Green Trend: Ideas for a greener business

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Greening your business is not only good for the environment, it can also increase your sales! Consumers are increasingly informed about the environmental impact of human activities. A global survey conducted in 2014 revealed that 55% of consumers are willing to pay higher prices for goods and services provided by environmentally friendly companies. By integrating some of the simplest but conscientious practices into your business, you contribute to profitability and the environment.

Keep in mind that your efforts to make your business practices greener must be sincere if you present them as such. Consumers tend to turn their backs on certain businesses if they feel they have been misled by false sustainability statements.

Learn how to make your business greener and win customers with these Outgo tips!

Leave your car at home

Despite the fact that cars and trucks account for about 20% of all greenhouse gas emissions, North Americans seem tobe reluctant to separate from their daily automobile journeys.

Leaving the car at home and walking or cycling to work is an excellent exercise as well as an environmental benefit. If you are not used to any of its activities, start slowly. Commit to doing it a few days a week to keep a good pace and get used to it.

Taking public transport is also healthier for you (think of bus and/or metro stops) and for the environment, as well as cheaper than taking a car to go to work.

If you are a business owner looking for a new workplace, consider a site with easy access to bike lanes or public transit and encourage employees to walk, bike, transit or carpool. Providing bike padlocks and subsidized transit passes could be a great way to do this. You could even organize “Leave the car at home” days!

Break the reliance on anti-environment amenities in your organization

Many of us think we are good at recycling and composting, but according to NationMaster statistics, North Americans continue to produce more waste than anyone else.

To protect the environment by reducing waste, we must overcome our dependence on disposable and single-use products. A good example is the one-cup coffee pod machine that is now seen in many offices. A large box of ordinary coffee can make more than a hundred cups for a fraction of the price of a non-recyclable pod and the empty container can be recycled.

In addition to providing recycling bins, look at the environment in your office and consider all the ways to reduce waste:

  • Encourage your employees to bring their own reusable cups and water bottles, instead of using paper cups and buying plastic water bottles).
  • If you have a kitchen in the office for your employees, use bulk containers for condiments rather than disposable single-use portions.
  • Compile your waste and have it picked up by municipal recyclers or local producers.
  • Convert your kitchens and bathrooms with hot air hand dryers instead of paper rolls.
  • Make your office “paperless”.

Reduce your use of drinking water in your company

Whether you believe in climate change or not, the last few years have been among the driest ever in western North America. Just ask the inhabitants of California, who suffer from drought since 2011. In response to this problem, municipalities have adopted strict rationing of drinking and non-drinking water.

But whether your business is located in a drought or not, reducing your water consumption is a clear way to save money and help conserve a valuable resource.

Among the ways in which you can reduce water consumption in your business premises:

  • Repair flowing faucets, plumbing leaks and install low-flow toilets and faucets in your bathrooms.
  • If your business has landscaping, consider switching to drought-resistant landscaping. If it uses a sprinkling system, the conversion to a draining system will significantly reduce water consumption. Make sure that the irrigation system is properly maintained and adjusted and that it has rain sensors (so that it does not work when it rains).
  • If the company has an on-site launderette, make sure that the washers are Energy Star certified and have a low water consumption factor.
  • Use a high-efficiency high-pressure cleaner for cleaning work rather than a hose connected to a tap: the work will be done faster and consumes much less water.

Reduce your building's energy footprint

According to the Institute for Energy and Environment Studies (EESI), buildings are responsible for 39% of carbon dioxide emissions. One of the many recommendations of the 2015 Climate Change Conference (COP21) was to reduce emissions from homes and buildings by 50% by 2030.

The desire to reduce emissions from buildings has led to a growing industry in the high-efficiency building sector. Net-Zero and Passive House construction methods use super insulated airtight shells, triple glazed windows and geothermal systems to reduce energy consumption by 80% to 90% compared to standard construction. Adding solar water heaters or solar energy can reduce it even more.

If you're building your own business from scratch, why not incorporate state-of-the-art energy-saving features from the start? Or if you are renovating an existing building, do as much as your budget allows. Be sure to study the various discount and incentive programs that can be offered in your city or province to improve insulation, install new energy-efficient HVAC systems, solar panels etc.

And you, what do you do every day at work to reduce your environmental footprint within your company?

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