Embracing Sustainability Can Benefit Your Business
Explore tips for going green in the workplace.
Green life, sustainable mutual funds, buying local, the “buy nothing” movement, plastic-free living, eco-fashion, electric vehicles. You’ve seen all the headlines about reducing your impact on the planet. What “green” steps would we want to incorporate into our businesses?
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines sustainability as “creating and maintaining the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.” The overarching idea is to find ways to do business that have a gentler effect on the Earth.
Fortunately, there are a lot. And companies who are tapping into this zeitgeist could enjoy cost savings over time as they lead the way into the future.
Be an energy star
The EPA has a wealth of information on how to make your office more energy-friendly, from lightbulbs to heating and cooling systems through its Energy Star program. High-performing Energy Star buildings can save up to 60 cents a square foot on operations and maintenance as well as 53 cents a square foot on utilities. Something as easy as replacing 50 lightbulbs with 12-watt LEDs can save up to $190 a year. It’s a start, plus they generate less heat so they’re safer and keep your company cooler in the summer.
Recruit a team
Create a “green team” responsible for generating new ideas about ways to reduce energy and save costs. Incentivize creative thinking with lunch and learns from a favorite local vendor, gift cards or even offer a bonus based on how much people participate in green initiatives.
Inside your office, simple desk plants can not only create a Zen and welcoming atmosphere, they also help clean the air. Look for low-water, low-light plants like a pothos that require little maintenance and care. Planting trees is also a great way to reduce CO2 in the air, shade and cool your building, prevent soil erosion and even attract a few birds.
Most office supply vendors now offer more environmentally conscious options for everything from paper products to biodegradable packing tape and printer toner. See if buying in large quantities can reduce the price of switching, or work with operational staff to reduce usage.
Sustainability can encompass so much more than environ- mental factors. Consider other initiatives that contribute positively to your business and your community, like corporate responsibility and governance as well as diversity and inclusion initiatives.
- Consider downloading the Energy Star Small Business workbook to fast-track saving energy
- Talk to your employees about ways they think you could reduce and recycle
- Reach out to vendors to see what their sustainable product offerings look like
Sources: epa.gov; raymondjames.com; energystar.gov; techrepublic.com; arborday.org; Energy Star small business workbook; gep.com; gardeningknowhow.com
Raymond James is not affiliated with any other entity listed herein.