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Eco-friendly businesses are becoming all the rage, but there are more benefits to going green than just saving the environment. Many business owners have learned that small changes made to reduce their carbon footprint also improve their bottom line. This article can help you learn the benefits of implementing more environmentally friendly business practices and discover the simple steps you can take to get there.

The benefits of eco-friendly businesses

Business Sustainability

With climate change in the headlines on a global scale, companies ranging from small businesses to large corporations are looking for ways to increase their sustainability. The goal is to meet current business needs without compromising the futures of the economy, environment, or society. Making your business more eco-friendly can help you meet sustainability goals while securing a safer planet for tomorrow’s generations.

Reduced costs

It is a common misconception among business owners that becoming concerned with environmental impact will lead to a long list of expenses. However, green businesses often report that becoming more environmentally friendly was a smart business decision. Eco-friendly companies spend less money overall on utility bills and office supplies.

Increased customer loyalty

Every business depends on its customers. Going green improves public opinion and may bring in more loyal customers. Consumers want to feel good about their purchases and are more likely to give their business to a company that cares about the environment. Green practices may be the marketing edge your brand needs to increase business. Of course, the caveat is that consumers are savvy: Don’t assume that you can halfheartedly promote sustainability without following through on your commitments. When consumers find out, you may experience negative PR and potentially even a boycott for your “greenwashing.”

Engaged Employees

For many of us, employees make our business world go round. Becoming more eco-friendly can boost employee morale. As your company takes steps to reduce its carbon footprint, employees will have an increased sense of pride in their workplace which frequently results in increased productivity and higher retention rates.

Ways your business can become environmentally friendly

There are many ways your company can be more environmentally friendly. It doesn’t have to be a top to bottom overhaul. Choosing one or two areas to focus on at a time is often the best way to overhaul your business strategy. We’ve compiled the following list of eco-friendly steps your business can get started with.

Recycle

Starting a recycling program at your business is a low-cost option for reducing your company’s environmental impact. Whether you are a one-man show in a home office, a partnership in a small loft, or a large corporation on the top floor of a high rise, it’s easy to find a place for recycling bins in your office. Recycled materials can include plastic bottles, paper, cardboard, aluminum cans, glass, and ink cartridges.

Depending on your location and scavenger service, you may be able to order bins and service at no additional charge to you. Purchasing bins may be required, but there are many options available at online retailers at all different price points. If your business has a lot of recycled material, you may want to contact an industrial recycling service in your area.

Recycling reduces the amount of waste in landfills which can help reduce pollutions. A recycling program is also a quick and visible project your company can start that will be noticed by employees and customers. For larger companies, recycling may also reduce the cost of trash services.

Green web hosting

The web hosting industry surpasses many other industries when it comes to energy use and greenhouse gas emissions. Choosing a green web hosting company for your website and data storage is an easy way to add an environmentally-friendly practice.

Green web-hosting providers operate using renewable energy, like wind and solar power. Because their energy doesn’t come from an overworked electrical grid, green web servers fail less often. Ensuring that you are doing your part to reduce pollution while having continual service makes green web hosting an easy choice.

Advertising that your business uses green web hosting is a great way to show that you take corporate social responsibility seriously. Many of the hosting companies offer badges you can display on your website which will be attractive to customers and companies contemplating doing business with you. It is also a cost-effective step because services like cloud hosting allow you to only pay for what you use.

LED lighting

LED lights are an energy-efficient way to reduce energy costs. By changing out all or part of the light bulbs in your workspace with LED bulbs you can reduce energy usage. Upgrading lighting to LED lights does your part to be eco-friendly because they emit less greenhouse gas emissions than other bulbs.

Compared to fluorescent lights, LED bulbs do not make the humming noise, which reduces noise pollution, they also do not contain the same harmful chemicals found. LED bulbs last longer than traditional bulbs, so they need to be replaced less often which saves time and money and produces less waste in the landfills.

