In today's global business world, "green" is becoming a higher priority topic. The environment affects us all, and businesses seen as doing the "right" things when it comes to sensible environmental and ecological decisions are going to get increasingly more positive attention from both customers and the media for their efforts.
March 2007 saw a hearing by the Senate Small Business Committee on what the government was doing to encourage small businesses to become more environment-friendly and lower greenhouse gas emissions. Senators said the government wasn't doing enough and they should do more to promote awareness of energy efficiency in small businesses.
Customers who realize your commitment to protecting the environment and recognize the efforts you are making are likely the customers who will prove loyal and stay with you, even if times get tough. Your customers will appreciate you more, and the eyes of the business world will take notice if your efforts help make a difference regarding environmental concerns.
Going "green" will also save you money, if not in the short term, then in the long term. For example, you can install fluorescent lighting and notice an almost immediate difference in your company's electric bill. You can change your thermostat to run at a lower setting, or higher setting, depending on the time of year, when your office is unoccupied. By altering your thermostat in this manner, you should see tremendous savings in your heating and cooling bills.
Some Green Solutions
Try using e-mail as much as possible, instead of sending faxes or letters. This effort will save on paper costs. Offices, as a general rule, use an outrageous amount of paper on a daily basis. You can also choose to institute a recycling program at your business.
When buying office equipment (copiers, printers, fax machines, etc.), try, when possible, to purchase appliances with an Energy Star. The inclusion of an Energy Star means that product has been approved for energy-efficient use by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). These energy-rated appliances will also save you money over the long term. Consider also that a laptop computer is more energy-efficient than a desktop computer and is also portable so you always take it with you.
Most utility companies will be happy to perform an energy audit for your business and provide you with more tips as to how you can better control the environment of your business and save money.
If you need to purchase a company vehicle, consider a Hybrid model. You might benefit from any tax incentives associated with the purchase of a fuel-efficient Hybrid.
Changes to your business environment that make it more earth-friendly can be newsworthy events. If appropriate, you can emphasize those changes in a press release. You can also list them on your website to draw attention to your environmental achievements. Most of the environmental changes you can make to your business will save you money, as well as stress the importance you place on the responsibility of being a caretaker of the environment.
Going "green" is a smart business decision every way you look at it--it's a win-win situation.