Updated on May 7th, 2019
You’ve already 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 already dedicated to creating an office that employs sustainable business practices beyond the restroom hand dryers.
7 Advanced Going Green Strategies
The seven green business tips below will help your organization make a real difference:
- Create an Environmental Management Strategy
- Participate in electronics recycling
- Replace appliances with energy-efficient equivalents
- Go paperless
- Support other green companies
- Encourage employees to telecommute
- Build green from the ground up
We’ll dig into each of these strategies below and cover how you can implement them for your business.
1. Create a company-wide Environmental Management Strategy (EMS)
An Environmental Management System (EMS) is a set of processes and practices that enable an organization to reduce its environmental impacts and increase its operating efficiency.
With an EMS plan, your organization can set and evaluate goals pertaining to its environmental performance.
The EPA provides a framework for running your EMS plan that’s based on the Plan-Do-Check-Act Methodology of the ISO 14001 Standard.
First, your organization should commit to a policy for environmental improvement, a broad goal to be achieved. Second, you should identify areas where your organization impacts the environment and begin planning the ways you can improve. Third, an organization begins implementation, including employee training, documentation, and setting up communication lines. Fourth, the evaluation stage is where the organization monitors its efforts to see if the goals are being met. Finally, management reviews the evaluation to establish changes that need to be made moving forward.
2. Participate in an electronics recycling program
Programs like Recycling for Charities offer a chance for employees to recycle old gadgets and technology, ensuring 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.
3. 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. One great certification to look for is Energy Star, which is a government-backed symbol for efficiency.
4. 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.
Not only does going paperless help the environment, it also saves money! Organizations spend an average of $80 per employee on paper, and an astronomical 50-70% of office space is used simply for filing documents.
5. Become a patron of other green companies
When your team is evaluating new vendors for your business’s own supplies and services, consider adding points for companies that are focused on creating a positive environmental impact.
Even better, consider patronizing Benefit Corporations (“B-Corps”). These 2,700+ companies across 150 industries are all committed to benefiting society as part of their bottom line. Each B-Corp organization is given a B Score every year, which measures their impact in various areas including governance, workers, environment, and the community. It’s no coincidence that BetterWorld is established as a B-Corp to provide our white glove telecom services!
6. Encourage employees to telecommute
Telecommuting — working from home — is a powerful going green strategy that you might not have thought of. According to one study,
The telecommuting policies of Dell, Aetna and Xerox cumulatively saved 95,294 metric tons of greenhouse gas emissions, which is the equivalent of taking 20,000 passenger vehicles off of the road.
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.
7. Build green from the ground up
Structure your business to be green from the get-go, 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 going green strategies 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.