For a company to be considered environmentally friendly, their goods and services, laws, guidelines and policies have to inflict minimal harm upon ecosystems or the environment. Sounds complicated? But fret not as becoming environmentally friendly is way easier that you think it is. Every small change contributes to a larger scheme of things that helps to save Mother Nature.
Here are 10 things that you can do to hop onto the green bandwagon:
1. Use Less Fossil Fuel Based Products
There are numerous alternative to fossil fuels that you can opt for your businesses processes. For Solberg Manufacturing in Itasca, more than 50% of its energy supply are derived from renewable sources. Find out which of your company’s products are made using fossil fuel based products and opt for more eco-friendly alternatives for production or replace the product entirely.
2. Reduce Use of Harmful Chemicals
Hazardous chemicals that are present in many industrial and commercial product, when not properly disposed, can cause pollution in the air and water as these chemicals seep into the groundwater. Such pollutants have severe implications on human health and hence overall economies. This practice is part of IKEA’s business operations where they ensure that their suppliers comply with the Better Cotton Standards, which ensures the reduced use of chemical fertilisers and pesticides
3. The 3R’s: Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
These three simple steps serve as a guideline to reduce the amount of waste generated and also improvement overall waste management processes and programs. To reduce means to reduce both production and consumption levels. Reuse items for other purposes instead of disposing them. Lastly, recycling refers to the transformation of a used product into a raw material that can be used to create a new item. This is exactly what Go Lite, an outdoor clothing and equipment maker in Boulder, CO, does. They use “Environmentally Preferred Materials (EPMS) like recycled nylon and polyester for their product. At the same time, they have a take-back program which recycles and reuse items returned by its customers.
4. Work with Eco-friendly companies
Expand your network and use services of green businesses to change the eco-pathway of your supply chain. There are many green vendors for varied business needs from printing services to even cleaning services. Do not be afraid to work with other companies to bring forth a more far reaching effect and this is exactly what Panasonic did: they partnered with several companies to demonstrate a “Sustainable Smart Town” plan in Japan.
5. Introduce options for employees to work from home
Panasonic commitment towards sustainability saw them shifting their headquarters to a LEED-certified building just to reduce the need for their employees to drive to work. Another easier move would be allowing your employees to work from home. With technology, business meetings can be easily conducted with video conferencing and work collaboration can be coordinated through the web. This is a great way to reduce energy consumption at the office; with lesser employees at the office, amenities usage reduces and hence results in less waste.
6. Reduce printing volume
Based on NEA’s Waste and Recycling Statistics for 2016, paper comes in third in its waste disposal volume. However, there is only a recycling rate of 51% even though it is one of the easiest materials to re-use and recycling. Your company can significantly cut down paper waste by doing the following:
– Making e-copies of important files and emails on a hard drive instead of storing hardcopies in files
– Use recycled paper and set your printer setting to automatically print documents on both sides of the paper
– Go digital for contract and documents signing with softwares such as Adobe Sign
7. Use biodegradable cleaners
Most cleaners and detergents contains harsh chemicals and toxins that can be release into the environment. Opt for natural, greener versions of cleaning products the next time you purchase your cleaning supplies, such as those produced by Seventh Generation.
8. Encourage Refurbishment in consumers
Purchasing a new product is simple and convenient but that’s not what Patagonia wants their customers to do. They want to promote repairs rather than replacement of their products and they do so through a well thought process of creating their products. On a micro level, you can ensure that your company send your furniture for refurbishment rather than purchasing a new one every time it spoils.
9. Conserve water
A lot of energy is required to pump water into residential and commercial areas. Conservation of water, and hence energy, can be done through simple steps such as fixing leaking pipes, recycling of water and using water saving appliances.
10. Go Green with your office space
If you have the budget like IBM, consider remodelling your office building by getting an energy audit who will provide useful suggestions to making simple changes around your office. It can be as simple as repairing leaks and cracks to fitting in eco friendly amenities such as energy saving lighting, eco friendly flooring and much more. IBM Smart building project has successfully increase energy efficiency through efforts such as reducing resources demand and managing their water resources.