The “going green” bandwagon is gaining momentum each year. And there are many reasons to jump on board. In some cases, you may have no choice. Some products must comply with governmental standards or a customer’s green requirements. If your corporate image needs sprucing up, going green is good PR. But the best reason for establishing a green policy for your company is that it is the right thing to do for the future of our environment.
Many large corporations, such as Wal-Mart, have adopted green initiatives. While their efforts are laudable and their good example is inspiring, big business initiatives alone can’t change the environment. Until small businesses adopt green policies of their own, the impact on the environment is negligible. The reason is that the impact of small business in the United States is significant. Small businesses, such as sign shops, screen printers and digital printers, employ over half of the country’s workforce.
Whether you own a business or punch a time card, making green choices can make a difference. Going green is not just limited to the products that we manufacture. It also applies to your practices in your office. Everyone in your company can help reduce your company’s carbon footprint on the environment. Here’s how your business, whether your company is a corporate giant or small shop, can practice environmental stewardship:
Comply with the laws of the land. As part of your green policy, actively research and comply with the governmental regulations that apply to the products that you make and how you make them, as well as those regulations that impact your business operations, such as air permits.
Raw Materials and Supplies. In selecting materials and technologies for your shop, choose products which have a lower impact on the environment, as well as those which are nontoxic or are made from materials which have been recycled.
Turn off the lights. My mother grew up during the Great Depression. She bugged the heck out of me to turn off the lights. Little did she know, that she was way ahead of her time. Reducing energy consumption is good advice, whether at home or at work. Another way to cut consumption and your electric bill is to use the energy-efficient light bulbs. Whether you like the compact fluorescent light bulbs or not, the new bulbs only use about 30% of the amount of energy that convention light bulbs do. Congress had made sure that you have no choice in the matter and has legislated that the conventional incandescent bulb will be phased out in 2012.
Cutting electric usage undeniably helps your pocket book, but it also reduces the amount of coal burned needed to generate that electricity. Can one person really make a difference? If you multiply the conservation measures that you could undertake by 300 million of your fellow citizens, the combined efforts would reduce coal consumption by tens of billions of tons each year.
Shut off your computer. Keeping your computer plugged in, when it’s not in use, wastes hundreds of millions of dollars in wasted energy each year in the U.S. If you’re not working on your computer, it doesn’t need to be running. Turn it off at the end of the day.
Go paperless. Save a tree and go paperless whenever you can. By reducing scrap paper, you reduce the amount of garbage in land fills.
Reduce fuel consumption. Encourage your employees to car pool to help reduce traffic congestion and save gas. You can also reduce fuel consumption, by reducing travel and video conferencing as an alternative.
Low VOCs. In your manufacturing, choose products that have reduced amounts of volatile organic compounds VOCs.
Communicate. If you are pursuing green initiatives at your company, don’t keep it a secret. Make sure that your employees understand that you have a green policy, that you have specific objectives and that you are implementing specific practices to attain your goals. You can also communicate your company policy to your customers, prospects and suppliers on your website, and in your other company communications, such as newsletters, literature and e-mails.
Recycling. Adopt a recycling program for your company.
Landscaping practices. If you have landscaping around your business, make a commitment to reduce the use of fertilizers, pesticides and weed killers, and conserve water by regulating its use to times when watering is an absolute necessity.
This text is an except from Jim Hingst’s blog, “What Does ‘Going Green’ Mean?“