Becoming Environmentally Friendly: 7 Tips to Get You Started

corporate social responsibility

As values become a big factor in consumer decision-making, becoming environmentally friendly, a value that’s more important to consumers each year, has an economic benefit to your business. As you can see in the image below, consumers want to support the brands they feel share important values and may even spend more with brands they view as environmentally friendly, among other shared values. In fact, 82% of consumers say they want a brand’s values to fit with their own and are willing to vote with their wallet to reward/ punish brands based on their values.

corporate social responsibility
Image courtesy of Customer Insight Group

Corporate social responsibility (CSR) drives much of today’s purchase decisions, especially among younger consumers. Thus, you demand the best from everyone, not just because it’s the right thing to do but also because it makes sense from a business perspective.

Corporate social responsibility

CSR runs the gambit from supporting your local community to treating employees well, to designing products that reflect high quality and safety. As concerns over the health of the planet grow, increasingly CSR also means becoming environmentally friendly.

In this blog post, we discuss ten ways your company can adopt eco-friendly practices. These tips will help you reduce waste and carbon emissions while lowering costs and raising profits. Whether you need operations consulting or manufacturing tips, we’ve got you covered. After all, a sustainable business is a successful business in today’s environment.

Becoming environmentally friendly

1. Change your supply chain

Many businesses have environmentally unfriendly supply chains. This can include a reliance on dirty energy sources for operations, a lack of sustainable materials for your products, or a lack of consideration for employees in supplier factories.

When changing your supply chain, you must take an integrated approach. This means bringing together different departments in the company and examining the supply chain from each of their perspectives. For instance, electric cars make a lot of sense until you consider the role producing batteries plays in destroying the environment with mining and other activities. Plus, the problem of disposing of those batteries once they exceeded their useful lives. And, using coal or other environmentally unfriendly materials to generate the electricity needed to recharge the batteries.

From the procurement department, you need to consider what materials are best for your business. From the manufacturing team, you need to think about how you will produce your products. From the logistics department, you need to determine how your company will ship its products.

In addition to integrating the different departments at your company, you must also integrate your business with the supply chains of your suppliers. This will help your company improve the sustainability of its operations while also providing insight into how suppliers operate. 

2. Go electronic

Your company might be using paper and physical tools that are unnecessary. Many business operations don’t require these environmentally unfriendly processes. With a transition to 100% electronic tools, you can make big improvements in terms of sustainability and even reduce your costs.

From a sustainability perspective, you’ll see huge savings if you go 100% digital without the use of paper. For instance, businesses encourage customers to receive bills electronically and pay them through bank withdrawals rather than paper bills and mailing (which uses energy to deliver both bills and payment). Rather than send memos, use email. Also, consider the cost savings for both the organization and staff if you replace in-person meetings with electronic alternatives such as e-meetings and software like Slack to manage projects instead of meetings.

If you do use paper, make sure it’s 100% recyclable. This means using only recyclable paper products and sending that paper to be recycled at the end of its lifecycle.

From a business perspective, an electronic transition is often cheaper than your current practices. This is especially true when it comes to shipping goods, where paper and physical tools add significant costs to the supply chain.

3. Go renewable

becoming environmentally friendly
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

Your company might currently rely on energy sources that pollute the environment. You can reduce your carbon footprint by going renewable. When choosing your renewable energy sources, you need to look at the lifecycle of that energy. It’s best to use energy sources that do not pollute or contribute significantly to climate change, such as wind and solar. You also need to ensure that your supplier follows strict sustainability guidelines.

Using renewable energy is almost always cheaper than using non-renewable sources. This is because non-renewable sources often have high upfront costs and the price of the energy is constantly rising. 

4. Go organic

Your company might currently use pesticides and fertilizers in the production of your goods. For your business to become environmentally friendly, you need to go organic. A side benefit of using sustainable agricultural practices is that organic food often sells at a premium. From a sustainability perspective, it’s best to use organic alternatives such as compost, environmentally friendly pesticides, or natural pest methods such as using other plants to discourage pests.

For food to be considered organic, you must follow strict guidelines set by government bodies. From a business perspective, going organic is often cheaper than using pesticides. This is because there are various government bodies that offer subsidies for companies that go organic.

5. Build a culture of environmentally-friendly practices

Your business has the opportunity to radically improve its environmental impact by changing its practices. This can include everything from reducing carbon emissions to using recycled materials for office supplies. There are a number of ways that you can build a culture of environmentally-friendly practices at your company.

First, you must hold employees accountable for their actions and encourage environmentally-friendly practices. While you cannot force employees to be environmentally friendly, you can encourage them by starting discussions about eco-friendly practices. From there, you need to integrate environmentally-friendly practices into your company culture. This can include hosting events for employees to offer ideas for improving sustainability or incorporating eco-friendly practices into your business models.

6. Monitor the environment and employees

Monitoring the environment and employees is a proactive way to improve your environmental impact. Monitoring the environment includes collecting environmental data such as carbon emissions, water usage, and waste production. When farms monitored the emission of harmful gases, they were surprised to discover the switch to electric vehicles didn’t make much difference but switching to feed that generated less flatulence did the trick. From that data, you can identify areas for improvement and set goals for reducing your environmental impact. By monitoring employees, you can identify which workers are more productive than others.

This gives you insight into which departments need the most improvement. Have one day a month where you prioritize commercial office cleaning to keep your environment tidy. This will also help you identify how much each department needs more attention.

7. Implement network infrastructure changes

Your company likely has a network that includes both hardware and software. This network helps you to operate your business and connect with customers. From an environmental perspective, your network can use less electricity and reduce the amount of waste produced. You can improve your network from an environmental perspective by changing your hardware and software.

When choosing hardware, you should look for energy-efficient devices. You should also consider how your hardware is produced, as some devices are produced with chemicals that harm the environment. You should look for ways to reduce the amount of energy required by your software. You should also consider the source of your software’s data or the servers that store your data. This will help you to ensure that your network uses environmentally-friendly practices.

Why take a chance

It’s not enough to just change your practices and have a sustainable supply chain. You also have to integrate your practices with those of your suppliers. This gives you the opportunity to impose your standards on suppliers and help them to become more environmentally friendly. For example, you might require your suppliers to use only organic pesticides or to use energy-efficient hardware.

When you are environmentally friendly, you have lower costs, higher profits, and a more sustainable business. This will also help you to attract customers who care about the environment.

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