As an entrepreneur, you have a lot of responsibilities to think of; your company’s financial and personnel success often rests solely on your shoulders. But another duty that’s often overlooked is your company’s impact on the environment.
Businesses have always relied on natural resources that allow them to create and sell their products, but when this relationship is strained it can have serious consequences on the Earth, like polluted water, proliferation of hazardous materials and harmful waste products, and air pollution. From packaging, production, shipping, and the causes you choose to support, the decisions you make as a business owner are often impacting the environment, whether positively or negatively.
Here are several ways you can be more environmentally conscious as an entrepreneur, whether it be by altering your product and office or improving your employee benefits.
Make Your Office Eco-Friendly
With so many people spending significant time in the building, office spaces use a lot of energy and produce quite a bit of waste. Reevaluate your office from the ground up. Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products and energy-efficient appliances and light bulbs. Use responsibly-sourced paper in your printer and dispose of printer ink properly. In your break room, reduce single-use plastic and instead opt for reusable plates and silverware. Seemingly small changes like these will add up and significantly decrease your business’s carbon footprint.
Utilize Alternative Energy Sources
Whether for your office, warehouse, or production center, alternative sources of energy like solar or wind power can significantly reduce your energy footprint and emissions. Look for a “green power” option from your energy provider to funnel eco-friendly energy into your building. Although this energy source will likely be a little more expensive initially, there are business tax benefits to using alternative energy and savings down the line, so speak with an accountant to ensure it’s something you can afford.
Minimize Wasteful Production
If your business provides products, consider the ways in which they are packaged and shipped. Do they use excessive plastic when glass could be substituted? Are they packed in styrofoam for transport when they could be packaged with recycled paper instead? Do your products ship in bulk to make transportation as efficient as possible? Using resources at scale that produce harmful waste can make your production line surprisingly detrimental to the environment. Audit your production and shipment systems to be sure they’re as eco-friendly as possible.
Move Business Errands Online
With all the places you likely have to visit to accomplish daily tasks, whether it’s a lawyer, a bank, or a client’s office, you likely use up a lot of energy and gas going back and forth between your destination and your office. Instead of driving to all the different locations, consider consolidating your vendors and errands to online providers and interactions. For example, you can utilize a digital bank built specifically for businesses and use corporate online video conferencing apps to speak with lawyers, accountants, and clients. This way, you’ll save both time and energy in the long-term without having to sacrifice any convenience or relationship.
Create Eco-Friendly Employee Incentives
Encourage your employees to make their own lives greener by offering eco-friendly benefits. Consider a mass transit subsidy or biking bonus so employees burn less fossil fuel. Once in the office, create a bonus or public recognition-based system for measurable, individual eco-friendly changes, like a decrease in number of pages printed, or less waste production on average. Encouraging these changes in behavior will make your employees more aware of their effect on the environment and can make a large-scale and lasting impact.
Support Environmental Groups
As an entrepreneur and business owner, your support for an environmentally-focused charity can not only offer vital financial support, but it can also spread the organization’s exposure to your employees, associates, and followers. Research the groups that share your mission, then offer any support you can. Most organizations have corporate donations available so you could give a percentage of your company’s income, one lump sum, or host a fundraiser with your employees to draw in donations Or, you can set up a volunteering initiative within your company to give time to their various missions. This way, you’ll be supporting the organization in the way that’s most effective for the organization and ultimately support their environmental initiatives.
While it may seem like an overwhelming task to add to your expanding to-do list, it’s essential that all business owners and entrepreneurs step up to support environmentally-focused initiatives and work to save our planet.