Keeping your business operations eco-friendly is more important than ever before. With climate change as a growing threat, the race is on to find new ways of safeguarding our planet’s future. All over the world, the business community is pitching in with innovative solutions that won’t break the bank. Here are a few tips for keeping your new startup smart and sustainable.
1. Create a (Mostly) Paperless Office
Research by the University of Southern Indiana shows that Americans throw away around one billion trees worth of paper each year. This waste can be partially mitigated by taking businesses online in terms of both accounting and administration. That changeover comes with the bonus of allowing entrepreneurs to leverage automation in their business processes, which adds to overall efficiency. When switching to digital infrastructure, make it a point to invest in the technologies that support that network, such as a session border controller for service delivery and surge protectors to prevent costly system crashes.
2. Use Eco-Friendly Renewable Energy
The most significant move any company can make towards being more eco-friendly is switching to renewable energy. Solar power is emerging as both the most effective and versatile green energy source as photovoltaic cell efficiency continues to grow. The total cost of a commercial-scale solar power system ranges from about $2-4 per watt before tax breaks. Other incentives are factored in, so the investment can take a long time to pay off, but there are two immediate benefits to going off the grid: Solar energy has less price volatility than fossil fuels and, perhaps most importantly, customers know how important the company is taking its global responsibility.
3. Make Sustainability Part of the Mission
Taking that responsibility means hardwiring the concept of sustainability into your company’s culture. Keeping a business profitable is vital, of course, but that can never be allowed to happen at the expense of ethics. Writing a formal commitment to responsible practices is good, whether in the business proposal itself or PR statements. Still, those words can quickly prove empty if everyone isn’t on board with the ideals. Have initiatives like recycling programs and upcycling in place at all levels and teach the reasoning behind these requirements during employee training.
Studies show that this degree of commitment creates a positive feedback loop in hiring. Around 40% of millennials have chosen a workplace-based primarily upon its dedication to sustainability and eco-friendliness. In other words, if you want the best and brightest to come to your organization, make environmental security part of your organizational vision.
4. Invest in a Hybrid Fleet
According to EPA statistics, the transportation sector accounts for the largest share of greenhouse gas emissions in the US (29%). Now might be a good time to think about investing in cleaner eco-friendly vehicles. Solar cars are only beginning to come on the market, but electric and especially hybrid vehicles of various models are available, and recharging stations are (finally) becoming widespread. Alternative fuels like ethanol and other biofuels can also help break the world’s gasoline habit, so consider greening your company fleet.
5. Design With Earth in Mind
Designing infrastructure to work in harmony with nature might be the most radical and effective solution to environmental ills. There are two main philosophies at work here; biophilia and biomimicry. Biophilia is the inclusion of nature itself into our spaces. Using flora like spider plants and aloe to remove toxins from the air is one inexpensive example. Biomimicry is the use of technology and architecture that reproduces a biological process. When wind turbine designers copy the structure of maple seeds to capture the wind more efficiently, that’s biomimicry in action. The ultimate consequence of these changes is a cultural shift. It results in us seeing ourselves as part of the natural world, not alienated from it.
The job of ending the threat of global warming is challenging, but engineers and scientists are up to the challenge of building that better world and being more eco-friendly. Buy into that dream by putting some of those technologies to work in your business.
Author: Finnegan Pierson