As a business owner, you know that operating within a budget is a top priority. With so much focus placed on keeping your business up and running, you may not always have time to think about the environmental impact your business is having. But there are ways you can protect your business’s bottom line while also supporting the environment.
By implementing environmentally friendly business practices, you can limit your business’s overall energy consumption and reduce your monthly costs — all while benefiting the planet.
With climate challenges mounting, finding ways to become more eco-friendly in your business has never been so important. Even making a few small changes to the way you operate can have a positive impact on the environment. If you’re unsure where to begin, the following examples of sustainable business practices can help get you started.
Recycling and using recycled products in your business can help limit the amount of waste you produce while also saving you some money. For example, there are many post-consumer waste products, such as paper, cardboard and other forms of packaging, that are made from recycled materials and more eco-friendly to produce than traditional products.
Another example of sustainable business practices is to trade in any traditional cleaning supplies for more natural and eco-friendly options, including disinfectants that are effective at killing the coronavirus. Many traditional cleaners contain chemicals that are harmful to both the environment and human health. To choose the safest cleaning products and, subsequently, ensure a safe workplace, you can reference the EPA’s Safer Chemical Ingredients List.
Although it can take some time to make a full transition, going paperless in your business is an effective way to keep your environmental impact in check. You’ll not only be able to reduce waste but also improve your business’s efficiency, making it one of the best sustainable business practices. For example, moving your documents into the cloud prevents paper clutter and creates easier access to important business information.
Lighting is often one of the biggest contributors to a small business’s energy consumption. That’s why it’s best to switch to energy-efficient lights, like LEDs or CFLs, which draw less power and have a smaller carbon footprint. The initial costs may be a bit higher than with traditional lighting, but the long-term environmental and financial benefits of energy-efficient lighting surely make it worth the investment.
Older office equipment and appliances tend to consume more energy than newer models, meaning they’re worse for the environment and your energy bill. Replacing them with newer units is an environmentally friendly method for businesses to save money as well as the planet. With a little spending upfront, you can transition to energy-efficient office equipment that’s designed to conserve power. Some places to start could be with eco-friendly computers, printers or surge protectors for your business.
It’s important to share information with your employees and encourage them to engage in environmentally friendly business practices. There are various ways you can promote eco-friendliness and help employees save energy in the workplace, such as offering rewards for meeting energy conservation goals and posting business energy savings tips on office etiquette signs in break rooms and other common areas.
The more employees you’re able to get involved in your efforts, the more you’ll reap the benefits of being an environmentally friendly business.
Examples of sustainable business practices can take many forms, including when you open and close. If it’s practical for your business, you may be able to reduce your environmental impact and save energy by changing your business’s operating hours. For instance, if a majority of your sales or transactions occur during the day, you could consider optimizing your business hours and closing down in the evenings. Or you could try implementing occasional remote workdays for you and your employees.
The best way to adjust your business hours will ultimately depend on your particular needs, capabilities and objectives. It’s one of many strategies being taken by employers looking to transform their businesses and reinvent their processes in the new economy.
Like with a home energy audit, business owners can contact their utility about coming out to their premises to conduct a business energy audit — many times free of charge. A professional will identify air leaks that could be sealed, areas that may need more insulation and places where you could switch to energy-efficient lighting. They can give you a much better idea of how your business is using energy now and how you can save in the future. And lowering your energy usage lowers your carbon footprint.
The great thing about reducing energy consumption is that it’s an environmentally friendly method for businesses to save money. It’s a win-win for you and the planet. By developing your small-business sustainability plan, you’ll bolster your bottom line and feel good about doing your part to make the world a better, more livable place for all of us now — and for generations to come.
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