Today, the 22nd of April 2015, marks the observance of Earth Day. The annual event places special importance on the preservation of natural resources for future generations. Earth Day’s message increasingly focuses on the ways that businesses the world over can improve their efficiency and decrease environmentally related operating costs through simple revisions to policy and practice while also doing something good for our planet.
The marketing appeal of a “green business” has arguably never been more significant or appealing to many consumers, but looking beyond the spin, what can your small business really do to make a positive impact on the environment today and throughout the year?
- Start with the Community. The sentiment that consumers ought to “buy local” extends out to business owners as well. Can you source inventory from suppliers that use economical methods, or cut down on the distance that goods need to be transported using cars and trucks? Get your coffee from a local roaster rather than a big supermarket – and maybe negotiate a deal in the process? This strategy has the additional benefit of helping your business form stronger interpersonal relationships and even possible promotional partnerships with others in the area.
- Find Opportunities with Technology – such as paperless/email solutions to receipts, task management, payroll and accounting. The Merchant Blog has explored solutions like these, many of which operate at low cost, in numerous previous posts.
- Get Creative With Your Equipment – not everything in your business needs to be purchased new (with the accompanying packaging and other detrimental environmental effectors.) You can find things like office supplies, furniture, computing equipment, and other necessities on services like Craigslist that allow you to save a bit of money as well. Do you know other small business owners who are renovating, resizing or restructuring? Reach out to them and see what you might be able to find.
- Encourage Foot Traffic – location is, of course, one of the prime considerations for any brick and mortar business that wants to bring people through its doors. Consider how they are getting there! Do most of your customers drive to reach you? What about your employees? What can you do to promote the use of low-impact transportation that gets people in touch with your business?
- Turn the Lights Out – in Vancouver, the night sky glows with the lights from office towers and businesses that stay on day-in and day-out. Manage your heating and light according to the season, and try to install efficient upgrades like LED bulbs and better insulation. These modifications are relatively small efforts that will save you money in the long run on some of the costs that go into running your business.
Think about these ideas (and others!) today, and put them in practice the whole year round. Your business’ bottom line may benefit, but so will the planet we share.