How to Build a Business That Puts the Environment First

Climate change has become a significant threat to the world, and businesses are substantial polluters. As climate change continues to threaten the environment, regulations on businesses will likely increase. New rules could severely hamper companies that are caught unprepared.

Consumers are actively changing their lifestyles and buying behaviors to reduce their carbon footprint. If a business does not align with these environmental values or help consumers lower their carbon footprint, it will be left behind. Fortunately, there are big and small changes that a business can enact to become environmentally friendly.

When Possible, Practice Green Procurement

Green procurement, sometimes called eco-procurement or sustainable purchasing, creates policies that favor buying from environmentally friendly suppliers. You can set environmentally friendly terms and requirements in contracts or request proposals.

Suppliers can be deemed environmentally friendly by:

  • Reducing waste, for example, by not using excessive packaging,
  • Lowering greenhouse gas emissions by using sustainable methods for production,
  • Conserving energy, water, and soil by reducing the use of toxic materials or ozone-depleting substances,
  • Using renewable energy sources,
  • Supplying products that can be recycled or are produced from recycled materials, or
  • Offering goods designed to be repairable.

Go Paperless

Businesses can be more eco-friendly if they cut out as much paper use as possible. To make paper, trees must be cut, treated, processed, then transported to your office. That’s a huge carbon footprint for something so small. Trees are also responsible for turning carbon dioxide into oxygen, so if they are absent, it reduces the planet’s ability to lower carbon emissions.

Paper is mostly used to display and communicate information. The world has advanced to the point that businesses can do most paper uses on computers or mobile devices. You can send emails, instant messages, and texts at a lower cost to the environment and your bank.

Digital platforms are cheaper than communication by paper, and they come with additional features like attaching media, collaborating on the same document, and immediate responses. You can make the shift with your customers and business suppliers by insisting on electronic communication.

If your business can’t cut out paper completely, use recycled paper. You can substitute several items with recycled papers, such as printing paper, packaging, toilet paper, and napkins.

Allow Employees to Work From Home

Businesses that allow workers to work from home will use less energy. Without commuting to work or business sites, the employee eliminates carbon emissions from their vehicles. With fewer employees at the office, the company will use less energy to power the office. Having a dispersed workforce will also force the company to rely on digital communication rather than paper.

Be Smart About Transportation

For those who do need to commute, fewer vehicles on the road mean less pollution. When possible, use public transportation, carpools, or staff busses.

If your business owns vehicles, you could also turn your entire car fleet into hybrids or go electrical. Environmentally friendly cars are no longer expensive. They are well within your reach, so you can reduce emissions at comparable cost.

Alternatively, employees can come to work by walking or biking. There are no emissions from these exercises, plus they will get some cardio in.

Airplanes are some of the biggest polluters globally, so if staff can fly less, the environmental impact will be enormous. Discern which site visits are not necessary and instead hold more virtual business or collaboration meetings.

Switch to an Eco-friendly Energy Plan

A business can add to its environmental credentials by using clean energy sources. Some energy providers give users the option only to use power generated from clean energy.

Businesses can also generate their own power using renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar power, geothermal, hydropower, and plant matter. There are clean energy companies offering electricity for businesses and have made renewable energy cost-competitive with fossil fuels, so there is no loss in switching to clean energy. There are also incentives to switch to renewables, such as the federal solar tax credit, also known as the investment tax credit (ITC), ranging from 10-30 percent of the cost.

Turn Green to Bank Greens

The environment matters, and there are easy ways that businesses can alter their practices to help save it. It is also looks good for branding, especially as consumers are also concerned about the environment. Companies large and small can play their part, which may also make them eligible for tax credits and other financial benefits.

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