For companies providing their services to consumers, it has become a priority to ensure company operations are environmentally-friendly. In developed markets, sustainability is now a critical factor in shopper decisions, with one-third of consumers using it as a deciding factor. This shift also coincides with the maturity of millennials, with more than 65 percent willing to pay more for a product manufactured through sustainable, eco-friendly efforts.
In response to this market change, many companies are adopting eco-friendly business practices. Here are seven techniques they’re using to become a bit more sustainable.
1. Partner With Green Businesses
Companies with an established supply chain can assess and analyze their supply chain partners, such as manufacturers and distributors, to determine if their practices are green. A supply chain that uses recyclable and renewable materials, as well as minimal packaging with zero toxins, can often promote a clean supply chain or green procurement efforts to consumers.
This approach does pose a challenge, as it may require your company to form new business relationships and cease others. If you’re considering adopting this eco-friendly business practice, do not immediately switch all your processes to your new supplier, courier or manufacturer. Instead — if possible — taper your business off to ensure your new partner can meet your demands. It limits supply chain issues, such as those experienced by KFC and their new courier, DHL.
2. Use Green Web Hosting
The power demands of data centers in the U.S. are well-known. In 2014, they consumed enough power to match the energy usage of 6.4 million homes in the U.S. The improvements to server efficiency and power have lessened the growth rate of data center demands, while the popularity of green web hosting has provided companies with a viable way to make their business more eco-friendly.
A company that provides green web hosting operates on reusable energy. They also partake in additional carbon offset activities, such as planting trees or other vegetation on the facility’s property, utilizing energy-saving appliances and minimizing company waste. By focusing on a clean, eco-friendly operation, many of these hosting companies offer a lower rate for their services than non-green web hosting providers.
3. Optimize Energy Usage
Another productive way to make your business environmentally friendly is by assessing your energy usage and optimizing it. This area encompasses an expansive net, including the energy demands of your employee equipment, such as desktops, as well as heating, cooling, lighting and plumbing features. The assessment can also consider whether you’re purchasing renewable or non-renewable energy from your utility company.
To counter each of the above factors, you’ll rely on different approaches and technologies. The energy use of employee computers, for instance, can be resolved through company policies recommending the shutdown of non-essential equipment at the end of the day — or the installation of an automatic power shutdown system. For lighting and plumbing, your company can add energy-efficient LEDs and occupancy sensors, as well as low-flow toilets and low-flow faucets.
4. Initiate Recycling and E-Recycling Programs
Recycling is often a part of your employees’ personal lives, which is why many can quickly adapt to and support company recycling programs. A recycling program is one way to make your business more eco-friendly that also offers your organization the opportunity to apply for government grants. Since many companies use waste management providers, creating less waste can lead to a decreased fee.
In many instances, it’s difficult for consumers and businesses to recycle electronics due to their components. As a result, only 27 percent of the two million tons produced each year are recycled. Retailers and manufacturers, such as BestBuy, Dell, HP and Staples, will often accept electronics less than five years old for a store or tax credit, which allows your company to boost its green practices while saving money.
5. Go Paperless With the Cloud
Moving your company from pen-and-paper to digital documents offers more than financial savings, but also another option for how to make your business more eco-friendly. By adopting cloud computing, your organization can take advantage of cloud-based services from trusted third-party providers, such as for secure document delivery, faxing, network monitoring and more.
As well as decreasing your operating costs, investing in a paper-free operation provides a quick return on investment — in 84 percent of cases, companies received their payback in less than 18 months. A cloud-based service also benefits your employee productivity by streamlining document access and modification, plus supporting on-the-go communication among team members.
6. Carry Renewable Office Supplies
A significant factor in establishing eco-friendly business practices are your employees, who must adopt and support your efforts. That’s why they play an immense role in your use of renewable office supplies, which can include a variety of items, from pencils and pens to water bottles and single-use beverage pods. To support your renewable efforts, stock your shelves with post-consumer waste (PCW) products, such as paper towels and printing paper, and recyclable versions of single-use beverage pods.
Some companies will implement a team of green leaders to encourage employee participation. Their purpose is to promote cooperation, such as by initiating a recycling competition between departments, tracking the overall recycling savings and researching new ways to make your business green. While optional, it’s a route many businesses explore.
7. Audit Company Buildings for Energy Waste
On average, small- and medium-sized companies can save $165,000 through an energy audit. That’s why, if your company is searching for ways to make your business more eco-friendly, it’s recommended your facilities undergo an energy audit. With an experienced professional, your business can discover heating and cooling inefficiencies, as well as structural issues increasing your energy use and carbon footprint.
If you’re expanding your company by constructing a new office or facility, consider high-efficiency building construction. By investing in this type of architecture, your organization can promote your eco-friendly approach and reduce your overall operating costs, as high-efficiency building construction often lowers energy consumption by 80 to 90 percent.
Adopt Eco-Friendly Business Practices With Softlinx
With more than 20 years of experience and an established reputation for secure and compliant cloud-based solutions, Softlinx is the trusted partner for global organizations and world-class technology providers. Whether you’re a part of the healthcare, financial, education, manufacturing or insurance market, we can provide a secure and compliant cloud-based solution that matches your requirements.