The way forward lies in green investment. No, I’m not talking about dollars, though that too will follow inevitably. I’m talking about greening your small business. And the many successful entrepreneurs who have managed to build sustainable businesses without sacrificing ethics or the environment.
The Obama government has set apart billions of dollars to encourage green business ideas and initiatives. Various finance sources such as tax credits, loans and grants are available to fund green buildings and energy efficient ventures at national, state and local levels. Homeowners, businesses, non-profit organizations and government organizations can take advantage of these opportunities to convert their green ideas into action.
Alternative renewable energy sources harness natural resources. Solar energy, wind farms, biogas digestion, rain water, biomass briquettes, helioculture are some examples of alternative renewable energy. Solar panels and installers are being used by many businesses, schools and homes to generate heat and electricity.
Top companies of various industries are taking responsibility to reduce their ecological footprint by slashing greenhouse gas emissions. Though saving money and reducing risks are the main incentives driving these initiatives, every effort is crucial in combating climate change. Green consulting agencies help businesses green their premises and inculcate green business practices amongst its employees. Energy efficient products conserve energy and reduce bills for consumers.
Businesses should support green initiatives with the necessary infrastructure and processes. Energy-efficient computers, monitors, printers, fax machines, scanners, copiers and multi-function devices that automatically power down during extended inactivity save 50% energy or more. Laptops are much more energy efficient than desktops. Consider upgrading your employees to laptops.
Taking business operations online reduces usage of paper and printing ink. Sending customers online receipts of sales instead of paper is another step. Online operations also improve business efficiency as data can be managed in a better way. Businesses should use recycled products wherever possible – paper, packages, toilet paper, etc. Wastage of water should be minimized by installing water saving devices in bathrooms and cafeteria. Energy efficient vending machines are equipped with refrigeration and lighting controls and save up to 30% energy. The key is to save wherever and whenever possible.
Where there is a will, there is a way. Nothing rings truer when one sees the amazingly innovative small green businesses sprouting across the globe. Typical examples are BTTRventures – a 100% sustainable urban mushroom farm that utilizes recycled coffee grounds from Peet’s Coffee & Tea, founded in Berkeley, CA by two 2009 grads; Turning Point Brewery – Canada’s first sustainable brewery; GRID Alternatives – provides renewable energy and energy efficiency services to low-income homeowners and community members.
There is never a better time than now. While businesses are doing their part to conserve the ecological system, it is also every individual’s moral responsibility to build a safe and healthy future for the next generation. By respecting our environment and following green practices at home and office, we pass on the right education to our children. Reduce, reuse and recycle – this is the mantra we all need to incorporate into our lifestyles.