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With the state of global warming being what it is today, more people than ever are concerned about their carbon footprints and how the businesses they support are fighting climate change. This means that more and more business owners are looking to ensure their companies are environmentally friendly. While going green doesn’t require you to lower overall production, it will require business owners to use energy and resources more efficiently, thereby eliminating existing waste streams. For those of you who are interested in “greening” your business but are having trouble keeping up with the changing tides, Optimum has created this helpful guide of four ways to make your business greener.
Why Your Business Should Go Green
For those who are still unsure about whether to go green or not, there are a few reasons to make the switch. Most importantly, according to the EPA, it is safe to assume that in the near future, the regulatory and market landscape will be altered by environmental issues. Energy-efficient companies will be ahead of the curve in navigating those changes when they happen.
Greening your business may also benefit customer relations, giving you a boost over competitors. A December 2018 poll of American consumers showed that nearly half would change their buying habits to reduce their perceived impact on global warming. The poll also showed that those consumers were responsible for an estimated $128.5 billion worth of spending in 2018. With such a diverse array of products and services to choose from, making your business environmentally friendly may give you the edge you need to stand out.
If your company isn’t in the businesses of reusing, repairing, or refurbishing, it’s time to start recycling. No one wants piles of garbage to be a part of their mission statement! The more trash you can divert from a landfill, the greener your business will be. Research community recycling programs and set recycling goals for the office. Encourage your customers and employees to recycle by placing recycling bins somewhere obvious and accessible. Most people are unaware of what can and cannot be recycled, so you may want to include a sign with some instructions.
Beyond normal day-to-day trash, electronic waste is the fastest-growing waste stream in the world, with 50 million metric tons of it produced across the globe every year. Your business’s unwanted devices are part of that waste. Whether broken or just outdated, when electronics are thrown away, they are often deposited in landfills in other countries where emissions from doing away with these products is damaging human health and the environment. If you want to green your business, instead of throwing away unwanted computers or cracked company cell phones, recycle them at a computer manufacturer or electronics store. You can also donate functional equipment to schools or nonprofits.
The effect your business has on the environment goes beyond just how your company contributes to global warming. It is important to consider how the companies you partner with, such as suppliers, may be affecting climate change. One of the most effective ways to green your business is to practice “green procurement”, which means sourcing your company’s goods and services from somewhere that produces and supplies them in an environmentally friendly manner.
An easy place to start is by sourcing from local suppliers; the goods travel less of a distance to get to you, thereby reducing your company’s carbon footprint. It is important to review and revise your business’s procurement policies to ensure that all products and services are sourced from a sustainable supplier. Easy methods of practicing green procurement include ensuring all purchased goods are manufactured sustainably, do not contain ozone-depleting substances, are produced from renewable materials, do not include excessive packaging, can be recycled, and are designed to be repaired and/or reused.
The way your business uses energy affects its carbon footprint. Another way to green your business is to focus on becoming energy efficient. The Environment and Energy Study Institute defines energy efficiency as “using less energy to perform the same task – that is, eliminating energy waste.” Greening your company by focusing on energy efficiency allows you to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, thereby reducing the negative environmental impact your company may have.
When seeking new appliances for your office, look for energy-efficient products. Energy Star appliances have labels that will explain their energy usage, helping you monitor your company’s environmental impact. Compact-fluorescent or LED lighting can improve your business’s sustainability as they last longer and use less energy. Make sure your employees turn off their appliances and electronics at the end of the workday to prevent unnecessary energy consumption.
How you and your employees get to and from the office also affects your business’s carbon footprint. Incentivizing green transportation among employees can lower carbon emissions for your company. Any time a car is turned off is time that our environment isn’t being polluted, so if you want to green your business, offer prizes and rewards to employees who get to work by carpooling, bus, biking, or ridesharing. Not only will this reduce your business’s environmental impact, but employees who bike to work will be healthier and more productive!
Go Green with Optimum!
Bonus tip! One of the best ways to make your business greener involves limiting your use of plastic products. While it may be tempting to provide plastic water bottles in your office’s break room, you can cut down on the amount of plastic your business produces by installing a bottleless water system! Optimum offers bottleless water systems that you can depend on in your office space. Want to learn more? Find your Optimum bottleless water system today and promote a greener workspace!