Climate change has our planet gasping for breath. It is not uncommon to see our seas teeming with plastic waste — so much plastic waste, in fact, that whales are choking on them. Our once pristine skies, now tinged with the gray of smog. And the weather goes from one extreme to the other as people try to survive catastrophic natural disasters. This is our reality now.
Climate change has far-reaching effects. From rising sea levels to our sources of food dying off, every single living creature on this planet is feeling the effects. This is why more consumers are now choosing businesses that are eco-friendly or have a very low carbon footprint. More people are now buying sustainable products instead of single use plastics that end up in our oceans. More people are now starting to take notice and actually care about the environment.
Now, businesses are challenged and compelled to follow suit; but aside from helping our planet regain its health and mitigate the irreversible effects of climate change, “going green” can actually impact your business positively.
Having an eco-friendly company culture is important for a business, not only for the customers but also for the employees. Job applicants these days are placing higher premiums on companies that have sustainability programs in place. An eco-friendly culture also fosters a sense of social responsibility among colleagues. More people now volunteer for eco-friendly programs and outreach activities than ever before. This keeps your employees engaged and working towards something that benefits, not only themselves, but the greater community.
How a small business can go green
You don’t need to throw large amounts of money at your sustainability programs. As a matter of fact, there are a lot of ways to practice sustainability that can save businesses cash in the long run.
Go green on office supplies
Did you know that LED light bulbs use 75% less energy than an ordinary light bulb? They also last longer and are just as bright as incandescent light bulbs, and they nearly cost the same. If you switch to LED lights in the office, you have an energy-efficient light source that has a longer lifespan and would cost you less.
Also, think about getting rid of disposable glassware and cutlery, and have your employees bring in their own tumblers and utensils to work. This results in less trash at the end of the day, which is better for the environment, and a few dollars more saved in supplies.
In the spirit of conserving energy, you can ask your employees to turn off the lights in rooms that they do not use, or power down their computers at the end of the day.
Consider remote work
This might need more planning, but having employees work from home benefits your business and the environment. On your end, the energy costs of running a business will be significantly lowered when your workforce do not work inside the office (think electric and water bills).
For the employees, this saves them gas money and a lot of time. This translates to them having more energy to work, which in turn means better productivity. This also significantly cuts every employee’s carbon footprint.
Lesser cars in the road means less carbon emissions, less traffic, and definitely less stress on both the commuters and the planet.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
The three Rs are simple but also harder for people to follow, especially when transitioning to a more eco-friendly workplace. Try reducing or conserving energy and resources where you can. It could be something as simple as reminding the employees to turn off the faucet while they’re soaping their hands or turning the lights off when leaving a room. Reuse materials whenever possible; and when something cannot be reused, recycle them.
Choose environmentally friendly suppliers
If your business uses suppliers, make sure that they also have eco-friendly practices. Your footprint as a small business can be greatly impacted by the companies you use for your supply chain.
Some web hosting services have now gone green. So, where you choose to have your web pages hosted can now be green, too. Even companies within the blockchain space have jumped on helping save the environment, so there is no excuse to not start going green in your supply chain.
Public transport subsidies or benefits
If working remotely is not something feasible for your business, then perhaps subsidizing your employees’ transport costs will be a step in the right direction. The most environmentally friendly way to travel is through carpools and public transport. Giving public transport subsidies or benefits to your employees will encourage them to use public transport.The more people choose public transport over using their own private vehicles, the lesser emissions there are from cars on the road.
Going green does not have to be hard or expensive. Little adjustments made in the day-to-day activities of running a business will have a huge impact on the environment and on your business. Saving the earth might even save you some money in the long run.