Your business can’t save the planet on its own, but it can certainly play a role. By transforming your processes and practices, you can adopt a more sustainable approach – one that lessens your impact on the environment and betters your community.
In this article, we’ll share several ways you can do just that.
5 Eco-Friendly Business Tips
You don’t need some complex sustainability strategy or Corporate Social Responsibility initiative to make your business “eco-friendly.” It’s all about making small decisions that set you up to be successful. Here are a few suggestions:
- Start With Your Office Space
If your business has a physical office space, start here. Pay attention to how you’re using energy and whether there are ways to improve. Research shows the average business uses between 15,000 to 25,000 kWh of energy each year. Small improvements in your processes can reduce your consumption and avoid wasted power.
One simple suggestion is to shut down all computers, appliances, and technology overnight. This won’t produce massive energy savings in a day, week, or even a month. However, over the course of the year, it really makes a difference.
Another easy, low-hanging option is to switch out old incandescent light bulbs and opt for newer LED lights (which are significantly more energy efficient). This alone can slash your energy consumption by anywhere from 50 percent to 90 percent – an estimated cost savings of $3,700 per every 25 bulbs.
Plus, these bulbs last 50-times longer than typical incandescent bulbs (making them much easier on the planet).
- Offer Remote Work
Most businesses can be run entirely remotely these days. Unless you sell a physical product that people buy off the shelf (or in-person services), there’s no reason why you can’t shift from brick and mortar to virtual.
By offering your team the opportunity to work remotely, you do a couple of things. For starters, you’re able to get rid of your commercial office space or building (which is obviously an energy-efficient and cost-effective option). Secondly, your employees no longer have to commute to work. This diminishes the size of your company’s carbon footprint.
- Shift to Digital Solutions
When you transition to remote/virtual work, you’re able to replace a lot of the energy-zapping processes you used to rely on with digital alternatives. The right software solutions can make a huge difference.
For example, if you used to rely on paper-based signatures (wet signatures), switching to an electronic signature platform will allow you to digitally streamline the process of signing contracts and agreements. Not only does this prevent the need for printing documents with paper and ink, but it also cuts back on mailing.
- Go Paperless
Speaking of using digital solutions like electronic signatures, now is a great time to go paperless. While we’ve been talking about taking the business world paperless for decades, it’s finally a realistic option for most organizations. Thanks to the cloud, SaaS products, and the global shift to virtual work, there’s no longer a need for printers, copiers, filing cabinets, etc.
Encourage your employees to handle all communication digitally. And if something must be shipped, use recycled shipping boxes and other materials. Not only is this energy-efficient, but it’s also cost-effective.
- Choose Green Suppliers
If you work with suppliers (or really any supply chain partners), spend some time studying their business model. Consider their ideas, mission, and commitment to the environment. While you won’t always perfectly align with everything they believe and do, you should look for companies that have overlapping priorities.
For example, are their products sustainably sourced? Do they meet ethical, social, and environmental principles?
When it comes to the materials they use (such as packaging), are they recyclable, renewable, or biodegradable?
It might take a little longer to find green suppliers, but this extra effort ensures your mission is consistent in all facets of your business. At the end of the day, this gives your employees, customers, and all stakeholders something to rally behind.
Adding it All Up
As you look for ways to make your business more eco-friendly, consider the tips outlined above. It could be something as simple as changing out light bulbs or switching from wet signatures to electronic signatures.
Sometimes the smallest tweaks have the greatest impact. Don’t be afraid to push your business in a new direction!