Being sustainable is as much about your mindset as it is about the funds you have to allocate to these initiatives. You don’t need billions of dollars to change the world; all it takes is a desire to do what you can and knowledge of the programs and options available to you. With that in mind, below are some of the important ways in which entrepreneurs can be more sustainable both inside and outside the office.
Use a Green Credit Card
There are various ways you can incorporate sustainability into your banking practices. This might mean choosing to bank with a financial institution that is actively trying to minimize its carbon footprint by investing in and divesting from carbon-intensive industries or opting for a green credit card. Green credit cards are a great option because they allow you to be green while you spend. Most have a partner NGO or environmental organization to which they donate a percentage of each dollar spent on the card–e.g., the World Wildlife Fund.
Change Starts in the Office
Greening your supply chains or lowering raw material usage and waste will both have immediate and visible financial benefits for some businesses. Those techniques, however, usually necessitate a significant amount of strategic planning and time to implement, not to mention significant capital costs. Fortunately, there are several simple techniques you may follow that won’t take long to implement.
Encourage employees to recycle and educate them on recycling best practices if necessary. Make it simple for them to do so can help you start to build a sustainable culture. Do things like set recycling objectives for your team and recognize those who live up to them. You can also replace your office light bulbs with CFLs or LEDs, which consume much less energy and tend to last up to ten and even twenty times longer than halogen or incandescent bulbs.
Incentivize Your Employees Sustainable Lifestyles
Making environmentally responsible decisions might begin at work, but it doesn’t have to end there. You can also incentivize environmentally conscious behaviour outside of work. You might consider helping cover the cost of solar panel installation or provide a financial incentive for moving closer to work so that it is easier to take public transit or ride a bike. At the very least, you will be helping to reduce their commute.
You may not have a ton of cash to throw at these initiatives, but you might still be able to comfortably subsidize rapid transit monthly passes for your staff or help them with the purchase of a bicycle. You can also give out gift cards to those who have energy audits performed on their homes.
It might seem like, as a lone operative, an entrepreneur is not really poised to make a major difference when it comes to green and sustainable initiatives. This, however, is usually the assumption because people assume you need deep pockets and a big institution backing the efforts to see a significant effect. Every small thing helps and when done in unison with hundreds and even thousands of other entrepreneurs, can start to effect real change.