Can you believe Earth Day 2021 (April 22) is almost here? As the world becomes more conscious of environmental issues, sustainability and eco-friendly practices are on the rise. Learn how your organization can chip in to help protect and heal the environment while simultaneously getting some major benefits.
It’s Business. Why Be Eco-Friendly?
Besides contributing to helping combat climate change and environmental destruction, adopting green policies brings with them several positive impacts to your business. It really is a win-win.
The environment is not only important to more and more businesses, but also to customers of all ages. Nearly 47% of 18-65-year-olds have said they will pay 25% more for a product that is produced sustainably. Pro-environmental initiatives and policies are a huge driver of customer loyalty no matter what business you are.
Demand for more eco-friendly products and practices is growing. Promoting your push to support the environment is a great way to garner interest in prospects and current customers. Simple things like switching to paperless checks and prioritizing eco-friendly initiatives are great for attracting new eco-focused eyes and solidifying brand loyalty. In the same vein, more and more employees are also drawn to greener business practices – so you also attract and retain loyal staff too. But prioritizing green initiatives not only enhances your reputation, it comes with many economic advantages.
Tax Breaks and Government Benefits
Adopting sustainable and eco-friendly policies makes your business eligible for several tax credits and deductions are available. A few examples include:
- Tax credits for using vehicles that meet specific fuel-efficient standards
- Deductions for green building initiatives, like installing energy-efficient lighting
- 30% tax credit for businesses that install, create, and/or finance solar energy devices
But that’s not all. Embracing more sustainable business practices also opens your business up to government grants, subsidies, and financing programs. Organizations like the Small Business Administration (SBA) also offer financial resources to help your company adopt more environmental-friendly technology and processes
Pro-environmental initiatives can minimize several unnecessary costs. Energy-efficient devices help you save on electrical costs, same with water-saving devices – you’re consuming less while conserving revenue. Everything adds up, and very often an investment in green technology, assisted with government credits, pays for itself quickly with the savings you accumulate. combining sustainable business practices with green technology can give you more resources to reinvest in your business.
Ways Your Business Can Be More Eco-Friendly in 2021
People tend to think that eco-friendly initiatives are very difficult and/or expensive to implement, but like new business technology, it’s an investment in your future. But also, it does not have to be that expensive and can even reduce costs while also improving your office. You can also start small and scale up your green initiatives as you go forward. Odds are, you’re already doing some of these eco-friendly practices. Let’s take a look.
Embrace Remote Worklife
Covid-19 forced companies to operate mostly, if not completely, on the Cloud. Instead of missing a step though, several businesses continued working without skipping a beat. In fact, one survey found that people working from home in 2020 were 47% more productive. Simultaneously the environment also gained major benefits including a significant reduction in air pollution due to reduced traffic. London reported a 34% emission reduction during the evening commute time alone!
Additionally, remote work allows your business to consume much less plastic (like for snacks), work materials, water, and electricity! Besides helping the environment, you’re saving significant miscellaneous business costs. But it doesn’t end there either. According to Forbes Magazine, 85% of people would prefer to continue working from home for significant portions of the week in the future. Not only does this boost productivity, but it’s also highly desirable for staff and a great way to attract more talent with this benefit. Even just a few days of working from home is a huge relief for the environment.
Go Green By Using Less Paper
Paper consumption is one of the leading causes of deforestation, with 50% of paper being attributed to harvesting from pristine forested areas. Wood-based products, including paper, contribute to 10% of total deforestation events. On top of this, deforestation makes up 12% of greenhouse gas emissions. With the rise of cloud computing, businesses have an easy opportunity to be more eco-friendly.
Not only is over-using paper devastating to the natural world, it’s also expensive and unnecessary in 2021! Odds are, COVID-19 has made your company pivot to working more online. As you continue this trend, consider upping your use of cloud-based technology while relying less on paper materials. Leveraging the Cloud means you don’t have to print and send reports and invoices. Your team can see this data in real-time online. Another way to reduce paper consumption is by eliminating physical checks in favor of digital checks and accounting. Both dramatically reduce the demand for paper products that contribute to deforestation.
Introduce Energy-Efficient Tech and Practices
If you’re returning to the office, or even operating on half-shifts in the office, you can easily cut down on how much electricity you consume. And, you have multiple options for how to do this ranging in simplicity. If you’re feeling ambitious and looking to invest in significant savings, consider installing LED lights that use 90% less electricity and last up to five times longer. Again, you’re helping the environment and saving on building costs in the long run. Another energy-efficient solution would be to install solar panels for your office, to reduce electricity dependence.
You can also promote the use of hybrid or electric vehicles that reduce gas dependence at the office by installing car chargers. You can also offer other incentive programs to help and encourage staff to transition to more eco-friendly vehicles if they choose.
If you’re not ready for a building project, try to encourage a more energy-conscious work culture. Keep lights off in areas not used, having staff turn off lights when not needed, like when leaving the bathroom. With more daylight, you can also rely on more natural light instead of turning on overheads whenever possible.
You may have a recycling program at your office, or even personally at your house. This is a great eco-friendly measure, but to be more effective, avoid plastic whenever possible. Plastics are very difficult to recycle and only have 3% recycled content. Instead, offer cans in the break room instead of plastics. The aluminum in cans is much easier effective and yields way more results. On average cans have 68% recycled content.
In the same vein, prioritize the use of reusable containers for drinking vessels and materials. This is the best way to eliminate waste and conserve natural resources. This also offers good marketing material. Sending customers branded water bottles, cups, and even bags are a great way to build strong relationships and provide eco-friendly options for others.
Contribute to Planting and Reforestation
As we ease back into more social settings as COVID-19 vaccines are available, you’re probably looking for team activities to do. Why not take the opportunity to plant a company garden or volunteer to plant trees? A tree planting team-building event is fun and cooperative that will help offset pollution while beautifying your workplace. There are many reforestation initiatives you can easily volunteer with. Make an event of it and be sure to take pics for your corporate website and social media channels! Or you can partner with professional tree planting organizations.
Inside the home office or corporate building, growing plants is a great way to purify the building and help combat indoor air pollution. Additionally, office plants help destress staff and remove toxins in the air.
Make a Difference
Odds are, during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, one activity you could still do is go outside and enjoy nature. We all have opportunities to help maintain our environment for years to come, and we are excited and proud to do our part. Join us! Remember, every effort counts. For more eco-friendly ideas, be sure to check out this How to make your business go green article from Nerdwallet.
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