Saving the Earth isn’t just a consumer-based problem. Now more than ever, it is increasingly important for businesses to take initiatives to become sustainable as a whole. With more and more businesses moving head-first into this modern, technological age, eco-practices that align with these advancements are becoming increasingly paramount. Here are several ways businesses can be sustainable in these increasingly modern times.
Create new policies
There are several little-to-no-cost strategies businesses can implement right now to reduce their environmental impact. If not already in place, implementing an effective recycling system is a great place to start. Make sure each employee knows where and how to properly dispose of each type of waste. Clearly marked recycle bins should be easily accessible and available for anyone to use. In addition to things like paper, plastic, and ink cartridges, effective recycling programs can also include electronics and even furniture. Even the tech giant, Google, has a simple, yet innovative way to get its employees to recycle: getting rid of trash bins. This makes it so employees don’t just unconsciously throw things away. Once the employee is consciously walking to the disposal center, the decision to recycle becomes that much easier.
If possible, allow your employees to work from home. Not only does it help the planet, but evidence suggests that remote workers are even more productive than their at-office counterparts. Businesses could also stress the use of video chat services like Skype or Hangouts instead of having employees travel long distances for meetings. Because of their telecommuting policy in one year alone, Dell was able to reduce their C02 emissions by over 35,000 metric tons.
Going paperless is quite easy nowadays with things like computers and cloud software. Businesses should also urge employees to receive their paychecks as a direct deposit rather than a paper check. Starting a “bring your own mug” policy for things like water and coffee helps to reduce the amount of paper and plastic waste. In addition, doing away with single-use plastics in the kitchen in favor of more sustainable cutlery is an obvious win. In terms of single-use plastics, Virgin Voyages, an all-inclusive cruise line, has completely banned them on board their ship in favor of sustainable and reusable alternatives. Banning things like plastic cups, straws and cutlery sets a strong precedent for future cruise-lines and other companies alike.
Reflect with your employees
A business is nothing without its employees. That same thought goes for a business’s sustainable efforts. Encourage sustainability among your employees even when outside of the workplace. However, be prepared for some people to not be fully on board with all the changes. Because of that, transparency is key. Establishing a medium where employees thoughts and opinions can be listened to is crucial in moving toward a greener business. After a Walmart manager noticed his employees didn’t need the light inside the employee vending machines to see the products, he spoke to corporate, and the company made some changes. They turned off those lights in all employee lounge vending machines country-wide and saved around $1 million dollars a year in energy costs.
Update your infrastructure
While some potentially costly renovations may be required for you to become fully eco-friendly, the amount of money it can save in the long run is tremendous. Certain appliances like sinks, toilets, and hand dryers can all be replaced by newer, more energy-efficient models. If your business wants to go that extra mile, you could even replace your windows with smart windows in order to more effectively control sunlight (and therefore heat) coming in and out of the building.
Other upfront costs may include replacing outdated electronic equipment like computers, monitors, and even lights with newer models. This will not only reduce your energy consumption, but your energy bills as well. Just make sure any of the new equipment is EPEAT certified to make the biggest impact.
While sustainable measures should be taken by both businesses and consumers alike, the former should hold themselves accountable to operate in an eco-friendly manner both internally and externally. If businesses start using these tips and even sharing their own, the world is bound to be a cleaner and greener place.
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