Ways to Go Green in Your Business
Many world leaders and both private and non-profit organizations across the world are taking action to make their regions or industries more eco-friendly. Most of these sustainability efforts are aimed at water and energy conservation, proper waste disposal, and food security.
An excellent example of such initiatives is the Cadiz Water Project in Southern California. The project is a public-private partnership between Cadiz, a desert agriculture business, and Southern California water agencies. The goal of the initiative is to capture and conserve billions of gallons of surface water in the Mojave Desert that would otherwise be lost to evaporation. The sustainable water supply is expected to serve over 400,000 people every year.
It doesn’t matter whether you’re a small or big business; you can still make your contribution to global sustainability efforts. Here are a few ways to get started.
Get involved in Community Sustainability Efforts
As a small or non-influential business, it may be challenging to make a significant positive environmental impact by yourself. The good news is; you don’t have to start your own sustainability initiative if you lack the financial or manpower backing necessary. You can instead join an already established sustainability initiative and contribute towards it comfortably within your abilities.
There are numerous sustainability projects all over the world sponsored by groups of companies, government organizations, and non-profits. For instance, late in 2019, a group of YouTubers set a global challenge to plant 20 million trees by the end of 2022. The project dabbed Team Trees was so successful that the minds behind it said they’d keep going even after accomplishing the goal.
Reduce Your Water and Energy Usage
Another way of making your business eco-friendly is being energy and water-cautious. Adopt different ways of minimizing water and energy consumption in the workplace.
For water conservation, you can, for instance, install low-flow faucets and toilets, fix leaking taps and pipes, use free-range water, and educate your employees about using water efficiently. There are many different ways to conserve energy in the workplace, some of them include:
- Use energy-efficient bulbs and appliances
- Make use of natural light
- Insulate the building to reduce HVAC usage
- Turn off lights, computers, and all electronics when not in use
- Use smart meters to control and track electricity usage
Digital business solutions such as the internet, cloud computing, and wireless technology can be used to assist in environmental conservation. Modern technology presents businesses with the opportunity to go paperless. Although it may be impossible to go completely paperless, it’s still worth the effort.
Sending out emails instead of printing out memos, switching to digital documents and e-signatures, and running paperless meetings are just some of the ways of cutting down on paper usage. Papers require trees and a lot of energy and water to produce. Reducing the demand for paper relives the environmental strain in producing them.
Plus, going paperless can also save some of your office expenses such as printers, ink, toners, and stationary. Not to mention the energy and resources that go into printing, storing, and distributing paper documents.
Supplement Your Mains Power with Renewable Sources
In many countries, including the U.S., the national power grid is only just coping with power demands. This is one of the reasons why the U.S. government has started several projects to harvest solar and wind energy to supplement the grid system. You can also do the same in your business to aid such efforts.
One of the most effective ways to use sustainable energy in the workplace is by installing and using solar panels. You can install solar panels on the building or the ground, depending on whether the property manager allows it and the amount of space available.
Solar panels may not be very efficient or dependable, so you probably can’t use them as the primary power source. But, they can at least power some of the low-energy office appliances and lights. Many manufacturing plants are also using wind-powered ventilation and air conditioning systems instead of power-guzzling HVAC systems.
Reuse, Reduce, and Recycle
You’ve probably heard about the three ‘R’s of environmental sustainability – reuse, reduce, and recycle. But how seriously do you take this approach?
Firstly, find ways of reducing your dependency on disposable items such as paper cups and plates. Secondly, before disposing of waste items, check whether use for them might be found elsewhere. Reusing is particularly helpful when dealing with electronic and plastic waste. Finally, make sure that you have a recycling plan for any recyclable waste material such as paper, plastic, and metal.
Environmental sustainability in a business environment hinges on improving the efficiency of the workplace and business operations. This involves minimizing dependency on energy and doing away with nonessentials or resources that have eco-friendly alternatives. Remember, it doesn’t matter how seemingly insignificant your contribution to global sustainability is; every effort, big or small, can go a long way.