As we approach the new year and say goodbye to a year that has been a challenge for the entire world, to say the least, we’d like to consider our impact on the planet. Being green is an important consideration for business, not just as a way to attract more clientele, but as a true means to treating our planet better and leaving it a safe place for future generations. To that end, here is a list of things you can do as a business to be more environmentally friendly.
- Go paperless – this one is easy! Stop printing emails, use an electronic filing system, use an app like Evernote as your notebook so even your to-do list is on your phone. Evernote also lets you share your notebooks on multiple devices so you can access them anywhere and everywhere. You can even share notebooks with other people for team projects.
- Update shipping practices – if you ship items on a regular basis or even only occasionally, use greener shipping practices such as paper rather than plastic tape, paper packing rather than styrofoam peanuts or plastic, smaller containers, and recycled boxes.
- Choose vendors who use sustainable practices. Vetting vendors for sustainability practices shouldn’t take too much time extra time. Let those who did not make the cut know that their sustainability practices are what lost them points – perhaps they will evaluate their practices and decide to implement more conscientious business habits.
- Bike or walk to work. Better yet, have a couple office bikes that employees can ride home or out to lunch. Make it fun by running a contest – whoever logs the most miles each month wins a prize.
- Turn the air conditioner to a warmer temperature to conserve energy. Close blinds to keep the heat or cold out.
- Turn off lights when you leave a room, including the bathroom.
- Eat vegan once a week. Vegan is better for the environment and bonus points – it’s healthy! We’re not saying give up meat cold turkey, but if you venture into the vegan world once a week you may be surprised at all of the delicious, satisfying options that are available now! Make it an office tradition to do vegan lunches together.
- Carpool – encourage employees to carpool as often as possible to reduce emissions. Bonus – they save money on gas!
- Client giveaways should be sustainable. Think reusable straws, metal water bottles. Items should be reusable, recyclable, recycled, and not made of plastic.
- Plant trees on a regular basis. Make it a habit – perhaps once a quarter, take a Friday lunch break with the staff to go have a picnic lunch and plant a tree.
- Participate in beach cleanups with the office as a team on a regular basis. Make it a contest – whichever team picks up the most trash gets a prize like 1/2 day off or lunch on the company.
As you can see, sustainable business practices can often also be healthy and lucrative practices, so asking employees to participate is beneficial to them in more ways than one. This makes it a lot easier to get buy-in from your team, particularly if there are those who do not see the value in sustainability itself. Try implementing one at a time to ease into the practice of being green!