As awareness of the importance of preservation of the environment continues to grow, businesses are looking for ways to become environmentally friendly, also known as “going green.”
Kermit the Frog, in his classic song, expresses initial ambivalence towards “being green”, however, by the end of the song, recalls positive associations with the colour, eventually accepting and embracing his “greenness”. To him, “being green” has powerful connotations; “green can be big, like a mountain, or important like a river, or tall like a tree.” While Kermit’s song was not necessarily referring to living a modern-day “green” lifestyle, the song is an excellent metaphor for the contemporary meaning of “being green”, in terms of embracing practices that are eco-friendly.
Here, I’ll assess what it means “to be green” and how business owners can become more environmentally friendly. For keeping green has shown to have major benefits for a business as well as the environment (and it’s actually easier than you think).
Any business looking to be more environmentally friendly should have an environmental policy in place. Why? An environmental policy forms the foundation of environmental improvements for your business. Whilst writing an environmental policy is a voluntary undertaking in the UK, it can provide a unifying vision and purpose that can guide the actions of your organisation’s employees, management, shareholders, customers and suppliers alike.
In addition to the obvious environmental benefits, a good environmental policy can reap rewards for a business. Effective environmental management focuses on efficiency and reducing waste, which can result in significant dividends, such as cost reductions. It can also enhance your image among customers, who will be assured of your commitment to environmental issues. Being green can also make a business more appealing to talented job seekers, who are increasingly looking to work for organisations with beliefs matching their own. In a survey carried out in 2015, it was found that almost half the workforce (42%) want to work for an organisation that has a positive impact on the world.
To ensure successful implementation of an environmental policy, it needs to be applied throughout an organisation. By this, I mean getting input from a range of people, which can help ensure commitment and ownership. It can also help to convey the message that environmental improvement is central to your organisation’s goals.
Once your policy has been finalised, it is important to communicate it, not just to your staff but to the public at large. Many organisations use their website to achieve this, however, you can also communicate it through your internal intranet, flyers and leaflets. Make sure that you visit your policy regularly and involve staff as much as your can in your efforts to go green. By doing so, you’ll be able to create positive change within your business.
Making the change
There are a number of ways to “go green” within your business and they’re relatively simple to implement.
1) Recycle outside the (cardboard) box
Recycling is a great way of preserving natural resources. So why not implement a recycling programme for your business? The scope of recycling should not be limited to just paper, but you can also recycle old computers, laptops and other electronic appliances.
2) Reduce energy costs
Adopting green technology is a great way to lower your energy costs. Why not switch to solar energy or make use of hybrid vehicles? All of these measures are a great way of reducing your business’ energy costs.
3) Green your commute
Encourage staff to carpool and embrace public transport. Walking and cycling has also proven to enhance staff productivity as well as positively impact the environment. Alternatively, encourage more staff to avoid the commute altogether and work from home!
Though it may not have the same meaning as the Muppets tune, being green has, in fact, become easier. Take the first step by creating an environmental policy with Rocket Lawyer (it would be a waste not to).