As an entrepreneur, your mind may understandably be trained on the lengthy list of items that require your attention in the near future. For example, you need to create a business plan, line up financing, set up office space, and more. You may also be looking for suppliers, a shipping company, an insurance provider, and many other affiliates to work with. With these and so many other things occupying your mind, it is understandable your business’s impact on the environment may not immediately come to mind.
Nonetheless, the impact of business activities on the environment can be tremendous. This impact could stem from energy consumption and waste to the generation of ozone gases, landfill waste, and more. A green business is one that has a reduced or minimal impact on the environment. This impact may be related to your decisions on where your energy comes from, the types of materials used in your office finish-out, how your goods are transported, and more.
Keep in mind that running an eco-friendly business is just as beneficial for your company and your employees as it is for the environment. This is a critical factor that deserves your attention while you are making most of your business decisions going forward. While some established businesses can go through extraordinary and often expensive steps to go green, it may be easier and more practical to simply be eco-friendly from the start. When you understand more about why you should run a green business and how to do so, you can make smarter decisions as you launch your new endeavor.
1. Protect Mother Nature
Almost all business activities can have a direct or indirect effect on Mother Nature. For example, something as simple as printing a document on an office printer can result in waste and pollution associated with the production and use of paper and printer ink. The use of your equipment, appliances, electronics, and lighting can waste energy, and your energy source may be non-renewable and polluting. These are only some of the many impacts that your operations can have on Mother Nature.
The good news is that if you are aware of the potential impact that your operations could have on the environment, you can take proactive steps to mitigate that impact. For example, when you select an office space, pay attention to natural lighting. Choose a space that has excellent natural lighting so that you do not have to run the lights all day. In addition, choose a well-insulated building, and pay attention to the source of energy that is channeled into the building.
There are many other steps that you can take as well. For example, buy gently-used furniture and electronics. Take advantage of cloud computing to eliminate waste associated with printing. When buying new appliances and equipment, pay attention to energy consumption. For applicable products, look for an EnergyStar 4.0 rating. Always look for a greener alternative when making business decisions.
2. Take Care of Your (and Your Employees’) Health
A green workplace is one that is healthy for the environment and that is healthy for you and your employees to spend your days in. Choosing a space with ample natural light can promote health and well-being, and you can take further steps by bringing fresh potted plants into the space.
Potted plants can filter out indoor air pollution and promote healthy oxygen flow indoors. The presence of healthy plants may also reduce mental stress and fatigue.
Another important step to take is to focus on the type of cleaning supplies that you or your cleaning team uses. Many cleaning products can result in decreased air quality indoors. Some can cause respiratory illness or an allergic response. Choose green cleaning products, or hire a cleaning crew that only uses environmentally friendly products and processes.
3. Save Money
One of the great things about running a green business is that going green and saving money often go hand-in-hand. For example, buying pre-owned equipment and furniture saves money and is good for the environment. Finding ways to reduce energy consumption can also save money regularly. Cloud storage options can reduce waste in a money-saving way. When your team does need to print documents, encourage them to print on both sides of the paper for financial and environmental conservation.
Hiring remote workers or encouraging at least part-time telecommuting can also help. This can directly reduce your company’s overhead, and it can help your team eliminate unnecessary pollution and wasted fossil fuels associated with commuting. Consider that the American Electronics Association states that 1.35 billion gallons of gas would be served if every worker in the United States worked from home 1.6 days each week.
Keep in mind that everything from cloud computing to technology like IBM LotusLive and HyperOffice makes it easier for your team to work efficiently while telecommuting. Regardless of where your team works, implement a ‘’bring your own device’’ policy. It is wasteful and unnecessary in many cases for workers to have separate work and personal devices. These are only a few of the many ways that going green can help your business to save money right from the start.
4. Promote Your Image
Going green can help your business in many ways, including promoting a great image to the public. Many of your potential customers or clients are also focused on helping the environment in different ways. It is increasingly common for consumers to actively research how environmentally friendly a business is and to base their decision about which company to work with on their findings.
While it is essential to have green products or services in today’s competitive business environment, it is also essential to work toward achieving sustainable operations. When you make solid efforts to go green, ensure that you promote your efforts through the image that you portray.
You can see how vital it is for businesses to make continued improvements in this area. It is much easier in many cases to start with an eco-friendly business rather than an established business to backtrack. In addition, it can help you to conserve financial resources and these financial resources may be in short supply and very critical to a new business operating on a shoestring budget and trying to turn a regular profit. As you prepare to launch your business, focus on making green decisions when possible.