Image by: StockMonkeys.com
By Josie Alexander
Green is a powerful color that represents both the environment and monetary wealth. These days the term “going green” could be referring to both of those things. While browsing an article on the reasons why a company should be more ecofriendly, I happened upon this statistic:
“Four out of five of the small businesses that [EcoVentures International and the Association for Enterprise Opportunity] surveyed say offering green products and services gives them a leg up on their rivals.”
Small businesses have their own niche in small communities. Going green adds to their appeal as most big businesses often have a stigma of being environmentally insensitive. Being from Washington State, I am often reminded of my community’s environmentally friendly nature. We recycle. We reuse. We pick up garbage. It’s seen all around the community. When we see that a small business is doing the same thing, it helps us build a connection with it.
So how can you turn your small business a shade greener? Okay, so the title of this post is a bit pretentious. I don’t have fifty ways but I do have a handful for you to start with:
#1) Encourage Smarter Commuting.
Encourage your employees to carpool or offer showers (if you can) if they want to run or ride their bike into work. It’s a workout on your way to work. How can you say no to that?
#2) Cut Down on Paper Use.
Cutting down is really the key component to going green. Just like eating healthy, going green is all about moderation and not indulging too much. Cutting down on paper use is a great example of that. The paper you do use and discard can be recycled (or possibly reused) but when you can, try to limit the unnecessary paper usage.
#3) Eliminate Energy Vampires
Energy costs are increasing and so cutting down on the various energy draining devices around the office will also cut down on your electricity bill.
#4) Go local
Support your local farm because by doing so you help them renew the environment (for example, “cover crops” help keep soil fertile), the plants help capture carbon emissions, the farmland helps house various animals, and it will be less likely for farmers to sell to developers if their business is thriving.
#5) Mess with the Thermostat
Turning the thermostat down just a couple of notches will help your electric bill tremendously (especially if you have a big building to heat or cool).
#6) A Shade Cooler
Speaking of temperature, if you turn your water heater down to 120 degrees, you can trim your electric bill by 10 percent.
#7) Company Baseball Game or Company Park Pick-up
Baseball games and picnics are often activities that are held in order to help a company build a closer relationship with its employees. In addition to the annual baseball game, why not try to do a Park Pick-up? Dress up (or down) into some work clothes and spend some time at the local park, taking in the fresh air and cleaning up some of the trash?
#8) Dine and Dash
Use the dishwasher in the kitchen. I’ve worked in places where there wasn’t a dishwasher and we had to wash all of our dishes by hand. It wasn’t a big deal but in reality, dishwashers clean better and use less water. So rinse off your dishes and place them in the dishwasher. Run the dishwasher at the end of the day and put them away in the morning.
Want to take it one step further?
Join Green Plus. Green Plus is a program that helps educate small businesses in ways that they can become more energy and environmentally friendly. What’s better, they are also a recognition program. How will their endorsement benefit you?
Earth911.com states that women have a tendency to be greener than men. They also state that, “women make more eco-purchases.” So if you are in a business that markets more toward women, it would be beneficial for you to publicize your business’ greenish hue.
If you’re not in a business that directly markets toward women, think about this statistic: Women make at least 75 percent of home purchase decisions. That means home appliances and services as well.
If you want to talk more general merchandise, an article titled Marketing to Women states that women make:
“85% of all consumer purchases, including 94% of home furnishings, 91% of houses, 89% of new bank accounts, and 80% of healthcare spending. Women buy not only for themselves but for their families and their businesses.”
In other words, generally speaking, 85% of shoppers would rather shop from an eco-friendly company or business.