If you operate a small business with just a handful of employees you may wonder what your company and employees can do to be more green. Certainly you do not have the money to purchase carbon offset credits or to design new LEED accredited facilities. You may wonder whether simply recycling your own water bottles is really making a difference. The truth is that small changes add up to big changes, and some great things come in small, inexpensive packages. Let’s look at five ways that you can green your small business, helping to make your business more sustainable while also making the Earth a healthier place.
Remember that Small Matters: Every Little Thing Adds Up You may think that small changes, such as recycling or avoiding excess waste, cannot truly make a difference in either the profit margin of your business or the health of the planet, but really they can. As the saying goes, “A penny saved is a penny earned.” Every little change, no matter how small, adds up – and they can add up incrementally and exponentially. Think about a retirement account, for example. If you put just $200 in a retirement account when you turn 20 years old, then you add only $200 a month and you automatically reinvest all earnings and dividends from that account, by the time you retire you could have nearly two hundred thousand dollars! The small addition of just $200 a month can amount to hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.
The same is true of trash or pollution. One person throwing their cigarette butt on the ground may not seem like much. However, if a single person drops just one butt every day that would be 365 butts littering the ground. What if 100 people did it? There would be a deluge of 36,500 butts around! Multiply times more people and we would all be swimming in cigarette butts. Now, imagine that each person picked up one discarded bit of trash every day. In a year a crew of 5 would pick up nearly 2,000 bits of trash. Again, every bit counts and it adds up. You and your small crew can make a difference in small ways.
Get Noticed with Green Certifications: Free Advertising and More One of the great things about making efforts towards green is that you help the planet and you can also help yourself by getting some great advertising out of it. These certifications do two things for you. First, they give you a new outlet to advertise on as you can be listed in the certification organization’s website or directories. Second, they give you something exciting to say in your own advertising and web efforts when you tout your company’s well earned green certification stamp. There are many small initiatives – such as recycling and planned waste reduction – that your small business can engage in to qualify for certification.
Merge Your Efforts: For Bigger Change (and Cross Promotion) Get Involved with Complimentary Businesses One way that a small business can make a bigger impact is to work with others. Get together with other complimentary businesses in your area and see what you can accomplish as a combined team. You might work together to organize a neighborhood event, volunteer at a local elderly care facility and so much more. You can combine your community oriented green efforts with cross promotions, giving each other access to a wider customer base.
Get Involved: Attend Public Events as a Unit Speaking of working with others, get your employees involved in the community. Many green initiatives are organized by other groups. If you keep your ears open or search a local green certification website you can learn about organized park clean-ups, fundraising walks and recycling drives. Your group can pitch in and help without shouldering the burden of organization.
Make it Seamless When it comes to greening your small business remember to make it seamless. Find small things that you can work into the regular functions of your company, things that are easy and can be done consistently. Work with other businesses and green certifications to amplify your actions and you can make a difference.