As an eco-entrepreneur, protecting our environment is an important part of my life and my business -- I guess you could say that in my world, every day is Earth Day! Even if you are an entrepreneur that doesn't quite have as much passion for the planet as I do, going green still makes good business sense. Why? Companies that are intentional about incorporating earth-friendly practices are more likely to save money, increase staff productivity and improve their overall relationship with customers and communities.
So, what are you waiting for? As we celebrate Earth Day this month, I wanted to share some tips for how even the smallest of companies can make some eco-friendly changes that will not only benefit the planet, but will benefit your bottom line.
Know How Much You Use
According to an article in Inc. magazine, companies need to know how "ungreen" they really are before they can begin to be more green. Checkout the EPA's Energy Star program that offers tools to help you gauge your energy and water use.
Switch Your Paper
While it would be wonderful to live in a paperless world, I have yet to find an office that doesn't use any paper at all. When paper is needed, fill your office with post-consumer waste (PCW) paper options. PCW is made entirely from the paper put in recycling bins and uses less energy and creates less waste during the papermaking process.
Put Your Computers to Sleep
According to the EPA website, simply putting your computer to sleep can save $10 - $50 per computer each year. Encourage employees to make sure their computers are "sleeping" when not in use.
Replace Your Lights
Yes, there is often a higher price tag on your compact-fluorescent (CFL) or LED light selections but they not only last longer than standard incandescent bulbs, they use less energy--making them overall a better financial decision. Want to know how much you will save? Use this handy calculator from Energy Star.
Encourage Green Transportation
Have employees spend at least one day participating in more eco-friendly transportation options such as biking or walking to work. In addition, set up a company carpool program where employees work together to decrease the amount of cars on the road each day.
Earth Day should just be the start of your green business efforts. Use it as a time to inspire your employees to incorporate more eco-friendly practices inside and outside of your company. Consider hosting a green living contest where team members are challenged to come up with new ways your company can save money and increase overall productivity by going green. This type of initiative is a win-win-win for everyone, including our planet. Happy Earth Month!
This blogger graduated from Goldman Sachs' 10,000 Small Businesses program. Goldman Sachs is a partner of the What Is Working: Small Businesses section.