10 Traits of an Eco-Friendly Business

Myriad studies show that 97% of all researchers believe global warming is happening. Those same researchers all agree these alarming climate changes are most likely due to human activity.

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:

Post-Consumer Materials

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:

  • Empowerment
  • 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:

  • Sneezing
  • Skin Rashes
  • Coughing
  • Headaches

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:

  • Carcinogens
  • Mutagens
  • Teratogens
  • Endocrine disrupters
  • Neurotoxins
  • 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.

Saves Money

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
  • Telecommuting
  • Providing energy efficient vehicles as company cars
  • Videoconferencing

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.

Renewable Energy News: Xcel Energy Becomes First Major Utility 100% Committed to Green Energy

On Tuesday, December 11, Xcel Energy announced the company would go 100 per cent green. This announcement comes after the decision that Xcel Energy is reducing its carbon emissions 60 per cent by the year 2026 and 80 per cent by 2030.

Xcel Energy is Colorado’s largest utility company and serves seven other states as well. The company’s commitment to a carbon-neutral future is a light in the darkness, coming out of the American government’s seeming indifference to the profit potential of renewable energy. Americans in the eight states served by Xcel can breathe a little easier, at least knowing that their utility company is right-minded.

In this edition of Renewable Energy News, read about how the major US utility Xcel Energy plans to go 100 per cent green by the year 2050.

Renewable Energy News: Major US Utility Xcel Energy Goes 100% Green

Xcel Energy calls Minneapolis, Minnesota home. The utility holdings company has over 3 million electric and nearly 2 million gas customers in the eight states that it serves. Xcel Energy operates subsidiary utility companies in New Mexico, Texas, Colorado, South Dakota, North Dakota, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Michigan.

The announcement by Xcel Energy to deliver 100 per cent clean energy is the first declaration of its kind in the country. No other US utility has made as lofty a goal, but many have gotten onboard the renewable-energy train.

The Indiana utility NIPSCO is closing down coal plants faster than expected to set up renewable energy plants. Another Midwest frontrunner, Midwest Utility MidAmerican, says that by 2020 it will deliver 100 per cent renewables energy.

Utility companies across the Midwest are making the transition to renewable energy, for several reasons. To begin with, the midwest of the United States has less coal and gas resources than the coasts and the southern United States. But, the biggest reason is financial.

What’s the Difference Between ‘Green’ and ‘Renewable’ Energy?

Energy is a big umbrella. Underneath the central ‘Energy’ umbrella, sits conventional energy and renewable energy. Green energy is a subset of renewables and sits under the renewable energy umbrella.

Green power is the best kind of energy production for the environment. It is best for reducing carbon emissions and carries a zero-carbon footprint. According to the EPA, green energy is harnessed from geothermal, solar, wind, biogas, biomass, and low-impact hydroelectric sources.

Renewable power is that which comes from the energy that naturally restores itself over some time. These include the wind, water, sun, and heat from the core of the earth.

Some renewable energy sources can carry an environmental impact that makes them less than 100 per cent green. For example, large hydroelectric dams and tidal energy machines affect the oceans plant and animal life. Dams change the migratory patterns of marine life and clear out the surrounding wildlife that relies on the waterways for sustenance.

The difference between renewable and green energy is small. It distinguishes renewables that are zero-impact from renewables that have a slight or moderate impact.

Proponents of nuclear energy make an argument for the clean and renewable nature of nuclear fission plants. Nuclear plants, however, are not carbon neutral. You must mine the earth to build the plant, store radioactive material for an extended period, and run the risk of a nuclear meltdown.

You can make an argument for nuclear as a renewable but not a green energy source. Green energy includes anything that has a zero-impact on the environment.

How is Power Generated Currently?

Power is electricity. The power grid of the United States provides accessible power to homes and buildings, produced by electricity generators. For a generator to create electricity, the generator must spin a turbine which produces an electrical current.

The electricity produced by the generators spinning of a turbine can be expended immediately, or, stored in a battery for later use. The standard method of making the generator turbine spin is steam heat.

Heat is the crux that brings you back to fuel. Utilities burn fossil fuel to heat water, which creates steam and rises to spin the generator’s turbine producing electricity.

Cars are one of the classic burners of fossil fuels, but electric car sales are rising. And the US government recently launched an incentive program for buying electric.

None of this, however, has changed Washington’s stance on the global climate change outlook. The White House seems happy to increase coal production tenfold.

The simple process of spinning the turbine with steam is a necessity that brought the world to its current dependency on fossil fuels.

So, when thinking of how best to solve an energy crisis, we must look for methods of spinning the turbine that is just as effective yet environmentally, socially, and economically responsible.

So far, making the generators turbine spin has put the world in a bottomless pit of problems. But Xcel Energy’s announcement on Tuesday stands as proof that the resources and technology to create zero-emission power is not only available but cheaper than ever.

Why are Utilities Going Green?

