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AnitaGinsburg posted a blog entry in Anita Ginsburg's BlogGoing green is becoming more of a priority for many companies around the world. While it might seem like a hassle, making your business as eco-friendly as possible is also going to improve the efficiency of your day-to-day operations and potentially save you a quite bit of money. While you probably won’t be able to completely eradicate your company’s carbon footprint, there are a few simple steps that you can take to reduce your business’s impact on the environment. Keep Your Building Well-Maintained Commercial buildings require quite a bit of maintenance. Often, managers want to minimize the maintenance, but that can end up causing more harm than good in the long run. Machinery, equipment, and systems that aren’t running at peak efficiency can end up requiring more power to do the same amount of work, costing both you and the environment. The occasional service call is going to help you catch any potential problems early so that you can avoid some expensive problems down the road. If you have a boiler room, then you should schedule a burner service call at least once every year. As for the HVAC system, you will need to schedule two service calls a year if you want to steer clear of catastrophic breakdowns and skyrocketing energy bills. Implement a Recycling Policy Many of the materials that your business uses can be recycled multiple times before they are no longer usable. Implementing a strict recycling policy will help you minimize how much waste your company produces each day. At the very least, you should set up recycling bins throughout your business and ask all of your employees to use them. You can also hold recycling days once every few months so that your employees can properly dispose of old office supplies and electronics. Go Paperless In the average office, each worker produces just over two pounds worth of paper and paperboard every single day. Over the course of a year, that adds up to be nearly 10,000 sheets of paper per employee, and most of that material goes straight to the landfill. To reduce those numbers, you can switch over to digital documents whenever possible. That includes options such as digital receipts, paystubs, employee paperwork, and faxes. Reduce Commuting Miles Your employees could be driving hundreds of miles a week to get to work, and that is going to wreak havoc on the environment. That is why many companies are now offering incentives to employees who carpool to work. You can also give some of your employees the option of working from home a few days a week if their jobs can be done remotely. In addition to reducing your overhead costs and improving the efficiency of your company, going green could also boost your brand image. Many consumers love to spend their money at eco-friendly businesses that are attempting to improve the world around them.
In today’s world, it’s surprisingly easy to forget about the ramifications of our actions. Even though we are “connected” through the developments in technology such as the internet, our so-called “flat world” isn’t all that flat when it comes to addressing the consequences that do not directly affect us, on a personal and individualized level. Living as an Indian in the United States, the “West” as people back home would call it, I understand that I have been given a privilege, that many are not able to experience. Recently, in a commencement speech by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, one of my long time standing idols, this “privilege” was aptly addressed. Adichie stated that privilege is often blinding, and sometimes results in us not being as aware of the circumstances that surround those who have not been extended similar opportunities. This couldn’t be truer. As I sit in my air-conditioned home in Boise, Idaho, reading the latest in environmental policy making, I often forget to think about the people who are actually going through the effects of climate change – like the people in India, my home, who are dropping like flies due to a recent heat wave like none before. It’s easy to be a by-stander, watching the world go by, and shirk off responsibility. The truth is though; we all have a responsibility – a responsibility to change, to inspire, and to TRY (even if we fail) to be better. It’s not simply up to world leaders to help save the world from the inevitable reality of climate change; it’s up to all of us, to take small steps in our everyday lives that will ensure a cleaner and healthier world. This is something that I, from my position of privile, sometimes forget. And so today, I am taking the first step (albeit a small one) to live a greener and cleaner life – I urge you all to take it with me. Even if it’s a small personal change, let this act as a gateway to bigger and better lifestyle decisions. Start turning off the air-conditioner when you don’t need it. Or maybe, use online coupon codes instead of printing out coupons. Have a separate recycling trash can, and take it to your local recycling center over the weekend. If you aren’t ready to alter a significant part of your lifestyle, the acts of spreading awareness can go a long way. Volunteer at a local NGO that supports the environment. Shop at a farmers’ market. Write out your thoughts and opinions and start a blog. Spread awareness about non-invasive technologies in examining subsurface hazards. Learn about the key players in environmental policy making. Really, the possibilities are endless. I truly believe that with a concerted effort, we all can make a difference. Mahatma Gandhi, one of the most prominent leaders of my home-country once said “Be the change you wish to see in the world”. So go forth, and make a change.