This guest post is by Felicia Baratz-Savage of Eat Breathe Blog.
Green is big for both large, established companies like Volvo and small start-ups. Incorporating green practices and branding initiatives into your marketing and development cycle can reap big rewards with consumers. From switching to green suppliers and greening your office procedures to creating green products and investing in green building, there are lots of ways you can find to help the environment. Start small and work your way up.
Easy Places to Start
Adding green efforts to your workplace can happen inside the office, in the ways that you work, and outside the office, with the products or services that you offer. Implementing these small steps can give you a sense of accomplishment.
- Buy green supplies.
- Upgrade to fuel-efficient company cars, or try hybrids or electric cars.
- Unplug appliances at the end of the day, or when not in use, reducing energy use by 25 percent or more.
- Conserve energy by using energy-efficient lighting and turning it off when not working.
- Conserve water. Use a water bubbler in the office and stop carrying single-serving plastic water bottles.
- Recycle paper, and encourage employees to print less or print double-sided.
- Offer paperless communication to employees and clients.
- Move everything from HR paperwork to payroll to an electronic format, saving time, money and paper.
- Use a green cleaning company to keep your office sparkling and nature happy.
- Develop an environmental business plan that lays out your commitments to sustainability and conservation, steps you have taken and future direction. This can be a valuable marketing tool as well as a roadmap.
As you work through these steps, outreach to employees at all levels, and to the suppliers with whom you do business. Celebrate the milestones of accomplishing each task, even if it seems small. If you pitch your reasons for going green now, you can create buy-in at the early stages that can really motivate change. You’ll also create a greener culture, and can begin to benefit from word-on-the-street buzz about your green transitions.
You should be able to work your way through the initial steps without too much resistance. Some green processes, such as paperless billing, have become commonplace in employees’ personal lives. Next-level steps require a greater investment of time or money up front, but signal to investors and clients that you are serious.
- Build green if you need to remodel, expand or develop a new property. Use existing standards such as Passivhaus or LEED to guide you.
- Replace existing appliances, such as your office refrigerator, with energy-efficient ones.
- Overhaul HVAC systems to become more energy-efficient.
- Replace existing toilets with dual flush models, which help conserve water usage.
- Hold a community workday where your staff helps clean up the community where you work, or hold a battery or electronics recycling drive.
- Serve locally grown and locally prepared food during corporate meals
As you take steps to become greener, communicate your efforts to stakeholders, clients and community partners. Include green news in your newsletter or write a weekly blog posts that highlights sustainability. By communicating practical and helpful information about ecological and sustainable living, you add value to your marketing and communications. You also send the message that sustainability is an important business and personal issue. Even if you’re not as green as you want to be, communicate clearly every step you take and continue to strive toward a green future.
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