5 Easy Tips for Small Business Sustainability

Businesses are concerned about their environmental impact more than ever, as consumers increasingly become aware of environmental issues and concerns. In some sectors, it is extremely valuable for consumers to see that your business is genuinely trying to make efforts to become more “green” and sustainable. Sustainability focuses primarily on reducing waste in all areas. Not only is it beneficial for the environment, but it can also noticeably reduce costs in your business’s day-to-day operations.

Go Paperless

Paper and other waste accumulate unnecessarily on a daily basis. Not only does paper equate to a tremendous waste of environmental resources, but it also takes up a considerable portion of storage space at your facility. The contents of a huge filing cabinet can be easily stored electronically on a single computer or cloud storage service.

As a rule of thumb, if a document or item can be saved electronically, it does not truly need to be printed.  A great example of this is bank or financial statements. If your bank or financial institution offers electronic or online banking, take advantage of this. You can also try to utilize email or other messaging options for a good portion of your communication, keep your schedule on an electronic device or service, or hold virtual meetings. If you are able, try to advertise as much as you can online instead of relying solely on printed promotional items.

Choose Recycled Products

It is understandable that not every business can go completely paperless. However, still try to make sustainable choices whenever possible. For example, if you must buy paper, try to use recycled paper to reduce the number of trees cut down, the chemicals used, the production required, and methane released into the atmosphere. Then, turn around and recycle it again when you are done with it.

Control Electronics

With so many electronic devices available, they can quickly become a drain on electricity even when not being actively used. Laptops, computers, printers, fax machines, etc. can all use a surprising amount of energy. If the device is not needed continuously, consider turning it off when not in use.

Manage Utilities

Utility consumption is the largest adversary to business sustainability, but there are many small steps you can take to reduce your energy consumption. Small changes can make a positive and noticeable impact on the environment as well as on your business finances. The simplest way to make a difference is to turn off lights if a room is not in use. However, in a fast-paced workplace, it may be difficult for your employees to remember to pause before leaving a room. Small steps like notes or reminders can help. Another option is to use automatic lighting sensors to streamline and simplify this.

The most significant portion of your utility bill is accounted for by heating and cooling. By just lowering the temperature a few degrees in colder weather (or raising it a few degrees in warmer weather), you can easily save 10% or more on your utility bills. If it is a possibility for your business, consider trading in your traditional power supply to a renewable one. If going 100%, green is not a possibility for you; you could still consider supplementing your current energy supply with a few environmentally-friendly options – like adding solar panels.

It can also be a smart business decision to invest in green technology development. Recent studies show that 90% of consumers are likely to use brands, products, or services that support a good cause if they are of a similar price and quality. Your efforts to run a sustainable business not only reduces your utility bills, but it can also be a means to build your company’s reputation, public image, and customer loyalty.

Involve Your Team

Make sure your efforts to run a more sustainable business does not create problems for your staff. The only way to truly make a difference is to include all your employees – make it a team effort. Try to incorporate sustainable practices in your office environment like using recycled paper products, encouraging the use of refillable food containers, putting up small reminders to recycle, and providing washable plates and silverware instead of disposable.

If every business implemented just a few of these ideas, it could result in a considerable difference made on the environment – and their bottom line. Be smart about it – examine your business and reduce waste.

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