With very little effort you can turn your company into a lean, green machine
SMALL businesses do not have to make grandiose gestures to show their "green" commitment and make an impact on their carbon footprint.
The ability to state that sustainability is part of your business strategy can require only small efforts by you and your staff.
Also, even though you might not immediately notice the lessening of the environmental impact, you can notice it in your finances.
Depending on your business situation, you may want to start off with a "green team."
This would be a few (or just one) employees who show an interest in reducing your carbon footprint. It will make them feel part of the process and get creativity flowing -- always positive for a growing business.
1. Change your light bulbs to energy efficient types. These are readily available in most home improvement stores, need to be changed much less often, and may provide tax benefits.
2. Encourage your employees to use less hot water.
3. Plant a tree. Even a small plant will provide shade to cut your energy costs.
4. Dress in layers so that you can lower your thermostat in the winter and raise it in the summer.
5. Walk more, drive less.
6. Cut the use of paper by increasing whatever tasks you can accomplish electronically. For instance, you can fax online to rid yourself of unit, electricity, phone line and supplies.
7. Rubbish on the ground near your office? Pick it up and drop it in the bin.
8. Make sure your tyres are inflated properly so your car is driving efficiently.
9. Unplug or leave off electronics, printers, and lights when not in use.
10. Put out recycle bins in easily accessible places.
11. Find ways to reuse everything you can.
12. Start a shared music library for employees to share mp3 and CDs, books, magazines.
13. Use thermal carafes and stainless steel water bottles to cut out coffee cups and plastic water bottles.
14. Use less packing material or reuse other materials.
15. Go wireless to lessen employee commuting and in-person meetings.
16. Have your insulation in windows and doors inspected to ensure they are properly sealed.
17. Join green business organisations and suggest greener alternatives to customers.
All of these tips can be applied to your home as well as the office. Remember, lead by example and talk up your efforts whenever you have a willing audience.
Take baby steps and try one or two tips to start until everyone is comfortable with the changes.
The perception of your business will be one that's progressive and proactive, and will encourage morale and personnel opportunities.
Keep your environment open, honest, and encourage laughter. The health will spread.
Being green is an attitude that's become part of our culture, both socially and corporate. It isn't just preferred... it's expected.
Tara Dalrymple is the founder and managing director of Busy Lizzie and was a finalist in Midlands and West of Ireland Regional LiveWIRE Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award