As we head deeper into the 21st century, the threats facing humanity are changing. Since the end of the Cold War, the risk of nuclear annihilation appears to have subsided, but it’s given way to a new issue: climate change.
Many researchers believe that climate change and environmental degradation pose a severe threat to standards of living. The economy rests on the ecology. If we don’t protect it, we’re in trouble.
Why your small business should consider going “green?”
Economists call adverse effects that businesses have on the environment “externalities.” The cost of the pollution billowing out of a steelworks doesn’t fall on the owners but the people living nearby. The costs are, therefore, in a sense, “external.”
Traditionally, economists believed that there was no incentive for companies, like the aforementioned steelworks, to clean up their act. The fact that people in the surrounding community were bearing the brunt of the costs from its production was neither here nor there. Management didn’t care.
But the current threats facing the environment are so severe that individual businesses are starting to perk up and take notice. Many companies are beginning to understand that they need to be stewards of the natural world even if it costs them money. If they don’t, they’ll regret it. No small business wants to live in a world where environmental degradation impoverishes its customers so much that they can’t afford to buy its products. What happens to the environment matters.
Ways To Go Green As A Small Business
In the past, the notion of “going green” was considered anathema to business interests. Green initiatives were expensive and uneconomical. The only reason that a business would engage in such folly was to appease regulators or gain positive publicity. The business case was lacking.
Today, though, things are radically different. Many of the things that make a company green make it more profitable too. Going green often lowers overheads and improves efficiency. Green-tech can even reduce the risks that a company faces and insurance premiums. It’s a sort of miracle.
Check out the following ways to help make your small business go green.
Stop Using Paper
While paper is renewable, it still has an enormous impact on the environment. Logging companies that collect raw materials for paper production use vast quantities of fossil fuels to transport wood products to processing facilities. Manufacturers then use yet more energy to transform the wood into paper before finally sending it out to market on gas-guzzling trucks. At every stage, vast quantities of CO2 are released into the atmosphere.
Worse still, paper usually only has a short lifetime. Within a year or two, your business no longer needs it and send it to landfill – disaster.
Paperless offices, however, are becoming more feasible. Businesses that operate these kinds of policies rely on digital tools to replace the need for paper. Companies use the cloud and document management software to provide all of the functionality that they need in cyberspace. Most small businesses can cut their paper consumption by 90 per cent or more.
Convert Your Office To Make It More Environmentally Friendly
Office, just like homes, consume vast amounts of energy. When architects designed much of the modern office stock, climate change wasn’t a significant issue on the agenda. Most offices were as cheap as they could be and weren’t built with basic energy-saving features.
As a small business, there are many things that you can do to make your office greener. Take a look at the following:
- Use energy-efficient desktop and laptop computers (both AMD and Intel make energy-saving processors)
- Start planting trees in and around your office, and include plants inside to improve air quality
- Don’t use throwaway plastic cups – insist that staff use glasses and mugs
- Recycle any paper or ink cartridges that you use
- Swap out older lightbulbs for energy-saving LEDs
Again, many of these interventions will help make your company more profitable. The less you spend on disposable cups, the more you’ll have leftover for staff bonuses, product development and shareholders.
Back-Up Data In The Cloud
If like most companies you rely heavily on data, you probably already have a backup and recovery plan in operation. You regularly take all your data, save it to a hard drive, and then store it away somewhere in the company vaults.
The problem with this approach is that it’s not particularly environmentally friendly. All those HDDs and servers you need onsite take up a lot of resources. It’s often much better to use a cloud provider. Not only are they cheaper, safer and more efficient, but they cut your resource use too. Data storage and backup companies automatically back up your data and store it in multiple servers across the world, making it easy to retrieve, should you lose all local data stored at the office.
Start A Cycle-To-Work Scheme
A cycle-to-work scheme might not be the sexiest way to make your business greener, but the more people who commute by pedal power alone, the less CO2 they emit.
There are all kinds of ways that you can encourage employees to use their bicycles. One of the things you could do is offer your team a cycle scheme which allows them to save at least 25% on their bicycle and accessories.
Switch To An Eco-Friendly Webhost
The biggest drain on the world’s electricity supply isn’t TVs or microwave cookers: it’s server farms. The world relies on massive data centres for everything, from processing CRM output to providing web platforms.
One of our goals here at NetWeaver is to reduce the amount of energy that web hosting services use. The less power companies use to host their websites, the lower their costs and the more money it has leftover for all the other stuff it wants to do.
Plant trees and offset carbon emissions
Organisations, such as the fantastic Offset Earth, offer affordable ways to make your business carbon positive. By investing in tree planting and funding climate schemes you can cancel out the effect of the carbon emissions you cannot yet prevent. You can view our progress with Offset Earth here.
So, there you have it: ways that you can make your business greener that will actually help your bottom line.