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In this era of rampant globalization, competition in the business world continues to grow. To survive and thrive in an increasingly crowded global marketplace, your company not only has to remain lean and strategic, but it must also adapt and respond to the evolving needs and expectations of its customers.
For many businesses, no matter what industry they may operate in, the adoption of sustainable practices is essential both for reducing costs and for accommodating consumer demand. In other words, incorporating sustainable practices into your business model isn’t just good for Mother Earth, it can also be great for your company’s bottom line! But what is the best way to begin embracing sustainability in your business?
Start Small and Be Strategic
When you make the decision to run a sustainable business, it can be tempting to go all-in, diving into the green movement head first. Ultimately, though, this may not be the best idea either for your business or for the environment.
For example, installing solar panels to reduce your energy consumption isn’t going to do much good if you live in an area without ample sunlight year-round. You’ll not only have sunk your precious resources into the retrofit, investing time and money that could better be spent elsewhere, but you may also end up using nearly as much energy as before to keep your operations flowing even when your solar can’t supply your needs.
What this means, ultimately, is that you need to do your research and begin with small, strategic changes that will suit your business, your specific operating environment, and your goals. Even something as simple as switching to LED lights throughout your company can make a big difference in your energy consumption and costs.
Focus on Water Conservation
No matter where your business is located or how much money and resources you have to expend on adopting sustainable practices, making changes to help reduce your company’s water consumption should be at the top of your eco-friendly business agenda.
The good news is that water conservation doesn’t have to be difficult or costly. Installing low-flow faucets and toilets, for instance, can significantly reduce your company’s water consumption without requiring you to blow your operating budget.
Responsibly Dispose of E-Waste
No matter what the size or scope of your business, chances are good that it produces a lot of electronic waste, or e-waste. From old desktops and peripherals to outdated cellphones and tablets, these myriad devices contain a host of materials that can wreak havoc on the environment.
That means that if you want to embrace sustainability in your business practices, then you need to ensure that you’re disposing of your e-waste properly. It won’t be enough to just dump them in the recycling bin as you would other office waste because these devices should not be permitted to degrade in a traditional landfill, nor is incineration a safe option in most cases.
Instead, you’ll want to always take your e-waste to a disposal center specifically dedicated to recycling electronics. Indeed, many of the same materials that pose a substantial environmental hazard when allowed to degrade unmanaged, such as mercury and lead, can be harvested from these old discarded electronics and recycled.
This doesn’t just protect the environment from being contaminated by them, but it also reduces the need to mine these elements for the production of new devices. The result is a further decrease in carbon emissions overall!
Switch to a Hybrid Schedule
Another highly effective way to begin practicing sustainability is to move your employees to a hybrid work schedule. Allowing your employees to work remotely from home on at least one or two days a week will both reduce energy consumption in your office while at the same time eliminating the carbon emissions that would have been produced by your employees’ commute to the office.
In addition, when your staff works remotely, they’re also likely to produce less waste. They may eat their lunch at home, for instance, rather than ordering food served in paper wrappers and containers. Or they may consume less paper, since most documents will be transmitted electronically. These are small changes that can add up to big benefits for the environment, your company, and your business budget.
Educate Your Employees
Every business owner knows that your greatest power is in your people, so one of the best ways to embrace sustainability is by educating your employees. Conduct training seminars on topics like conservation and reducing the carbon footprint. You can even institute a recycling program in your office, allowing you to combine education with action.
Adopting sustainable practices in your business isn’t just an environmentally-sound thing to do. It also makes good business sense. With a few simple changes, you can create a sustainable business model that’s good for the earth, your brand, and your bottom line.