Green business is here to stay, there's no doubt about it. The push now is only getting stronger and companies who refuse to evolve now will either be forced to rapidly adapt later or risk going out of business altogether. Getting on board with the eco-friendly movement early means you can make the transition gradual and relatively painless. Here's how to go green with your business - and save a bit of money along the way.
Responsible supply and distribution
Begin by evaluating your supply and distribution chains to identify areas of waste as well as opportunities to transition to a green business. You might, for example, switch your marketing material printing company from a traditional petroleum-based company to an online printing company that prints using eco-friendly soy inks on recycled paper. Not only does this measure make your company green, it saves you some green because it's rather affordable to print this way. Plus, you won't sacrifice quality since premium stocks such as 13-point recycled matte cover along with soy inks enrich colors and infuse them with vibrancy.
Your distribution channel might also present opportunities for green business. Using our previous example, you might skip the middle man shipping cost (and carbon emissions) by having your print shop mail your direct-marketing materials directly to your customers. Not only will you save on carbon and paper packaging waste, you'll save money because you don't have to pay the middle man, and you can use your printer's bulk indicia to save on mailing expenses.
This one should go without saying: Recycling saves the environment and it saves money. Why pay to have garbage hauled when you can have it taken away by the recycle man for free? Many communities provide this curbside service absolutely free of charge, so call your local government administrator or your Chamber of Commerce to find out what free recycling opportunities exist.
Employee reward programs
One of the most powerful tools you have as a small business owner or manager is influence over your employees. You can exert this influence in a positive, green business manner by encouraging them to go green in their own homes and on the job.
Challenge your employees to come up with creative and cost-efficient ways to go green at work and to go green at home, and reward those whose ideas you implement and who implement green practices at home. This way, your green efforts transcend what you can control at your own business and have far-reaching benefits throughout your entire community.
Challenge other businesses
Want to get free media coverage for your green business efforts? Publicly challenge other local businesses to see which can be the greenest or the most improved, etc. after a set amount of time. Get your local paper, radio stations, television stations and bloggers involved in the competition. This is yet another way to further the cause with minimal effort - and to get plenty of great PR for your own green efforts!