Key Ways Businesses Can Adopt Eco-Friendly Practices
Environmental initiatives have become a high priority for businesses in recent years. Although the fight against climate change is a global battle, the day-to-day actions of the average worker can make a big difference. Here are some key ways businesses of any size can adopt eco-friendly practices and lower their carbon footprints.
1. Encourage Green Habits
The best way to make your business more eco-friendly is to encourage green habits. Building strong practices is the key to changing the company culture. Employees should be eager to participate, as 76% of American workers say it’s important for their employers to prioritize sustainable practices and values.
Here are just a few small habits that can slash a business’s energy usage:
- Use the printers sparingly.
- Turn off the lights when you leave the room.
- Unplug electronics when they’re not in use.
- Open the windows instead of blasting the A/C.
- Use power-saving settings on computers such as low brightness and dark mode.
- Start a workplace fitness program so employees can stay active.
This last habit is arguably the most important. A company’s health and wellness surprisingly impacts its carbon footprint. If employees are active instead of sedentary and glued to their computers, energy usage around the office will drop. Workplace morale will also improve, making other green habits more effective.
2. Install Efficient Appliances
Another great way to promote sustainable habits is by installing energy-efficient appliances around the workplace. Equipping employees with these resources will make their daily routines more impactful:
- LED and CFL light bulbs
- Solar phone and laptop chargers
- Non-toxic cleaning products
- EnergyStar-certified printers, copiers and other office equipment
- Smart Technologies such as thermostats, water filters and computer monitors
One product might not make a noticeable difference, but a building full of eco-friendly appliances will significantly dent any business’s energy consumption.
3. Incentivize Eco-Friendly Transportation
The daily commute is a main contributing factor to a company’s carbon footprint. Transportation accounts for about 30% of carbon emissions in developed countries and has played a big role in urban pollution. That’s why businesses must incentivize eco-friendly transportation methods, including walking, cycling and carpooling.
Organizations have long been using carpool incentive programs to slash fuel consumption, so why not do the same for other transportation methods? For example, the state of Vermont recently launched a statewide e-bike incentive program for residents. Businesses can offer a similar program so more employees can start cycling to work.
4. Offer Hybrid Work Opportunities
The rise of hybrid and remote work has also helped enterprises become more eco-friendly. If possible, businesses should offer hybrid work opportunities for positions that don’t always have to be in-person. With only a fraction of the workforce commuting daily, fuel consumption and carbon emissions can drastically decrease.
The same principle should apply to company events. Although in-person events are important for building culture and relationships, they attract 1.5 billion attendees every year and create huge amounts of waste. Virtual events are more sustainable. Companies can easily leverage artificial intelligence to personalize their virtual events and make them more engaging.
5. Switch to Sustainable Packaging
On a global scale, only 9% of plastic waste is recycled while the rest gets incinerated, sent to landfills or ends up in the oceans. Businesses need to address the plastic packaging problem by switching to more sustainable alternatives, such as these materials:
- Recycled paper and cardboard
- Biodegradable packing peanuts
- Corrugated bubble wrap
- Recycled air pillows
- Organic textiles
- Cornstarch packaging
- Mushroom packaging
When hosting events, businesses can also opt for sustainable supplies. Company events attract around 1.5 billion attendees each year. By switching to reusable, plastic-free supplies, companies can cut down on their waste production.
6. Go Paperless
Another effective way businesses can reduce their waste is by going paperless. This is an increasingly digital world and paper has become obsolete in many industries. Here are some simple ways to eliminate paper from your enterprise’s operations:
- Create and enforce a paperless office policy.
- Ditch the paper and pen logbook, and switch to digital documentation.
- Use e-signature software instead of paper to validate contracts and purchases.
- Interact with co-workers through communication apps, such as Slack and GroupMe.
- Replace paper copies with cloud-based storage platforms, such as Google Docs or Microsoft Teams.
Eliminating paper from the workplace won’t happen overnight. It will be a slow transition with some learning curves along the way. Businesses must be patient and give employees time to adjust to new technologies.
Get a Little Greener Every Day
It’s understandable for companies to have a sense of urgency when adopting eco-friendly practices. Climate change is a pressing issue that needs quick addressing, but you can’t get ahead of yourself. Focus on getting a little greener every day. These practices will help you make daily improvements and have a positive long-term impact on the environment.