Coal is expensive to mine, both in time and human labour. Despite the Trump administration’s stance on bringing back coal, most American utility companies are looking for a cleaner, cheaper source of power to spin the generator turbine.

In the United States, 2019 will see the lowest coal production for nearly 40 years.

Utilities are shifting away from coal, oil, and natural gas in favour of renewables.
A report from the Lizard Investment Bank shows that the cost of utility energy production is cheaper with renewables than coal. Even if the United States government shuns that facts, at least the utility owners can read the writing on the wall.

The cost to produce energy from renewables is steadily decreasing year over year. That has led many US states to deregulate electricity programs to offer more renewable incentives.

For a utility company, green power is a triple-win. A customer that gets green energy is paying a little more to make up for the infrastructural costs, but they are happy to do so to do their part for the environment. It also means that they are less likely to leave for a cheaper service since the customer has invested in their green energy.

What’s in it for Xcel Energy?

Xcel Energy is one of the largest utilities in the United States. The company operates in New Mexico, Colorado, Wisconsin, and Michigan-all four of which just put a Democrat in as Governor.

Xcel already has been leading the industry on cutting emissions, and it sees an opportunity to get a stronghold while the getting’s good.

Customers in Colorado are demanding renewable energy, and customers everywhere are demanding lower rates. Public opinion, mixed with cost savings allows Xcel to expand into new area’s and buy up little utilities.

Renewables are accessible for the Western United States where oil, coal, and water are all in short supply. Politicians in these states find a stronghold base of support, contingent on the help of the state for green energy. This trend is working its way East, into Colorado, Michigan, and more.

Xcel receives cheaper renewable bids than coal, and renewables are rivalling the price of natural gas. So much so, that when Colorado cities, like Denver and Breckenridge cried-out for renewables, Xcel energy made a change.

The Power of the People

Sure-if you demand an unattainable thing, you won’t get it. But, when a lot of customers unilaterally tell a company what they want, the company is inclined to listen and change.

It is true: Seaworld no longer takes in killer whales. Circuses all over the United States are no longer using elephants in shows, and Armani doesn’t use real animal fur in their kids’ clothing anymore.

And, when customers say to their utilities, we want renewables, the company listens. How you spend your dollar, where, and for what is the most democratically important right you have.

America might not have a federal policy regarding global climate change and cutting carbon emissions, but Americans do. Xcel Energy sees a leadership opportunity where federal leadership is coming up short.

It is to the advantage of the American electorate to support utilities, like Excel Energy, that commit to a zero-carbon footprint. Companies that move forward the public realisation of the immediacy of climate change and the long-term process to rectify such are true American patriots.

Not to mention, the more support Xcel Energy has amongst the electorate, the more political leverage they possess in Washington. So, it makes sense that Xcel will use the increase in revenue and decreased production costs to expand the companies reach.

Final Thoughts

Utility companies make their money from a rate-of-return on energy infrastructure investments. The mining of coal and natural gas offers little, to no return on their investment. Green energy, on the other hand, provides infrastructural investment return on everything.

Xcel Energy is the first to make such an overarching commitment to the wellbeing of the world, but it certainly will not be the last.

If you like reading renewable energy news, share this article with a friend on social media. And subscribe to the newsletter for all the most recent posts about an all-electric future. Thanks for reading!

10 Ways Australia Can Start Aggressively Fighting Climate Change

The world needs to come together in a global effort to avert the worse scenario of global warming, which would result in severe droughts, floods, extreme heat, and poverty.

According to the United Nations, the world has 12 years to limit the impacts of Climate Change significantly.

As one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Australia has an important role to play in fighting climate change over the next decade.

The good news is that many of the tools to make climate change progress already exist.

So let’s check out the ten ways Australia can start to fight against global warming in the years ahead aggressively.

1. Introduce a Carbon Tax

Over 70 per cent of the carbon emissions since the 1980s is due to the activities of one hundred fossil fuel companies.

What incentive do such companies have to change course?

Currently, there is absolutely no financial cost of producing carbon emissions. That’s why the Australian government, along with the other world’s major economies, needs to introduce a carbon tax. A carbon tax would provide companies with an incentive to switch to renewable energy.

Although Australia previously introduced a “carbon tax” in 2011, this was subsequently killed by the incoming Abbott government in 2014, according to the Guardian.

2. Greater Subsidies for Renewable Energy

Renewable energy sources, particularly solar energy, is becoming increasingly affordable and competitive. As a result, the Prime Minister has touted pulling the current subsidies for renewable energy.

If Australia is going to play an integral role in the fight against climate change, this is the wrong course of action. Therefore, more significant subsidies for renewable energy would result in a greater incentive for investments in clean energy.

3. Give up Dependence on Coal

Currently, Australia remains one of the most coal-dependent countries in the world. Australia needs to go cold turkey on its addiction to the black stuff.

According to experts, coal is not only one of the most significant contributors to climate change, but it’s also damaging to human health and the wider environment.

Australia’s allies, such as Germany and the United Kingdom, have already made commitments to end coal over the next decade.

