While the facts are frightening, there are steps everyone can take to help save the planet, which is why six out of 10 Australian consumers buy organic products.
More companies are listening to their consumer’s demands for more eco-friendly products and services. And many budding entrepreneurs are starting their own eco-friendly business in response to that demand.
There are certain traits of environmentally responsible businesses share. If you’re thinking of becoming more eco-friendly in your business, keep reading.
We’re sharing with you ten traits of environmental business.
1. An Eco-Friendly Business Should Support Charitable Causes
The top 50 Australian companies give $867 million each year to charitable causes. But even if you’re not a large corporation, you can still give back to your community.
Even pledging one penny for every dollar you earn can make a difference. If you don’t feel you can contribute money, you can always have you and your employees donate time.
Find a charitable cause everyone in your company can get behind. Then find ways to give back. Not only will your customers love it, but aligning your business with a cause is also a good marketing strategy.
2. Reduce Reliance on Natural Resources
An environmentally responsible company needs to focus on reducing its reliance on natural resources. If you own your building, you may want to consider putting solar panels on your roof to reduce your dependence on energy.
Find ways to use less paper, so your company uses less wood. Do not purchase raw materials such as palm oil or Amazonian wood which destroys forests.
You can also search for ways to reduce how much water you use. And conserve energy by turning off office lights after hours.
Encourage commuters to take a bus or carpool rather than having each person drive their car to work. It will save on petrol and reduce greenhouse emissions.
3. Use Recycled Products
Invest in buying products made from recycled materials if you want to be an environmentally friendly business. Buying recycled helps reduce waste and pollution.
Recycled products also conserve natural resources and create more jobs. Here’s what to look for when purchasing recycled products:
These are any items used by businesses or consumers which are recyclable.
Pre-Consumer or Post-Industrial Materials
Items generated during manufacturing that aren’t necessary to the product and are considered “waste” materials. These materials, such as paper trimmings at paper mills end up recycled.
Purchasing products with the highest percentage of post-consumer or post-industrial materials help support local recycling collection programs.
Recycled vs. Recyclable
A recycled product consists of recycled materials. A recyclable product is a product that can be collected and recycled at the end of its useful life such as an empty soup can.
While recyclable products are great, they are only beneficial if you recycle them.
4. Reuse Materials
Environmental businesses find ways to reuse their materials. And there are some straightforward and effective ways to reuse materials such as:
- Using both sides of a sheet of paper
- Using ceramic coffee mugs rather than paper or styrofoam
- Buying in bulk
- Getting rid of the K cup machine
- Reuse bindings and folders
- Invest in reusable water bottles
- Shred old documents and use as packing material
- Store manuals and other documents online
- Buy healthy snacks like fruit that have no plastic waste
Get your employees as invested as you are in being environmentally responsible. Ask them to come up with ways to reuse, reduce, and recycle.
The more they feel as though they’re part of the solution, the more likely everyone will quickly adapt.
5. Buy Fairtrade Products
Fairtrade happens when a network of companies, producers, advocates, shoppers, and organisations put the planet and other people first. And there are significant advantages to working with fair trade companies such as:
- Income sustainability
- Environmental stewardship
- Individual and community well-being
Fairtrade ensures that a community’s greatest needs, which are to have clean water, health care, and education. Fairtrade also means that together we all work to prohibit harmful chemicals while taking measures to protect our natural resources.
6. Manufacture Goods in Countries With Stiff Environmental Laws
Unfortunately, Australia is not within the top 10 when it comes to countries with strong environmental democracy laws. But that doesn’t mean your business can’t strive to make things better in your own country and abroad.
If you genuinely want to become environmentally responsible and you require goods or materials sourced or made elsewhere, it’s imperative you work with companies in countries with decent environmental laws.
That’s because those countries with weak environmental democracy laws lack the following:
- Requirements for collecting ecological information
- Monitoring compliance
- Ensuring facilities, factories, and mines don’t harm the planet or its inhabitants
- No policies on developing, managing or protecting forest management
Do your research into a country’s policies before you begin partnering with a company. It’s worth it to understand fully what the environmental impact will be.
