Luckily for the planet and our own wellbeing, it seems we, as a society, have finally caught on to some of the damage we’re causing the Earth, and are trying to do our best to at least keep the greenhouse effect in check. As we become increasingly conscious of how each one of us can help, the way we live our lives is slowly shifting. What this means for your startup is straightforward: you are more likely to win over new customers and hold on to your existing ones if you go green.
Let’s explore why this is the case, and how you can become more eco-conscious.
Going the Extra Mile
Going green is usually more complicated than not. Certainly, it’s simpler to just continue burning fuels, using an abundance of paper and plastic, and generally sticking to the way we’re used to doing things.
This is precisely why customers value companies who do choose to take the more challenging route and change the way they work. In fact, some customers are 13% more likely to opt for a more expensive but eco-friendly product. This is especially true of Millennial consumers, who are much more mindful and conscious of the impact each individual makes on the planet, and pay much more attention to the way they live.
87% of consumers will also be more loyal to you if you support social and green issues, and the same number of customers would also gladly purchase a product that benefits the environment.
The Power of Caring
Simply put, green startups are more appealing because if a company cares about the environment, then that care most likely translates into caring for customers and employees as well.
We would all like to live in a better world – and even if we fail to do our bit, the least we can contribute is supporting someone who is already pulling their own weight and trying to do their best for the benefit of us all.
How to Go Green
While becoming a more eco-friendly startup is not exactly a walk in the park, there are things you can do fairly straightforwardly to get you going.
Cut Your Energy Use
There are tons of ways to cut down on the amount of energy you use to run your business.
- Think about moving your data to the cloud, as this will cut down energy consumption.
- Switch to LED lights, and don’t turn them on unless you actually need them. Try to provide more natural light in your offices.
- Encourage your employees to eat lunch outside, rather than in the office.
- Start doing as much as you can digitally, instead of using paper and printers.
Use Recyclable Materials
- Switch to sustainable packaging by making all of your packaging reusable or recyclable.
- Encourage your customers to use your packaging as storage. To make this possible, you first have to make your packaging appealing for the purpose, and ensure it is of decent quality.
- Focus on using green energy and sustainable materials in production as often as you can.
Whatever your startup needs to run, source it locally. Whether it be the meals you provide to your staff, the materials you need to produce your goods, or the furniture you need to deck out your space: purchase it locally.
You can get your furniture and electronics second-hand as well. For example, you can easily save a couch or use slightly older tech. This can save your company money and is beneficial to the environment because you are not letting a good piece of furniture or equipment go into the landfill.
Explore Alternative Office Spaces
You don’t have to set up your office in a high-rise, instead you can choose a more eco-friendly building. For example, shipping containers are an excellent option for establishing an eco-friendly and unique space to work from, especially in your earliest stage, when you don’t have that many employees on payroll.
This kind of space will conserve much more energy and also make you stand out in the eyes of your customers.
Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Think about the way you get to and from the office and to meetings, and how much fuel you burn to get around altogether.
- Establish a “cycle or walk to work” policy or have your employees carpool to work.
- When arranging meetings, don’t drive around to attend them, but rather encourage outdoor rendezvous or get to your destination on foot or use a bike.
- Consider how much you actually need to fly, and if using an alternative mode of transportation is an option.
Implement a Zero Waste Policy
This could be more of a challenge, but if you are creative enough, you can make it.
- Ban all plastic and single-use items.
- When you do need to throw something away, think about repurposing or reusing it. If you don’t have a use for it and it can’t be recycled, try to store it somewhere for a later purpose.
- Compost everything that is organic and compostable.
- Encourage your staff to bring their own meals or organize a system of community meals where nothing will yet again be wasted and garbage will be minimized.
Promote Going Green
Make sure your team is aware of the benefits of the green policies you are implementing and encourage them to participate. You can also establish a reward system that will help them focus on going greener in their homes as well.
Make it a team effort – emphasize that making the planet a healthier place is a common goal you’re all working towards together.
When you start exploring the greener options of running a business, you will soon find there are plenty of them available. You just need to make sure you implement the ones that make the most sense for your startup.