You’ve replaced your light bulbs, turned off your computer, and have even offered public transportation incentives to your employees. Your company is no stranger to going green, but you’re ready to take sustainability to the next level with more long-term, bigger investments. The upfront work to kick-off a larger sustainability strategy may be more substantial, but so is the payoff for both your business and the environment.
These ideas aren’t for the environmentally-friendly beginner (however, if you’re just getting started with a green initiative for your business, consider these sustainable workplace tips). At this stage, your company is dedicated to creating an office that employs sustainable business practices beyond the restroom hand dryers.
Advanced Green Business Tips
- Create a company-wide Environmental Management Strategy (EMS) to set and evaluate goals pertaining to environmental performance. Your company’s EMS plan can be tailored to its own unique goals and objectives to improve and measure existing initiatives in addition to identifying other opportunities to make environmental improvements.
- Participate in a recycling electronics program like Recycling for Charities. Offering a chance for employees to recycle old gadgets and technology ensures that electronic waste is handled properly. Recycling for Charities takes civic responsibilities one step further and allows the donor to contribute part of the proceeds to a charity of their choice.
- Replace appliances with energy-efficient equivalents. There’s no need to replace all of your office equipment at one time, but as appliances break, consider swapping them out with a newer, more energy-efficient model.
- Go paperless. This can include internal day-to-day operations, but also invoices and statements sent out to clients. Even human resource paperwork can be digitized these days to prevent a mass of new hire paperwork from sitting idle in a filing cabinet.
- Become a patron of other green companies for your business’s own supplies and services.
- Encourage employees to telecommute. Not only does telecommuting reduce your company’s overall carbon footprint (cutting out vehicle emissions as well as reducing energy usage in the office itself), but it makes for more productive employees, too. Video conferencing and a reliable VoIP service are crucial for ensuring that employees feel seamlessly connected when working from home.
- Build green from the ground up if you can. Not every company is in the position to start from scratch, but if you have the opportunity to design your space with green business practices in mind, you can make a huge impact. The U.S. Green Building Council provides a good starting point for the latest in sustainable building practices. If building a whole new structure isn’t in the cards, consider exchanging the office blinds for those made from a renewable material (among other easier “remodeling” solutions) to improve the environment with less need for a total remodel.
These green business practices aren’t limited to large corporations with a budget to match. The U.S. Small Business Administration has information of a variety of grants and loans available to small businesses looking to go green. They also have additional information on green business practices specifically for small businesses.