7. Invest in Sustainable Packaging
Sustainable packaging is where you can use recycled materials such as PET (polyethene terephthalate) for your products. However, it’s not enough to use sustainable packaging.
The packaging must deliver everything safely and intact while reducing its environmental footprint. That happens through the following:
- Reducing raw materials used
- Using reduced or renewable energy
- Incorporating recycled materials into packaging
- Providing effective end-of-life options for your packages
Doing so helps save energy, raw materials, and landfill space. It also reduces CO2 emissions.
But even more than saving the planet, there are benefits from a marketing standpoint such as:
- Recycling helps you build brand loyalty
- Positively changes current customer perceptions
- Lowers your cost of materials
- Economically friendly
- Helps ensure your business is already in compliance with future legal and regulatory measures
- Reduces your dependency on the price of plastic
Consumers want to know the companies they do business with care about the planet as much as they do. Letting them know you care works well from a PR and marketing standpoint.
8. Switch to Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
There are more eco-friendly products on the market than ever before. And many of them are just as or more effective than their chemical-based counterparts, especially when it comes to cleaning products.
Here are just a few reasons why it makes sense for an environmentally responsible company to invest in eco-friendly cleaning products:
When you combine vinegar with baking soda, it begins to foam. While it looks great, it isn’t harming you.
However, if you combine two chemical-based products such as chlorine and ammonia, you risk a reaction that can cause serious harm to you or others.
Since poisoning is the leading cause of death worldwide, it makes sense to eliminate harmful chemicals in the workplace.
Protects Your Health
Green cleaning products won’t harm you. But it’s not uncommon for people who use chemical-based cleaners to experience the following symptoms:
- Skin Rashes
Also, if you read the label, you’ll see that you recognise most of the ingredients in green cleaners. However, when you purchase the other types of cleaning products you’ll end up with the following:
- Endocrine disrupters
- Volatile organic compounds
These chemicals are harmful and could result in your employees needing more sick days because they’re reacting to the chemicals used in your office.
Most traditional cleaning products only focus on cleaning one type of object. Newer, environmentally friendly cleaning products often perform various cleaning duties.
Also, these products are priced competitively with more harmful brands, so you’re not paying any extra money for better health.
Helps the Environment
Those same toxic chemicals found in conventional cleaning products are also toxic, non-biodegradable, and hazardous to the environment. And many of them are made from non-renewable resources such as petroleum.
As a result, they adversely affect the earth’s eco-systems.
9. Get an Energy Audit Done in Your Office
It’s worth it to have an energy audit performed in your office. That way, you’ll know exactly where you can improve conditions.
An energy audit benefits you in plethora ways such as:
- Lowers utility bills
- Reduces dependence on foreign energy sources
- Reduction of environmental damage and pollution
- Minimises the impact of greenhouse gas emissions
- Increases the security of your energy supply
Also, once you fix the areas where energy is being wasted or leaking, your employees and customers will feel more comfortable since your place of business won’t feel as drafty, etc.
And, when you save on costs, you can improve upon the competitiveness of your company.
10. Encourage Alternative Ways to Commute to Work
One way some companies are going greener is by encouraging alternate ways to commute to work. Doing so helps reduce everyone’s carbon footprint.
Some great solutions are:
- Walk or bike to work
- Offering alternative schedules
- Providing energy efficient vehicles as company cars
You can also give bonuses to employees who commute in a green fashion. You may also want to consider offering bike parking to employees who bike to work so they can park their bike safely nearby.
Encourage Employees to Go Green
If you genuinely want to run an eco-friendly business, it begins with you making some lifestyle changes. Leadership comes from the top so the more you accumulate eco-friendly habits into your home and work life, the more you’ll inspire your employees to do the same.
And there are some easy steps everyone can take to ensure we enjoy this planet for a long time. Click here to learn ten ways you can begin fighting climate change.