As a society, we pay more and more attention to the environmental impact we make and how this might affect future generations. For the health of the planet and all of our children and their children, everybody should pitch in to make the world a little more livable and a little less polluted.
As a business owner, you can do your share in a number of ways from changing the materials used in production or distribution to building a company culture that values conservation and environmental consciousness.
Use Biodegradable Materials
Man-made materials like Styrofoam and plastic can take thousands of years to degrade. Plastic waste in the oceans is already a huge threat to the long-term sustainability of those ecosystems, so reducing your contribution to the floating plastic epidemic is a great start to making your business more sustainable.
As an alternative to plastics, consider using natural materials that can be reused. For example, if your business is a restaurant, you might want to replace plastic forks and knives with utensils made of bamboo.
Create a Recycling Program
Get your employees and partners involved in a recycling program. To add incentive, create a companywide competition with a prize offered to the winning team. This could be additional vacation days or a bonus.
Studies have shown that collective efforts to reduce material use at the consumer level can stop hundreds of thousands of tons of trash from going to landfills each year. Involving your employees creates a real sense of responsibility in the outcome.
Carbon offsets are plans to incentivize companies and individuals to make up for carbon emissions by investing in projects around the globe that “offset” those emissions. For example, offsets your company might purchase could go toward building windmills, solar panel stations, recycling or tree-planting projects. These efforts are calculated in renewable energy certificates, or RECs. Each of them represents one megawatt hour (MWh) of energy generated from a clean, renewable source. Make sure you obtain RECs to prove renewable energy usage at your business.
Source Materials Locally
Transportation of goods for businesses releases a huge amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere each year. Trucks, trains and airplanes fly raw materials to manufacturers, who then send goods to retailers. Much of the environmental impact involving moving goods can be reduced or eliminated by simply purchasing locally (which has benefits for your local economy as well). You may also reduce shipping costs and lead times by sourcing locally. Even if local sourcing is more expensive, the reduction in lead times can dramatically improve your production line.
When you implement these four strategies, you’ll notice a significant decrease in your environmental footprint. Your conscientious efforts can help make a better world for everyone.
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