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Five Green Initiatives for Businesses
Energy conservation, carbon footprint, renewable materials – just a few buzzwords you probably associate with green initiatives in business. But how can you transform these eco slogans from just catchy phrases into something that you can implement in your business?
With environmental initiatives making increasing sense in competitive markets, going green can help to reduce bottom-line costs, and simultaneously create customer appeal by promoting your sustainability efforts. Go green with these five initiatives:
Getting to Work
Telecommuting continues to shift how the country works, growing nearly 80 percent between 2005 and 2012, according to GlobalWorkplaceAnalytics.com. While work-life balance is often cited as a key benefit to the work-at-home employee, the green benefits are substantial. Reduced greenhouse gas emissions are obvious, and you may also benefit from reducing heating and air conditioning costs in the office. Not all businesses can support telecommuting, so you can support smart commuting by adding bike racks, organizing car pools or offering public transit incentives.
Lighting at Work
Changing up your office lighting can produce energy bill savings. Consider replacing fluorescent fixtures with LED task lighting at workstations. Compared with fluorescent and incandescent lights, LEDs are much more energy efficient and the bulbs last much longer too, offsetting the higher cost of the bulbs. To save even more energy, you may unplug chronic energy suckers such as cell phone chargers, or plug several into a power bar that can be shut off when not in use. And don't forget to take advantage of power-saving features on computers, printers and copiers.
Healthy at Work
Fueling your employees with the right snacks can pay dividends as well. Small business adviser Marla Tabaka, writing for Inc. Magazine, suggests choosing brain food for meetings. Nuts, organic produce and dark chocolate, are a few good choices that can help employees maintain a mental edge that donuts and heavy sandwiches cannot. A flight or two of stairs can give a burst of energy during the afternoon doldrums, so consider a staircase program to encourage employees to bypass the elevator - you’ll reduce your organization’s carbon footprint, while increasing your employee’s footsteps.
Recycling at Work
The reduce-reuse-recycle mantra has become commonplace – it’s rare to see an office without blue boxes for waste paper – but you can take the idea further. Close the loop on your recycling program by choosing recycled paper. . Carry the waste reduction into your break room by replacing disposable products such as paper towels and plastic cups with cloth towels and porcelain mugs. You may opt for refillable office supplies such as tape dispensers and pens which may save cost and waste compared to disposable versions.
Hydrating at Work
There are other options for hydration rather than the disposable water bottle. Tap water, water coolers or filtration systems can all help hydrate employees while minimizing waste. Offering reusable bottles with your company’s logo or green message can encourage regular hydration while saving money and waste.
References & Resources
- • Entrepreneur: Easy, Affordable Ways to Green Your Business
- • Global Workplace Analytics: Latest Telecommuting Statistics
- • David Suzuki Foundation: Five Easy Ways to Go Green at Work
- • Inc.: 8 Simple Ways to Green Your Business
- • PC World: Eight Easy Ways to Green Your Business
About the Author
Scott Shpak has over 20 years of experience as an operations manager in business, manufacturing and office settings, where he primarily oversaw health and safety procedures and human resources management. His work appears on top publications including Global Post.