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The Basics of Greener Business


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If you run a business there are of course no shortage of things to be concerned about; regardless of whether you’re worried about staff management, cash flow or any other business matters, the impact of your company on the environment probably isn’t particularly high on the list. However, the impact of your business on the local environment is of course much higher than the impact of your home, so you can make a difference.

There are a number of things you can do that will make a difference to your environmental impact, but of course you are still a business and you do still want to do something that is of benefit to you, rather than something that will cost you and give nothing back. Simple is the key, go for the small changes that don’t cost anything but do make a difference, little by little.

Why should your business go green?

· Good Publicity

People love a green business, it shows that you care about what your company does, you care about the world we live in and most importantly you care about the people and the future generations that your business aims to sell products or services to. There have been a number of studies which show up to 71% of consumers would prefer to make their purchases from eco-friendly companies.

· Potential Saving

Not all green tactics will save you money, but there are some that have the potential to, particularly if done right. Energy saving and the use of renewable energy sources within the business is a slightly more obvious one. For starters there are government schemes available that will provide you with funding to implement renewable energy alternatives within your business, such as some money towards the purchase of solar panels. Once that’s done you are able to produce your own power, which gives your company the opportunity to save on some of the electricity bills.

· Benefits the Environment

This is the much more obvious reason why your business should go green – it’s good for our environment. Regardless of whether you start recycling or take every possible step in becoming a green business it does make a difference and it does help.

How do you go green without losing out?

· Kaizen

As a business you might have heard about the Kaizen method; sometimes known as the rapid improvement method. Basically this means that you should be doing things little by little. Implement small changes and monitor their effects, documenting the costs and results carefully, this allows you to understand what works and what doesn’t. Only when you have the first step in place and operating the way you would expect it to do you move on to the next step.

· You’re a business, not a charity.

In business the phrase ‘cut your losses’ is of big importance when it comes to going green. If something isn’t working don’t just hold on and hope that it eventually fixes itself, because it probably won’t. If it doesn’t work for you drop it and move on, especially if it’s costing you money. There will be methods that work for your business and those that don’t, the only way to find out which is which is to experiment with them.

· Reputation Counts

Work on your reputation as a green business. Do press releases, blog articles, interviews, podcasts, do whatever it takes to get people to recognise you as a green company, and don’t forget to register with any recognised associations for greener products and services, this will get you more confidence from your customers.

How do you go green?

· Bokashi or Compost

Bokashi is an innovative indoor composter, however if you have the space outside your business you can always go for a full outdoor composter. Encourage your staff to put food waste and degradable containers into the composter and let them be. The Bokashi set up is particularly convenient, as there is no rancid odour, no attracting insects or rodents and you don’t actually have to do anything expect fill the bucket and leave it for a few weeks, then you can just bag it up and use it. This makes excellent stuff for replenishing lost nutrients in the soil around vegetable patches, flowers, trees and herbs.

· Biodegradable

Get yourself some biodegradable stuff. Not all businesses use stainless steel cutlery and ceramic plates and mugs, a lot of offices and businesses work primarily with disposable items for convenience, particularly those in the catering industries. Go ceramic and encourage your employees to clean their dishes, or go biodegradable. Of course when it comes to having meetings and offering company guests a cup of coffee it can be a nice touch to serve their drink in a biodegradable coffee cup.

· Re-Use as much as possible

Did you know that about 35% of wasted materials in the world is paper? Yep. Encourage your employees to keep a box of scrap paper around, so that the next time they go to make a note of something they can re-use scrap, rather than notebooks. Don’t forget; just about every business should now have at least one shredder, and of course a recycling area for used paper, such as those that have been shredded, newspapers, old documents etc.

· Usage and Wastage

Spend time around the areas of your business looking at what is used and what is wasted. Test your power outlets and equipment to ensure that nothing is using more power than it should be, check your faucets and pipes for water leaks that might be causing wasted water. Replace bulbs, start using rechargeable batteries and recharging them, look at how much equipment is purchased and wasted on a regular basis. This allows you to not only cut back on costs wherever possible, but cut back on the waste produced too. You may also want to install motion sensitive lights and timers on electrical circuits that will ensure power is not used where and when it is not needed.

If you are planning to take your business in the eco-friendly direction don’t forget to get your employees on board with the change. Inform them of new procedures, such as recycling, placing certain items into composters etc. Take note of those who seem the most interested or enthusiastic about the plans and propose that they lead your green committee. Encourage them to come up with new ideas for greener business operations, and give them control of monitoring process. Don’t forget to give them an incentive for their extra work and don’t over-work them.


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