You’re probably aware that our planet is experiencing huge changes. Small businesses often seem even smaller when facing the enormous impact humans have on the environment, but we have opportunities to make our businesses greener. The extra bonus is that greening practices often save us time and money in addition to saving our planet. This article is one of several that focuses on greener business practices particularly suited to small businesses.
Daily Greening Practices
Most businesses have an impact on the environment. Greener businesses keep this in mind when making business decisions. The goal of this work is to reduce that impact down to as close to nothing as possible, or, in some cases, to have a positive impact. But all businesses are not the same. Simple acts that make your business greener include the following:
- Strict recycling regimens
- Using green suppliers of materials
- Working from home/sharing workspace
- Participation in local greening efforts
- Move toward greener energy resources
- Political advocacy, especially on the local level
- Deliberately greener planning and growth
This list isn’t exhaustive at all, and we will not be covering all of them. However, focusing on which of these (or similar ideas) work best for your business will have you green all over in no time.
What Green Practices Work for You?
Businesses can get stuck on the most popular or visible types of greening practices. This often includes recycling or planting trees. We love those things, and we definitely recommend you do them if you can (especially if your business has a significant impact on nonrenewable resources). Daily practices, though, can and should include looking at what supplies you purchase. Not just recycling paper, for example, but purchasing paper made from recyclables helps lessen your environmental impact. Asking suppliers if they use greening practices in their businesses and supporting greener movements in your industry also helps!
Helpful questions to determine what greener practices work for you:
- Do we have a measurable, significant impact on the wildlife around us? (Think about things like construction or real estate development, or industries where chemical pollutants are the result.) If we do, how can we lessen that impact, even if it means spending a little more money in the short term and investing in new equipment or procedures? If we don’t, how can we ensure that our suppliers are also concerned with green practices?
- What new or updated practices/equipment/procedures might make our business greener?
- How can we advocate for greener choices in our community? What are the options we have to impact how our local governments, for example, support and reward green business practices?
- What plans do we have for our business to expand, and how can we integrate greener practices into that growth?
- How can we access– and help others access– renewable energy resources, such as wind or solar power?
Greener Political and Community Activism
Businesses with close ties to their local communities often engage in charitable work. This work often focuses on maximizing profits, gaining a positive reputation, and contributing to local efforts– and it can also mean helping the planet. Odds are there are already greening efforts in your community. By joining with those groups and offering your services or changing your practices, you can help those around you live healthier lives on a healthier planet. The first stop is a local community center, social media page, or school, where many communities come together to support each other. Partnering with your community is a great way to form relationships with possible customers and to have a greater positive impact on the environment.
Political work also includes paying close attention to local, state, and national politics. (Everyone’s favorite activity, we know.) Using your position in any of these spaces to pressure political candidates and government bodies to take climate change seriously is an important way to make our whole world greener. Groups of businesses are also more powerful than a single business; consider joining local business groups, such as a chamber of commerce, and bringing your concerns about climate change to their collective attention. Daily choices, however, often look more like rewarding employees to participate in environmental activist work or regularly contacting politicians about climate change and its importance to your growing business.
No matter how you do it, going greener in your daily practices helps the environment. Commit to improving your practices over time and watch how it brings together businesses, communities, and profits!