Upgrading to LED lights in your home or office space takes an investment, but over time, those costs should return to you. Because they use less energy, you will see reduced utility bills. Also, many electric companies offer incentives in the form of rebates, discounts, or cash back. Check with your electric company to see if you are eligible for LED incentives.

Promote public transportation and carpooling

Most employees drive to the office or to appointments. Cars run on fossil fuels which emit harmful carbon emissions like carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides into the air. Taking initiatives to change your company culture by promoting public transportation and carpooling can help reduce your company’s carbon footprint.

Public transportation like busses, trains, and ferries are available in many locations. Consider offering incentives to your employees that use public transportation such as pre-tax passes for the train or bus system. Encouraging employees to use public transportation increases air quality, decreases road congestion, and can save them time. Many people find relying on public transportation reduces their stress and increases productivity as well.

Creating a carpooling program is another way you can reduce your company’s carbon footprint at very little cost to your bottom line. Set up a place in your office (or online) where employees can communicate about carpooling, and consider offering incentives like time off, meals, and rewards for carpooling. By encouraging your employees to share the ride, you can protect the environment, and boost employee morale through employee bonding.

Change energy sources

Renewable natural resources like sunlight, wind, and water are becoming increasingly cost-efficient sources of energy. Investing in wind or hydropower generating equipment is not feasible for most small businesses, but solar panels should be within budget for almost everyone. They not only lower energy consumption but also with the right setup can also help your business keep running in case there is a power outage.

Solar panels allow for sunlight to be converted to energy that can be used just like regular electricity. They help to reduce pollution and slow climate change because sunlight does not emit pollutants like traditional power. Solar energy also saves water on our planet because, unlike manufactured electricity, water is not needed to cool generators and refine fuel.

Of course, there is a cost involved with installing solar panels, but the return on investment may make it a smart business decision. Switching to renewable energy will greatly reduce or eliminate your electricity expense, and the reduction of your carbon footprint makes a great talking point for your sustainability report.

Reduce waste

Sometimes just a few small changes can help you reduce waste or even become a zero-waste company. This not only helps the environment but can also have a positive impact on your bottom line through cost reductions and offsets.

And let’s talk about landfills for a moment. Landfills are an eyesore, and they can also cause damage to our planet. Garbage breaks down slowly in a landfill and frequently emits toxins while doing so. The decay creates chemicals that mix with liquid and produce leachate which pollutes the earth’s soil and water.

As already mentioned, recycling can reduce waste, and so can doing things like eliminating plastic water bottles and single-use cups. Instead, invite employees to bring their own reusable drinkware and provide water filling stations.

Look for green partnerships

Adding sustainable business practices may also mean looking outside of your daily operations and finding vendors who align with your goals. Examine your supply chain and the companies you do business with. Who delivers your packages, cleans your office space, sells you supplies? Doing business with companies that use green products is an easy way to do your part because you are already outsourcing those services. Often, your partners will be willing to make changes with you. For example, you might ask your cleaning service to switch to green cleaning products and say you’d be willing to sign a longer contract with them if they did.

Go paperless

In a remote-first world, going paperless has become the norm for many small businesses. And new technologies have made it easier for almost every industry to digitalize. But it can be scary for some business owners who are used to hard copies of everything. In the end, the benefits almost always outweigh the risk and discomfort that come with going paperless.

Ditching the paper trail speeds up processes and creates a smoother workflow, which increases efficiency. Digital documents are more useful than paper documents because they are faster to locate and there is no risk of losing records in a disaster like a fire or a flood. Going paperless also saves office space and makes it easier to integrate your software with other systems.

In a nutshell

The benefits of making more environmentally friendly choices include increased sustainability, cost savings, customer loyalty, and greater productivity. Implementing changes like recycling, green web hosting, LED lighting, carpool incentives, solar power, using green vendors, and going paperless can earn your business the title of being eco-friendly. If you are interested in learning more about your contribution to the environment, check out the EPA website or look for a consultant who is an expert on eco-friendly business practices.




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