By contrast, the government has continued to back coal power stations recently. Again, this continues to show that the government denies the evidence of global warming.

The announcements that the government considers coal as the backbone of the energy system of Australia in the coming years suggests this is not good news for those concerned by the impacts of global warming.

4. Power Everything via Electricity

One of the most cost-effective ways to make climate change progress is to electrify everything.

Move away from oil heater and gas stoves and make everything electric. As the overall source of energy is primarily renewable, our energy system will be cleaner.

Furthermore, this also includes replacing fuel-driven cars with electric cars. Since in Australia, two-thirds of people drive to work, this could have a significant impact on the carbon emissions generated by the country as a whole.

How can we achieve this?

It’s a matter of more funding from the government, in the form of incentives. Plus, penalties for those unprepared to switch to electricity.

That’s because approximately half of the people in Australia are prepared to switch to e-vehicles. However, according to a survey, they are concerned about price and infrastructure.

If the so-called inevitable rise of electric vehicles is going to occur, the government has to encourage people to move to low-carbon vehicles.

5. Research and Development

Even though many of the tools for fighting climate change are available to us, there are probably many more uninvented technological solutions.

That’s why it’s important that the Australian government starts to increase the amount of money spent on research and development in the struggle against global warming.

According to experts, even the money currently spent is often not effectively commercialised.

The federal government has set aside $10 billion annual spendings for innovations in climate change solutions. However, it is yet to be seen whether this money will be used.

6. End Production of Fossil-Fueled Transport

Australia continues to lag behind other developed countries in reducing the transport which runs on fossil fuels.

Nearly 20 per cent of the carbon emissions in Australia is generated by transportation. Furthermore, as a large and sparse country, many Australians travel on domestic flights.

However, Australia needs to show the way by switching from a transport system fueled by fossil fuels to one driven by low-carbon and electric vehicles.

7. Halt Deforestation

According to reports, Australia is currently in a “full-blown land-clearing crisis“. By the year 2030, over 3 million hectares in the East of Australia will face deforestation. 

Forests play a significant role in fighting climate change. They serve as a “carbon sink” by keeping carbon in the ground and out of the atmosphere.

However, around the world, as well as in Australia, trees continue to be bulldozed to make way for agricultural land, and other damaging property uses.

Destroying forests causes more significant forest fires, extreme droughts and contributes even more global warming.

Australia has an important responsibility in maintaining the biodiversity on the planet. Nearly 8 per cent of plant and animal life in the world exists in Australia. Additionally, 85 per cent of animal and plant life in Australia is unique to here.

The Australian government needs to introduce a “zero deforestation” policy which bans the cutting down of trees to successfully fight climate change.

8. Encourage Reduced Meat Consumption

According to the United Nations, the reduction of the consumption of meat and dairy products is essential to fighting climate change.

According to the United Nations, animal agriculture accounts for nearly 40 per cent of global land use while this represents 20 per cent of the global emissions.

Australia is one of the biggest consumers of meat in the world. We eat over three times the global average of meat consumption.

Over the past decades, Australians have increasingly moved away from eating beef towards the eating of chickens. At the same time, Australia is the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world.

The Australian government needs to encourage people to reduce the amount of meat and dairy products they consume; achievable through a “meat tax”.

However, it seems more likely that the government could merely inform people about the benefits of a plant-based diet. But at the end of the day, this is also up to people who care about what’s happening to the planet.

9. Remove Carbon from the Atmosphere

Most of the solutions to fighting climate change are reflected by the need to adapt or mitigate climate change.

However, an increasing number of people are placing their faith in the removal of carbon emissions from the atmosphere.

The technology is known as CDR (carbon dioxide removal) or CCS (carbon capture and storage). It’s only in the early stages, so it requires a lot more investment and research.

Although until recently the Australian government was investing $460 million in research and development with CCS, this has since been heavily cut. These cuts are another sign that the government is unwilling to do what it takes to tackle climate change.

10. Eliminate Food Waste

Currently, Australians throw away up to $8 billion worth of food annually. That’s an incredible 20 per cent of food purchased in the supermarket.

Many of the problems of global warming are related to the production and consumption of food. However, if we’re throwing so much of it away, something has to change at both ends of the supply chain.

However, the Australian government is showing signs that they’re waking up to the damage of food waste. In 2018, Australia became the first country in the world to announce a commitment to reduce food waste by half by 2030.

This commitment has been combined with $1.2 million investment to support charities and organisations which campaign to reduce food waste.

Hopefully, this results in the kind of changes that the government wants to see in the next few years.

Fighting Climate Change

Climate change is the biggest threat humanity has ever faced.

As one of the most powerful and wealthy countries in the world, the Australian government has to fight climate change at every stage.

Now it’s your turn to decide what you need to do to contribute to fighting climate change. There are many things you can do to assist in reducing your carbon footprint.

Have you considered replacing your polluting vehicle with a low-carbon, electric vehicle? Check out our electric vehicles web page today to see what we have available.