Since the 1970s, there have been advocacies to take care of the environment by all sorts of groups. But it was only around eight years ago that the call for companies and homeowners to go green became louder due to the ill effects of global warming.
Back then, going green was a quite expensive option for small businesses because of the costs involved. But now that even the government rewards businesses and homeowner who are taking the more eco-friendly route when it comes to their day-to-day operations and maintenance, it has become a lot easier to go green.
What Does It Mean to ‘Green Your Business’?
For small to mid-scale entrepreneurs, what exactly does it mean when you are asked to green your business? It basically involves simple to complex steps that you can take to make running your business more eco-friendly. Let’s say that you are running a dry cleaning/laundry business.
When you wash the clothes for the customers, are you using eco-friendly detergent or fabric softener? Do you implement ways to conserve water during the washing process? How about the waste that comes from the washing machines? How are they treated?
If you’re in a different field, you may have a small office. Do you make it a point to recycle and reuse the other side of white paper? Are all your lighting fixtures energy-saving or are you still using traditional bulbs? Do you encourage your employees to carpool or drive hybrid vehicles?
These are the small and big things that you can do in order to green your business. No matter which industry it is that you are in, you can implement policies that will make your everyday operations a lot friendlier to Mother Nature.
Benefits of Going Green
Next, what are the benefits of going green? Here are the top two advantages for business owners:
You can use being green as part of your branding campaign
What better ways is there to stand out from the competition than to brand your company as 100% green? These days, consumers are becoming more and more conscious about the products they’re buying and the services that they are taking advantage of. By having an eco-friendly operation, you can include that in your branding campaign and use it as an edge over your direct competitors.
It’s good for your bottom line
As mentioned earlier, there used to be a time when going green was not necessarily a cost-friendly option for small companies. Back then, the cost of eco-friendly cleaners and similar products were astronomical. Today, there has been a complete turnaround. Almost all green products are budget-friendly and you can implement many office policies that will make your office or business more energy-efficient.
When you go green, there’s less electricity bills to pay because you are saving on energy. There is also less money spent on disposable products. As your bottom line increases, the number of customers that you acquire will also increase simply because more customers are going for companies with green operations.
Ways to Green Your Business & Save Money in the Process
Now that you already have an idea about what going green can do for your business, what are the ways that you can implement it for your own company? How can it help you save money in the process? Take a look at the following list:
Do consider having your employees telecommute
If you have a store where products are sold or services are delivered, this is definitely out of the question. But if you have an office where employees come in regularly to do paperwork, having them telecommute is definitely a greener option. Your employees will even thank you for the opportunity to have them work at home.
This can be done on a full-time or part-time basis, depending on the scope of your operations. What makes telecommuting a green option is that employees would not have to drive over and use gas on their vehicles, or use electricity to power up the computers and lights in the office.
Issue electronic invoices, statements, receipts, etc
Paper is definitely something that all offices and even homes should be saving. As you may already know, they come from trees so using less paper will be very beneficial to the environment. If you can, issue electronic invoices, statements, price quotations or even receipts. Instead of printing, you can simply send the document in PDF format and even save money on postage stamps.
See to it that your place of business consumes less energy
If you’d like to have a green business, the first thing that you should look at is your office or store. Are you using LED instead of incandescent or fluorescent bulbs which use up more electricity? During the winter season, you can turn down the thermostat by even one degree and save money on heating costs. All your office equipment should have an Energy Star rating so you can rest assured that they are using up as little electricity as possible to operate.
Instead of relying on artificial lights, you can design your office in such a way that as much natural light comes in as possible. Not only will this help conserve energy, but natural light also helps boost employee productivity.
Use alternative energy in your office, if possible
If you want to really live up to the label of being a 100% green business, why not use alternative energy to power up your office? Depending on where your office is located, there are areas where you can sign up for green power purchasing from the local utility providers. For this, wind, solar, geothermal or hydropower are used as an alternative energy source.
Purchasing green power might increase your electricity bill by a small percentage. But if you are implementing ways to cut back on your overall energy consumption, anyway, then the savings will more than make up for the extra cost.
Know how to minimize packing materials
If you have an online store and you deliver the products to customers by having them shipped, make sure that you know how to minimize packing materials. Do not use oversized boxes or envelopes for small items. You can even use recycled materials for packing and packaging. For products that can be sent digitally, you can offer electronic delivery.
Do you use delivery vehicles? Go for hybrid!
If you’re in charge of delivering your own products to customers, use hybrid vehicles. The investment may be more initially but the savings that you will incur will be worth it in the long run. Not only that, but the impact to the environment is lesser if you are using a hybrid delivery vehicle. The same thing holds true for the cars that the individual employees drive – it’s more eco-friendly to go for hybrid ones.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
This is a mantra that not just businesses but also all households should live by. Reducing waste means reusing and recycling whatever trash it is that you have at home or in the workplace.
If you have an office pantry, for example, you can stock it with glasses and plates instead of using paper and plastic. Using Styrofoam or paper cups for coffee produces tons of waste on a yearly basis, so encourage the workers to use their own coffee mugs.
If you’re a small business owner, buy second hand instead of brand new furniture. Choose suppliers who take back packaging to be reused. There are also suppliers who provide maximum available recycled content. Donate instead of throwing away old products, such as computers which are about to be upgraded.
Use biodegradable cleaners
When looking for cleaning contractors or if you perform the cleaning of the office yourself, make sure to use biodegradable cleaners. These have non-toxic ingredients so even when the residue of the cleaning water goes into the sewers, they will not pose harm to the environment.
Better yet, go for natural cleaning agents like baking soda, vinegar, lemon water, etc. There are plenty of solutions that you can make for cleaning purposes which are made from all-natural, cheap ingredients that can be whipped up in a snap.
Look for a green web host
Your business might as well not exist if you don’t have a website. For this, the first thing that you need is a web hosting company – and there are web hosts which have a fully green operation. By simply subscribing to their services, you are already doing your share in helping save the environment because you know that their servers are kept in an eco-friendly environment.
As you can see, there are small and big steps that you can take to green your business. While you are running an eco-friendly business, not only are you helping heal Mother Nature by not doing undue harm to it, but you are also cutting back on your operational costs. The more eco-friendly practices you implement on your business on a daily basis, the more that your bottom line benefits due to reduced operational costs, so start going green right now!