Businesses have many responsibilities. Not only must they do right by their customers and shareholders, but they also have an obligation to their communities. These responsibilities are amplified in the technology sector, where the consumption of natural resources is one of the costs of doing business. As technology advances, the need for responsible behavior increases. While regulation plays a large role in determining what that looks like, market forces also have an impact. For example, tech consumers are becoming more aware of the footprint their purchases leave on the environment and are seeking ways to minimize it.
This means that developing strategies to lessen your company’s environmental impact makes good business sense. You can accomplish this by adapting more efficient processes or manufacturing with sustainable materials, but one of the most significant ways to become an eco-friendlier organization is by making several relatively simple changes. Here are eight ideas any company can put to good use in its offices, warehouses and production facilities.
1. Go paperless — Printing the documents your staff needs every day contributes to deforestation and also depletes other natural resources. You can reduce this impact by switching to electronic documents and sharing them on the cloud whenever possible. Emailing rather than sending hard copies means you’ll use less paper and therefore become less wasteful.
2. Choose energy-efficient lighting — Older buildings may still be equipped with incandescent or fluorescent lighting that consumes much more electricity than today’s LED and CFL alternatives. Making the switch to energy-efficient lighting also can save you a lot on your electric bill. Another helpful idea is to install motion sensors or timers to prevent lights from being left on when no one is using them.
3. Use power-saving mode — Many computers, printers and other office machines are equipped with a power-saving sleep mode that prevents them from drawing more electricity than is necessary. This enables them to use less energy when they are idle and to rev back up to full functionality when needed.
4. Increase daylight — Artificial lights account for a substantial share of a commercial building’s energy consumption. You can save both electricity and expenses by leaving blinds open during the day or installing skylights. By letting natural light into your space, you consume less energy.
5. Start recycling — Even small operations go through a tremendous amount of supplies every week. If yours doesn’t yet recycle, the packaging and refuse you generate will end up in landfills. The effect is two-fold. Your garbage clogs the earth and more resources are consumed to make new products. Recycling as much as you can and buying supplies that are made of recycled materials helps slow down this process.
6. Perform regular HVAC checkups — Your building’s heating and air conditioning units may not be operating at peak efficiency. This could increase both your utility bills and your environmental footprint. Checking for leaky vents or dirty filters and fixing those problems can make a huge difference in how efficiently your equipment runs.
7. Invest in renewable energy — It may be a while before solar panels, wind turbines and other renewable energy sources can provide for all your company’s energy needs. In the meantime, they can help reduce your dependence on the grid. Getting even a small portion of your power from renewable sources be helpful considering how much commercial properties rely on fossil fuels.
8. Insist on green cleaning products —Replacing harsh chemical cleansers with all-natural cleaning products will result in less potential harm to the ecosystem. Green cleansers do just as good a job sanitizing your workspace without the use of toxic substances.
Meeting the needs of clients and creditors with always be a priority, but your business shouldn’t ignore your responsibility to the wider world. Managing your ecological footprint is a big part of that obligation, and following these simple tips can go a long way toward helping your facilities operate more responsibly.
About the Author: Dan Dulik is Vice President of Marketing at Litetronics, manufacturer of commercial lighting products, including bulbs and a full line of fixtures and retrofit kits. An alumnus of DePaul University’s Graduate School of Business, he has more than 15 years of experience in B2B and B2C marketing.