How to Become an Eco-Friendly Business
When we discuss business sustainability, we often mean things like cash flow, growth forecasting, recruitment, and investment strategies. However, becoming an eco-friendly business should also be near the top of your agenda, as industries prioritise environmental, as well as financial, stability. It’s harder than ever to grow without being green, due to a range of moral, legal, staffing, and consumer demands. Crucially, you can’t be a business at all if climate change renders the planet uninhabitable. Learning more about how to become an eco-friendly business helps you protect your finances and your environment while welcoming a healthy green future.
Why Become an Eco-Friendly Business?
As citizens of the world, we all have a duty to protect the planet and leave it as we found it for future generations. Plenty of people around the world need our help to combat environmental collapse, and businesses can make a massive impact on our fate. One hundred companies produce 71% of the earth’s greenhouse gasses, so one company’s decision to become an eco-friendly business can change the world forever. Beyond that, doing right by the planet brings a whole raft of productive benefits, making green decision-making thoroughly worthwhile.
Ten Ways to Become an Eco-Friendly Business
1. Audit Your Eco-Friendliness
The best ways to become an eco-friendly business involve finding where you’re already strong and where else you can improve. Look at what goes in and out of your business and learn more about the environmental impact therein. Think about hidden emissions in your supply chain and how your team travels to work. An analytical tool like Excel can turn your footprint into the first step on your sustainability journey.
2. Invest in Eco-Friendly Goods
Whether they sell products or services, all companies use goods in their day-to-day business. Each of those goods comes with an ecological impact, and reducing that impact helps turn your firm into an eco-friendly business. Reduce the environmental impact of office essentials such as pens and paper by using recycled or sustainable options. Better still, turn your business into a paper-free zone by making your systems digital.
3. Match Your Goods With Sustainable Services
Similarly, every service your business invests in uses valuable resources, financially and ecologically. Electricity production, for example, creates a quarter of the world’s greenhouse gases, so reducing usage and switching to an eco-friendly provider goes a long way. Consider options like motion-sensor lights, switching off equipment at night, or even installing solar panels or small turbines at your office. The same goes for all your utilities and your other services, be they physical or digital.
4. Make Your Bricks and Mortar Greener
Industrial areas aren’t typically the greenest, whether your workplace is a coal power plant or an office block. However, a few simple steps help you do your bit to protect the planet. If you’re refurbishing your office, consider using recycled building materials like eco-bricks or effective natural insulation. Let light flow through your workspace to reduce the need for natural light, and create green spaces. Trees, flowers, and living walls absorb emissions and release oxygen, aerating your workspace and supporting productive focus and strong morale. Your actual bricks and mortar don’t have to be green, but it helps if your garden is.
5. Embrace Eco-Friendly Hybrid Working
Transportation creates 27% of greenhouse gas emissions, the only economic sector higher than electricity. If your employees must come to a physical location to work, then consider promoting eco-friendly transport to reduce your footprint. Cycling and EV allowances act as great incentives and can even help you win over new recruits when you’re hiring.
However, successive lockdowns showed us that businesses keep running even when their employees can’t come in every day. Many businesses even increase productivity when they embrace remote and hybrid working arrangements. WFH lets your business decrease transportation emissions by eliminating them altogether. Implementing cloud-based time and attendance software helps support your employees, expand your talent pool, and thrive as an eco-friendly business.
6. Develop a Greener Partnership Networks
Partnership programs offer amazing ways to share skills and client pools while growing as a business. However, if you’re trying to become an eco-friendly business, you’ll need to understand your partner’s green credentials as well as your own. You’ll undermine your new solar panel project and your ecological WFH scheme if you partner with a super-polluter. However, if you work together with your extended network, you can make even more of an impact on your footprints as a partnership.
7. Decrease Your Office Waste
Once you’re checking everything that comes into the office stays eco-friendly, it’s worth checking what leaves it as well. Mountains of plastic leaving your door isn’t a great look for an eco-friendly business nor a half-eaten banquet of wasted food. Office waste is only office waste if you waste it, so reduce, reuse, and recycle to keep your footprint in check. For example, turning office waste into compost helps your new green space grow, and switching to recyclable or biodegradable packing protects the environment too.
8. Brand Your Eco-Friendly Business Packaging
On the topic of eco-friendly packaging, maybe it’s time to make your own. Switching your merchandise from plastic to metal keeps your brand in people’s hands for longer. Handing out business cards in sustainable forested or recycled paper helps your eco-friendly credentials hit home with prospective clients.
9. Support Environmental Causes and Organisations
Many businesses donate a percentage of their revenue to charity; some even offer paid charity days to all employees. Directing this work to environmentally-focused organisations helps you stay on track to hit your eco-friendly business goals while keeping the planet sustainable.
10. Foster a Company-Wide Ecological Ethos
Company policies thrive when they’re lateral as well as top-down, so opening a conversation with your colleagues helps you boost morale, stay ecological, and even generate more ideas about how to become an eco-friendly business. Employees might also feel anxious about various climate crises and environmental chaos, so sharing your priorities supports their well-being and your business.
The Benefits of Being an Eco-Friendly Business
Reducing your footprint often helps you reduce your expenses. For example, reducing your energy consumption cuts down on your electricity bills, and reducing your waste eases the burden of disposal. Investing in eco-friendly business infrastructure like energy-efficient bulbs and cloud-based time and attendance systems also saves you money long-term.
Reducing Environmental Costs
Our reactive approaches to climate change often contribute to the problem itself, whereas a proactive, eco-friendly business takes steps to prevent future cost. If a business near the coast uses a petrol-powered pump to remove water when sea levels rise, they’re making their own problems worse. The same goes for businesses using fossil-fuelled air con or a fleet of gas guzzlers to keep their employees cool in record-breaking heatwaves. By contrast, low-impact business policies help keep your business afloat sustainably.
Customers and Investors Love an Eco-Friendly Business
While this shouldn’t be your first reason for becoming an eco-friendly business, it could significantly impact your bottom line. Studies show that a third of consumers would choose an eco-friendly product over a polluter, and the number increases year on year.
When it comes to environmental businesses, there’s no time like the present. Research is a great place to start, and now’s a great time for action. Become an eco-friendly business, and clients, investors, colleagues, and the planet will thank you for it.