Buying energy efficient lightbulbs and bringing more plants indoors is not enough to transform your business into a more eco-friendly one. You can reduce your carbon-footprint if you re-examine your work strategies, and you adopt new solutions like remote work, cloud-based computing, and paperless operations.
Why should companies go green? The U.N’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a statement informing people that if the global warming continues at the same level, in no more than 20 years the planet will experience disastrous fires and floods that are very likely to destroy the world as we know it today.
When running a small business people have the misconception that their actions are not very harmful to the environment, but the fact is that every minor change can reduce the impact the human kind has on the planet. The way you work has the greatest impact, so reducing your business’ carbon footprint can be the first step in making your company more eco-friendly.
What benefits would you have if you are running an eco-forward business?
If you need an extra reason, besides that you can save the planet, then here is how your business will benefit if it’s greener. It’s widely known that the businesses that make green efforts save money. If you will be less reliant on paper, equipment and other similar resources, you will reduce some of your operational costs. It also means that you can be more mobile and you can easily adapt to the changing needs of the industry. And if you consider the state tax incentives, you can make further savings if you cut carbon emissions.
The moment your business will be more eco-forward it will open to new clients and partners. Gen Z-ers and Millennials are eco-concerned generations and the only way to attract and retain them as clients is to share their values. Multiple studies have shown that younger customers prefer the companies that take sustainability seriously.
Strategies you should adopt to become greener
Implement cloud-based computing
Your best chance to have a positive impact on climate change is to use the cloud. Cloud providers are experts in reducing the influence of IT businesses on the planet and in reducing emissions through tech innovations and eco-friendly data centres. Green awareness has started to grow among businesses from multiple industries, and in the near future more than 80% of companies worldwide will embrace the cloud.
If you rely on underutilized IT equipment like servers and hardware to perform your operations, you should know that they are the greatest factors that lead to energy consumption. Most of the times, the onsite equipment is overprovisioned, so if it applies to your business you probably have your office crowded with underused and inefficient hardware. The simplest solution to reducing maintenance and energy consumption costs is to implement cloud-based technology.
Replacing the typical desktop computers with hosted clients can dramatically cut the carbon emissions and energy consumption. If you no longer rely on your costly hardware and you start collaborating with a cloud provider, you cut a large amount of carbon emissions.
Use sustainable raw materials
If you are producing goods, you should switch to using green raw materials. You should base your manufacturing decisions on sustainability principles. When designing a certain product or service you should consider its environmental impact at all stages in the life cycle, from the raw materials used to create the product, to how it will affect the planet once it will no longer be used. More and more companies have started to plan the manufacturing process from a sustainability point of view.
For example if you are manufacturing smartphones, you are analysing your clients’ behaviour for more than a year to understand what they need. You should take it a step further and understand the impact your products have once they are disposed. If you create them to be easy to recycle, you use a mixture of eco-friendly materials it, will have a minimum impact on the environment.
Another example focuses on the companies that are building roads. They want to cut down the negative impact the materials they use to build roads have on the environment. Their Gravesend recycling strategy relies on using sustainable products. They have started to collaborate with centres that provide recycled aggregates, fill materials and soils.
Use green cleaning products
All businesses are purchasing products to clean their office premises, or they are hiring third-party cleaning providers to handle the job for them. No matter what solution you prefer, you should make sure that the products used to clean your office building are green. Many cleaning products available on the market are releasing harmful chemicals into the environment and are negatively influencing the surroundings. Check if they were tested to affect the planet neutrally.
Use teleconference when possible
Off-site meetings can easily be replaced with teleconference. You can use programs like Google Hangouts or Skype to stay in touch with your partners and employees. Rather than spending time on the road travelling to and from your office, you can use one of the above tools to hold your meetings. It will improve your productivity and will reduce your carbon footprint.
Go remote if possible
Telepresence and remote working are effective strategies for cutting carbon emissions. Studies show that fewer work hours can boost your employees’ morale and happiness, and lower the greenhouse gas emissions. In addition, it will also help you save money because you will not have to rent an office space or pay for energy and other resources. Not to mention that it offers you the possibility to access a new world of talent.
Some of the largest companies in the world have seen sustainability-based success when they adopted this strategy. They have started to encourage their employees to work remotely. For example, many insurance providers have around 40% of their employees working from home.
If you want to contribute to a more eco-friendly world, attract more customers and stay competitive on the market, you should do an effort to reduce your carbon footprints. Adopting technology based-strategies can help you save money, reduce waste and emissions, and align your brand with your customers’ values.