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How Going Green Can Grow Your Business

How Going Green Can Grow Your Business

Running a business is expensive, and with the economic uncertainty of today, it’s important that businesses do everything that they can to be in control of their spending. One of the most effective ways to do that is to “go green,” and take steps to make your office functions more sustainable and energy efficient. Not only is going green the right thing to do to help prevent climate change, but there are also big cost savings involved.

Many of the things that you can do to make your business more eco-friendly are inexpensive and quick to implement, which means that you’ll see the benefits almost right away.

Go Paperless

With online applications allowing you to distribute, sign, store, and access digital contracts, and the availability of cheap Cloud-based document services like Google Drive and Dropbox, there’s really no need to be printing much anymore. Keep your printer around for the rare time that you do need a physical piece of paper, but encourage staff to transition to digital solutions wherever possible. Paper is environmentally damaging, and at a cost of $500/person with each person using 10,000 pieces of paper annually, it can also be a significant cost burden on the organization.

Encourage Employees to Work from Home

Allowing employees to work from home improves morale and productivity, which makes it much less likely that an employee will quit. In addition to this, there are environmental and cost benefits. Having employees commute to work is an environmental burden (particularly if the employee drives a car) and the employee takes up space in the office to do their job. By enabling employees to work from home you can decrease your organization’s office footprint and reduce your monthly spending on leasing office space.

Get Solar Panels Installed

By making an upfront purchase to install solar panels, you can reduce your business’ power bill by anything between 50 to 90 per cent per month. Many businesses remain hesitant to do this, because solar panel installation is expensive, time consuming, and it is difficult to find the right professionals for the task, but this isn’t the case at all. The general timeframe quoted for solar panels to pay for themselves is just six to 10 years, making this environmentally friendly initiative also one of the best things that you can do for your business’ medium and long-term financial position.

Outsource Technology

One of the biggest drains on an organization’s energy is technology, and that makes technology one of the biggest contributors to a business’ carbon footprint. However, there are solutions to this. You don’t need to be running power-hungry servers and data centers from your office now that you can access cloud services to help you achieve the same function. Additionally, you can demand that your cloud service provider demonstrates sustainability on their end. Most large-scale server farms and cloud services have access to solutions to minimize the carbon impact of technology that is well beyond the means of a single businesses.

By investing in cloud services, not only do you reduce your power bill significantly, but you remove the need to purchase and maintain expensive IT equipment on-site. Now, all you need is to provide your employees with modest laptops or desktops.

Switch the Light Bulbs to LEDs

Incandescent and fluorescent lights tend to be cheaper than LED light bulbs, but there are two problems with that: firstly, they draw more power and are filled with mercury and/or toxic gases.

Secondly, they don’t last nearly as long, with LEDs needing replacement about 1/5th of the time that other bulbs do. This is another case where the up-front investment is worth the long-term savings, because your office will be consuming fewer supplies and it will cost less to run.

There are plenty of other eco-friendly practices that you can get your business involved in, too. For example, encouraging the office to recycle everything from books to IT equipment. Hiring a cleaning company that will use green cleaning products, and generally making sure that all of your suppliers and service providers have sustainability practices within their own organizations are also great ways to reduce your negative impact on the environment.

These are all small, incremental steps that you can take towards sustainability, but added up, you’ll find that your business is both helping the earth to be “cleaner”, and you are saving your company a lot of money in the process.

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by Samuel Renotte // Samuel is a business undergrad at the University of Technology Sydney. In his spare time he covers the latest trends within startups, technology, and business.

Opinions expressed by contributors are their own.