3 steps to a more sustainable business

Cleaning up your company can benefit the planet

Green_Sustainable_BusinessSustainability is a buzzword that’s made its way around business circles all across the country. Even the country’s biggest, most established companies have started sustainability reporting or created departments dedicated to greening business practices. But you don’t have to have a multimillion dollar corporation to make an impact on your carbon footprint. Just a few simple modifications to your day-to-day business can help you clean up your company for the good of the planet. Plus, customers tend to look favorably on companies that have sustainable practices, which could launch you ahead of the competition.

1.       Do your research

Almost every industry has its own set of environmental issues. A transportation company, for example, would have to factor in emissions caused by driving. And a small café should think about the environmental impact of harvesting the food it serves. Make sure you research to find the environmental hot topics in your industry, get up to date on climate change and calculate your company’s carbon footprint.

There are dozens, if not hundreds, of carbon footprint calculators on the Web that can help you get an estimate of how much pollution is caused by your business. The most comprehensive calculator will ask for information on your:

  • Direct emissions, also known as Scope 1, which include number of vehicles and onsite combustion, if applicable, for your business.
  • Indirect emissions, or Scope 2, which is caused by electricity consumption.
  • Optional emissions, or Scope 3, which involve shipping, business travel and employee commutes.

2.       Start small

Once you know what you can improve on, make a plan and create goals to improve the eco-friendliness of your business. Regardless of how lofty your goals are, it’s important to start small. You don’t need to overhaul your business overnight in favor of a more eco-friendly office. Instead, start with something easy and manageable, such as implementing energy savings strategies at work. Turn off office lights when they’re not being used and make sure all computers are powered down at the end of the day. These energy saving measures can help lower the energy bill in your office and eliminate some of the carbon emissions caused by your energy consumption.

Another easy, sustainable action is to cut back on waste. You might consider starting a recycling program in your office building. Just place recycling bins near trash receptacles and ask employees to utilize them. Once they are full, take the items to your local recycling center. It’s also a good idea to keep track of how much energy you’ve saved or how much waste you’ve eliminated from the landfill for any future reporting.

3.       Move toward long-term goals

As you make small changes around your office, keep your long-term goals in mind. Engage your employees and even customers for ideas on how to improve the workplace’s sustainability and begin to implement larger strategies.

However, as you continue to progress toward your goals, make sure you evaluate your development at least once a year. An easy way to do this is to voluntarily report your company’s environmental impact to a third party. Many corporations, including Walmart and Nestle, use the Carbon Disclosure Project to keep them on their toes each year. This can help you keep track of where you are today in terms of where you would like to be. If necessary, you can make changes to your plan to help you further your environmental goals.

Tags: Business,Business Intelligence,Corporate Responsibility