet stuff. And we’re also aware that it’s not that you don’t want to go green, it’s just that you probably don’t have the time or money to do it. Going green has, traditionally, been a luxury that only large companies concerned with corporate social responsibility have been able to afford.
But what if we told you that this wasn’t the case anymore? What if we told you that going green actually adds to your bottom line rather than detracts from it? And what if we gave you some simple, inexpensive ways that could help you become an environmentally friendly business and help you feel better about the wider impact your business is having?
It’s true – rather than being a costly exercise, going green is likely to actually help to boost your profits. This is because part of greening your business means cutting down on energy costs, becoming more efficient and potentially saving you tens of thousands over a few years. The government also offers incentives for environmentally friendly practices, including rebates for solar hot water systems, solar panels and rain water tanks.
What’s more, customers and employees alike love green businesses. Many customers are willing to pay more for products and services that have been produced “greenly” (in fact, some choose to purchase only from businesses that offer them), and employees feel and work better when they know that your business has a conscience.
So how are some of the ways that your business can go green, without breaking the bank? Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Be power-smart – Turn off computers, lights and appliances at the end of the day. Enable the automatic sleep mode for monitors and PC’s – an act as simple as this can save up to $75 per computer per year. Buy energy efficient light bulbs like compact fluorescent bulbs (the swirly ones) and get rid of incandescent ones, as these use more energy.
- Save some trees – do you really need to print out that 30 page report, when you can just as easily read it off your computer? Or maybe just one printed copy is enough to be distributed around the office? Print double-sided wherever possible, and send e-mails instead of snail mail and faxes. Recycle paper you don’t need any more, including newspapers, magazines, and paper bags.
- Recycle and re-use – print and toner cartridges, paper, plastic and many other supplies can be purchased in recycled form, or are biodegradable. Make sure to recycle these once you’re done with them. Use refillable ink cartridges for your printer instead of buying new ones, and recycle old computers and peripherals instead of turning them into landfill.
- Use the car less – combine errands and get them all done in the one trip. Encourage your employees to car pool to and from work or use public transportation.
- Donate unused items – office suppliers, mobile phones, computers and books that you know you don’t use anymore can be donated to schools, charities or libraries while clearing up much-needed space in your office.
- Use eco-friendly cleaning products – not only are these good for the environment, but they’re also healthier for you and your employees, too. There are many green or organic cleaning products, soaps and detergents available.
- Allow employees to work from home once a month – if you know that your employees can work just as well from home, think about letting them work at home one or two days a month – this can save operating and energy costs for your business, as well as saving on petrol consumption for them.
- Green your kitchen – get rid of plastic and Styrofoam cups, plates and cutlery. Purchase larger bottles/containers of drinks instead of cans or individual bottles.
As you can see, going green doesn’t involve a major overhaul of how you run your business – even small, simple steps can have a positive impact on both your business’s reputation, and your bottom line. If you haven’t started putting a green policy in place in your business, start now – the grass is indeed greener on the other side.