Take a Step Towards Social Responsibility
Opening up the conversation about environmentally-friendly initiatives can, and should be carried onto the business world. As more and more conscious millennials and younger generations saturate corporate America, companies are learning they have to innovate their operations in order to sustain their business. Lucky for them, adopting these green business initiatives can only bring more customer retention and profitability in the long-run. We’ve rounded up 7 ways your business can “greenify” itself and position itself as a socially conscious business.
1. New Business Cards Made Out of Old Stuff
It is not a new concept that exposure is everything in business. As a marketing and communications professional, I know just how valuable each individual marketing touch point (such as business cards) can be. With that being said, we also can’t continue to use one of our most valuable resources on the planet: TREES.
Insert MOO, an online print and supply company that has a line of business cards made out of cotton paper. These cards are made out of old t-shirts, fighting both deforestation due to paper and the harmful effects of clothing on the environment.
Side note: Did you know that the Amazon Rainforest fires are
STILL happening? The news may have stopped covering it,
but fires are still blazing. Here is a site where you can learn
more and/or donate.
2. Sustainable Snackin’
Company culture is everything in an office and what better way to fuel morale than with brain fuel! By switching to ethically sourced coffee, you are helping to ensure workers and farmers around the world are getting paid fair wages and the production of your coffee isn’t harming the environment — simply by switching the brand. Try our favorite, Allegro Coffee!
While you’re making that switch, enact some other changes like introducing plant-based snacks in the office. Why use dairy creamer (which accounts for 60% of greenhouse gases) when you can use delicious alternatives like Oatly instead?
3. Zero-Tolerance for Single Use
Create a company-wide, zero-tolerance policy for single-use! With the vast arrangement of cute reusable bags, collapsable straws, bamboo utensils and other eco-friendly swaps; there is really no excuse for single-use items in your daily life. If your office is supplied with a small kitchen, there really is no need for plastic at all. Eliminate plastic bottles with a water filter, stock up the office with a set of cutlery, plates and cups to ensure everyone can enjoy a snack or two. A fun option is to consider stocking up on a set of mugs with your company’s logo on it—I remember loving these mugs at my old office!
By making this zero-tolerance “rule”, more employees will be inclined to remember their to-go mug before leaving home! Some of my favorite reusable items are from STRW, a San Diego-based company started by “surf-preneurs” trying to combat plastic waste.
4. Energy Costs More than the Price Tag at the End of the Month
I remember growing up and hearing my parents tell me I was “wasting electricity” when I’d leave the TV or a light on. At the time this was more so in reference to the money being wasted on an electricity bill — not the environmental impact.
Shockingly (pun intended), Electric utilities are tied with transportation as the largest contributor to greenhouse gases in America. Cutting down energy use is easy! Turn your devices’ brightness down to 70%, unsubscribe from junk emails, power off your computers and unplug your chargers before leaving the office for the day.
Consider adding a motion-sensor to your lights in the office, ensuring no energy is
wasted when nobody is in the room.
Additionally, make the proactive move of investing in LED lights throughout your office to decrease your energy usage and your monthly bill!
5. Plant Trees by Not Using Google
Don’t you wish you could help the planet without having to put in any extra effort? Wish Granted! Think of all the random things you’ve ever searched on google since your first google search ever… unfathomable right? Now imagine if all those searches were freshly planted trees.
Ecosia is a search engine that uses their profits from advertisements to fund projects that plant trees around the world. Replace the google app on your phone with Ecosia and change your default home page on your computer to start saving the planet. I’ve planted 509 trees since switching!
6. Responsible Recreation
Education is going to be your most effective tool in creating environmental impact within your company. If you are educating your employees as to WHY you are making these changes, their efforts in enacting them are going to be much stronger.
Company outings and events that promote environmentalism and social consciousness in conjunction with incentives will boost pride in the workplace. A few ideas for fun events would be:
Company Beach Cleanup - Get your team out of the office early for a company outing to educate about coastal waste
Office Clothing Swap - The clothing industry is a huge contributor of emissions and unfair child labor. Host a clothing swap for a fun “anti-shopping” experience and then donate the rest to Goodwill for a tax write off!
Re-Gift White Elephant - Instead of placing a limit on the price of the gift, challenge employees to exchange gifts with items they already own. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.
Transportation and commute is also an element of business that most owners overlook. Think about every single working American getting into their car in the morning and driving to work—many of them traveling very similar destinations. That’s a lot of emissions in the air just to save an extra 15 minutes on the road.
If just 2 or 3 of those workers began carpooling together, riding a bike to work, or taking public transportation; they would be collectively reducing their emissions. This behavioral change can make a huge difference in our environment!
Communicating this to your employees, or better—giving them incentives to do these—can reduce your business’ environmental impact. For example, Patagonia’s Drive Less program gives employees a monetary incentive for walking, biking, carpooling, or taking public transportation to work. Each employee can earn up to $500 per year!
Sources: VegNews, United States Environmental Protection Agency,
Honest Grounds, The Guardian, Patagonia, Earth