Having a sustainable business is vital to protecting our environment. If you are a business owner, there are things you can do to make your company more sustainable. Here at Eco Green Equipment, we take pride in our industry-leading recycling equipment and sustainability practices. Keep reading to find out what some other business owners and professionals are doing to make their companies more sustainable.
As each business has its unique characteristics, the steps one company takes will differ from those taken by another. From my point of view, remote work is a step toward making businesses more sustainable.
As more work gets done online, the necessity for people to spend time in an office is decreasing. As a result, people spend less time stuck in traffic, and companies save money by not paying for office space, lighting, and heating to keep employees comfortable.
Using Eco-Friendly Packaging
Eco-friendly packaging is the best way to make your business more sustainable. In the U.S., packing and containers alone contribute to more than 23 percent of the material reaching landfills. You can lower your brand’s pollution contribution by transforming how you package your products.
If your packing consists of two different polymers, the material can’t be recycled, and hence, it’s not an eco-friendly method. Instead, stick to one type of material for packaging.
Go with biodegradable packaging. [You can] exchange single-use containers for materials, such as mycelium, corn starch, seaweed, and wood pulp, which can be broken down quickly.
Keeping Things Local
Our business is completely done in the U.S. By keeping every detail of our company American, from our headquarters to our manufacturing, to our materials and our workers, we can reduce our carbon footprint.
Ocean shipping is a big contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so we’ve eliminated that by producing our products right here in the U.S. We also have more control over our business.
We can personally implement sustainable practices in our factory and oversee them ourselves. Lastly, we offer multiple sustainable and respectful ways for our customers to dispose of our flags once they’re done with them.
Environmentally Friendly Practices
We have gone to great lengths to integrate more environmentally friendly practices into our company processes. Here are a few things I’ve implemented to make my company more sustainable:
1. Less Paperwork
I try to minimize the usage of paperwork when engaging with my workers and customers. I switched to online billing and paperwork because it is a win-win situation for everyone. We save all documents online, and all communication takes place via email.
2. Limited Commutes
Now and then, employees are given the option to work from home to cut down on fossil fuel pollution and reduce my company’s overall carbon footprint.
3. Encouraging and Incentivizing Employees
I encourage my employees to adopt environmentally friendly habits by incentivizing and rewarding them. Bike to work days, zero-waste days, and bring your lunch days are small initiatives implemented every week.
4. Limiting Direct Mail
I think mailers are pricey and outdated, and they eventually end up in the garbage. As a result, I’ve shifted my promotions to the digital realm and social media, where they’ll receive significantly more traction.
Sustainability is not something that happens by accident; it must be intentionally designed. Considering the lifecycle of your product is important, starting with your raw materials, production methods, packaging, distribution, and end of life.
I started our business to bring broader cultural representation to the wine world. We celebrate the traditions and flavors of the tropical world, such as palm wine. From day one, we focused on making not only the best product possible but also exploring sustainable sourcing raw materials that would reduce the environmental impact of production.
Initially, this looked like investigating non-destructive cultivation techniques and leveraging land that would not contribute to deforestation before embracing design as a way to eliminate the need for palm plantations.
Another large consideration is the impact of international shipping. The bunker fuel that cargo ships use for power is quite dirty and significantly contributes to greenhouse gas emissions. We focus on procurement and production that would limit or eliminate the need for international shipping.
The glass packaging [for wine] is conveniently recyclable. However, we also want to ensure that our shipping materials leverage non-virgin sources and are also compostable or recyclable.
Digital Business Cards
We’re seeing more and more business owners abandon traditional paper business cards in favor of digital business cards. The smart virtual business cards quietly cut an organization’s carbon footprint while giving team members more ways to share who they are and what they do.
That eco-friendly benefit is multiplied when you consider that all of the contacts your digital business cards make can be integrated into your existing CRM system. You can also download your card’s QR code to add wherever you like, your website, social presentations, conference call backgrounds, and more.
Your new contacts don’t need to have any app installed to share their details back with you, so they don’t need paper cards either! Adopting digital business cards sends a powerful message about the sustainable values of your business and will help influence others to make the same environmentally conscious choice.
Reduced Electricity and Paper Usage
Sustainability isn’t only important as a business owner, but it is valued by our employees and customers too.
As part of our sustainable operations, we have greatly reduced our electricity usage over recent years by installing an intelligent lighting system in our offices. Of course, during the pandemic, the offices were in very minimal use, so consideration was needed for other sustainability options.
Interestingly, the pandemic has brought to light that a number of our employees don’t need to be physically present in our offices. Longer-term, there’s a good chance we will be able to down-size to smaller offices.
Productivity has improved, due to reduced commuting for our teams, amongst other things. Of course, reduced commuting nationally and internationally has already impacted the environment.
Our offices now are almost entirely paper-free – where possible, everything is completed electronically, using email rather than the postal system to communicate.
Make a Conscious Effort
One of the major changes we made to become more sustainable was to make a conscious effort toward recycling.
We took an inventory of the waste that was created by the company and the type of material thrown away. Then we researched and linked with a local recycler who placed recycling bins all around the office to collect the waste.
We made a switch to LED lightning. The level of energy used by incandescent or halogen bulbs is four times that of an LED one. I decided to make this switch within our organization.This activity took minimum effort and monetary resources.
Swapping the bulbs helped us save money in the long run with our electricity bills as well as reduced energy usage over time and fewer replacements for lightbulbs required.
We partnered with suppliers who were local and sustainable. The benefit of sourcing local goods is a great initiative to augment an organization’s environmental impact. This initiative avails the resources present in the local community, and it supports communities.
As a company that focuses on being eco-friendly, we aim to execute all services with nature in mind. To reduce our footprint, we use eco-friendly detergents and electric-based machines and are always trying our best to shorten the travel distances between the employees and customers.
We also found that a minute-long phone call equals 57g of CO2. Because of that, we developed our website and built the GoFantastic mobile app, not just to make it easier to book our services but to reduce phone calls as well.
We plan to take the next step forward with our way of transportation, and we plan to use only electric vehicles in the future to reduce pollution.
Remote Meetings and Sustainable Products
It’s important to save fuel by switching to online meetings or even fully remote working. We conduct remote meetings with employees in the UK spread across Suffolk, Norfolk, and Scotland, plus our sales and manufacturing team, who can be anywhere in the world.
Our head office in Suffolk is a converted building with no plumbing. This gave us the unique opportunity to choose compost toilets, also known as dry toilets. This water-free toilet only needs a toilet paper roll and wood shavings. The walkway to the bathroom is lit with solar-powered lights, as well.
And finally, our product itself is a sustainable solar-powered water pump to help off-grid farmers switch from fossil fuels to renewables.
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