Small Business Green Initiatives: Going Green in the Workplace

Allison Hutton

Small Business Green Initiatives: Going Green in the Workplace

Due to increasing environmental concerns, incorporating small business green initiatives into the workplace has become a widespread effort. While some of these initiatives can require upfront costs or modifications to the workplace, there are ways to help your business — and workforce — go green. From using energy-efficient equipment to creating a company-wide program, small business green initiatives are on the rise.

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Working With Your Energy Provider

According to Entrepreneur, approximately 90 percent of all U.S. businesses are considered “small to medium” and account for up to 50 percent of the energy used in the country. Surprisingly, 10 percent of small business owners state that the cost of energy consumption is the single highest cost within the company — above salaries, health care benefits and other operational costs. What many business owners don’t know is they can work with their energy provider for suggestions on how to reduce costs. Aside from saving money, businesses can also help the environment by teaming up with their energy provider on initiatives, such as:

  • Taking advantage of utility incentives through replacement of old light bulbs with energy-efficient models; or
  • Investigating “green finance” options, which allow small business owners to repay loans directly through energy bills when small business green initiatives are financed through the utility company itself.

Speak with your utility company and discuss ways you can work together to save costs and help the environment.

Involve Your Employees in the Initiative

A commitment to small business green initiatives starts with you. Employees often look to leadership to determine if the efforts are sincere. By making efforts through the company as a whole, employees are more likely to follow your lead.

According to The Balance, it’s important to lead by example. Consider an initiative like turning off computers and lights when not in use. It’s also a great idea to eliminate disposable items such as plastic cups, silverware and plates, opting for reusable mugs and dishes.

Encourage employees to have plants in the office, the website explained. They produce oxygen for employees and act as a natural air filtration system. Distribute memos and other communications electronically and avoid printing multiple copies of information.

Going Green Is a Group Effort

Have an open dialogue with your staff and employees regarding ways in which the company can save money over the long term. Create a plan, and roll out your initiatives with purpose. Inform employees when changes are going to take place, such as replacement of all incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs, why the change is taking place and how the change will benefit the company.

Encourage your employees to share ideas on green initiatives, which will aid in long-term efforts and provide a purpose for the effort at hand. Small changes can make large impacts and the workplace is a great place to begin those efforts.

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