Large corporations as well as small businesses are becoming more and more inclined to 'go green', in the face of imminent environmental catastrophe (okay, maybe not imminent, but you understand the sentiment). This reflects well on key stakeholders like customers, who are starting to put a greater value on environmentally friendly products and corporate tactics, as well as shareholders who obviously place great value on a strong bottom line. How can going green increase a bottom line, while also making a conscious effort to befriend the environment you may ask? I wondered the same thing, until Forbes put out this list of '10 Ways to Green Your Business and Save Money'.
While saving money is attractive for corporate structures, 'greenifying' is important to fellow environmentalists like myself as well as the everyday conscious consumer, so why not do both.
1. Switch to post-consumer waste (PCW) this refers to paper products and packaging and suggests that when paper products are necessary for your business or consumer uses, opt for an eco-friendly paper product. These include official PWC recycled papers (vs the traditional, unregulated 'recycled' products).
2. Use biodegradable cleaners. An intuitive way of reducing toxic chemical build-up in the environment is to trade in the harsh soaps, detergents or shampoos in favour of greener, more environmentally gentle products. This can include avoiding microbeads in things like face-washes.
3. Green Your Beauty Routine. Again on the microbeads, switching to a more eco-friendly face-cleanser or body wash sans tiny-toxic-beads often costs less than the more environmentally detrimental options.
4. Compact-flourescent (CFL) or LED lights. Investing in CFL and LED bulbs may be slightly more pricy initially, however the long-term cost benefits certainly outweigh the original investment (not to mention the ego benefits, as they require far less energy). Forbes even provides a cost calculator to weigh the benefits.
5. Replace outdated appliances with greener versions. Like the lightbulbs, a slightly higher short-term ticket price on green appliances can save you big in the long-term. Check with your appliance retailer for energy-efficient models with long term economic and evironmental interests. Quality is key here.
6. Get an energy audit and make simple changes around your office and house. Forbes mentions something as simple as sealing leaks and cracks in your home can cut up to 20% of heating and cooling costs over the year! Looking into upgrading to double-paned windows is another idea for energy efficiency. Check out options for at-home energy audits in your area.
7. Power your office with alternative energy. If possible where you reside and work, looking into purchasing 'green power' (from renewable energy sources: solar, wind, hydro, plant) is a fantastic way to reduce your corporate footprint.
8. Use public transportation drive an alternative fuel or hybrid vehicles, or bike. This is one you probably already knew, but it's worth stating. Any and all of these methods will not only save you big money, but will further reduce your carbon output (and biking is always good for getting in shape)!
9. Recycle outside the box. Hopefully you're already recycling at work as well as home. This can be extended even further to bigger items like furniture, much of which can be purchased second-hand for cheap via Craigslist or similar sites.
10. Utilize green web hosting. This is maybe one that you haven't heard before, but it refers to hosting companies that engage in environmentally-friendly behaviours. This can include regular volunteer commitments, purchasing carbon offsets, planting trees or utilizing renwable energy. On top of these benefits, most green companies cost the same or less than companies using servers running on traditional fossil fuels.