Going green as a business can have a significant positive impact on your company’s environment and success. For example, reducing waste can save money and increase efficiency. It can also attract environmentally conscious customers and help build your reputation as an eco-conscious business.
Of course, going green isn’t without its challenges. Making changes involves getting your employees onboard and investing in implementing new practices. Then too, there’s the delicate balance between asking your customers to consume your product while at the same time conserving the earth’s resources.
BBB recommends the following tips to meet these challenges and reap the benefits of being a green business.
How to go green as a small business
- Assess your impact and make a plan. The first step to going green as a business is to see what kind of an impact you already have on the environment and in which areas you can improve the most, recommends the Environmental Protection Agency. Look at how your company functions, how much energy your office uses, how your employees commute, and what materials go into any physical products you sell. Once completing an assessment, devise a plan to reduce the impact and start implementing it immediately.
- Share your plan to go green with your employees. You’ll have more success if your company works as a team to reach its green goals. Of course, for this approach to work, you’ll need to think of ways to make sustainable practices fun and easy. If going green feels like a chore, your employees are less likely to support your efforts.
- Allow for remote work. Switching to a remote work environment can benefit the environment and your bottom line in several ways. Your employees will generate less energy usage and emissions by reducing their work commute days. You will also use less energy and water at the office, paying fewer utility bills. Even if you can’t have your employees work from home full-time, consider creating a semi-remote schedule where each employee works one or more days at home and comes into the office the rest of the week.
- Offer benefits to employees using public transportation. Public transit is a greener commute, so encourage your employees to use it. These tips from World Resources Institute will help you get started. For example, you could ask your city transit agency if they offer subsidized passes for businesses and offer them to your staff.
- Go green with office supplies. Instead of purchasing disposable plates, cups, and cutlery, stock your break room with reusable recipients. Cut down on paper usage by creating and storing documents digitally. Switch out traditional light bulbs for LEDs that last longer and use less energy. Some disposable office supplies might be necessary, so if you use them, create an easy system for your employees to recycle and reuse where possible.
- Recycle office electronics. Entrepreneur.com reminds business owners that worn-out electronics contain toxic elements that can leak into landfills and contaminate the surrounding soil. Instead of tossing old or broken electronics in the trash, find out where you can recycle them instead.
- Make your products as green as possible. Know where your raw materials come from to ensure you partner with other sustainable businesses. Revamping your packaging is also a good way to improve your business’ sustainability. Avoid unnecessary packaging and switch out plastic materials for paper or corrugated cardboard when shipping. Learn more about green packaging options.
- Continue improving your sustainability. Keep in mind that going green is an ongoing process. Take the time to assess your progress and make adjustments where needed regularly. Continue taking further steps to improve your sustainability and reduce your environmental impact.
For more information
Learn more ways to improve your business practices at the BBB Small Business Resources page.
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Written by Better Business Bureau, April 17, 2023