A hot-button topic in the global community lately is climate change. While many people are trying to make a better environmental impact individually, big businesses use more resources and leave a much larger carbon footprint. The biggest difference humanity can make for the environment is by cleaning up our businesses. This process is more lucrative than some may realize. A survey conducted in 2014 found fifty-five percent of consumers are willing to pay more for products and services from environmentally-friendly companies. Another study in 2013 found seventy-one percent of Americans consider the environment in their shopping, up from sixty-six percent in 2008. Both communities and individuals care about the planet and businesses have to strive to meet customer wants. Here are some ways to begin a larger transition to become an environmentally-friendly business:
Recycle Materials and Electronics
For companies who work in construction or home repair, merely destroying materials and tossing them in a landfill isn’t doing anyone good. Habitat for Humanity and other charitable organizations use these materials for homes for the less fortunate while keeping our landfills shallow. In fact, Habitat for Humanity alone keeps thousands of tons in materials out of landfills and uses proceeds to fund construction for low-income housing. Electronics are a little more technical to recycle but not impossible. According to the Electronics TakeBack Coalition, only twenty-seven percent of the over two million tons of electronic waste is recycled in America annually. Manufacturers such as Dell and HP take old technology and give back trade-in credit. Retailers such as BestBuy and Staples also have programs for trading in old electronics. Simply throwing out these old devices prevents the second-hand use or even salvaging the parts.
Reduce Water Usage
The past few years have been the driest on record in western North America. Drought conditions are becoming commonplace rather than drastic occurrences. To help with the on-going crisis, water usage was cut back in many municipalities, but businesses use far more water than the average family. Without cutting back on products, there are some things big businesses can do to help. The biggest waste of water comes in the form of leaking pipes. Most owners don’t even know they have leaking pipes, so getting a thorough check of a building can save water and money on future bills. Professional plumbers are willing to offer advice on how to reduce a business’ water footprint, so taking their opinions into consideration is a massive leap forward.
Reduce Building Emissions
A large business takes up a lot of space, and these big buildings are often harmful to the environment. According to the Environmental and Energy Study Institute, or EESI, American buildings account for thirty-nine percent of carbon dioxide emissions, with the figure being about thirty percent globally. High-efficiency building construction, such as super insulation and triple-pane windows, can reduce energy use by eighty to ninety percent. The materials used for the building matter just as much as the construction process and energy consumption. For example, electrostatic painting can eliminate volatile organic compounds, or VOC’s, hazardous pollutants, or HAP’s, and solvents found in other painting processes. The paint will look brand new for years to come.
Switch to the Cloud
Going paperless is the first step reducing clutter and your carbon footprint at the same time. However, with modern technology, companies can go a step further in consolidating their data. When traveling, employees can still go paperless by accessing everything they need via their device with the cloud. Cloud servers eliminate expensive, energy consuming servers used by individual computers for processing information. All of the company’s important files and information are in the same place so everyone can access what they need securely. Even printing files aren’t required because everything is so readily accessible.
The materials and goods a business uses don’t always have to come from overseas. Sometimes, the very same items are local. Finding goods and services which are supplied sustainably can reduce a business’ carbon footprint and help out the community. Giving back to the community is often the first step in giving back worldwide. Some business’ like to have a procurement policy for their purchased goods. One of the many good tips to keep in mind is to buy products which don’t contain toxic materials or ozone-depleting substances. You’ll want materials you can recycle or products already made from reusable resources. There’s no need for excessive packages, and you’ll want your products to last by making sure they’re repairable.
Helping Others to Help Yourself
Consumers want to help the environment, and many are willing to go the extra mile to make a difference in their daily lives. Many of those consumers will only buy from brands with their ideologies in mind. Before your competitions get in on this market, start by doing the right thing for the planet and help the environment. Your customers will thank you.