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Switching to green is no longer just a niche phrase. This is becoming an increasingly common part of doing business. In fact, in a recent survey, 78% of Americans said they were more likely to buy environmentally friendly products, and 64% were also willing to pay more for those products.
It is clear that focusing on the business environment not only helps the environment – it can also have a direct impact on the end result. When you make sustainability a key focus of your business endeavors, you will become much more attractive to customers who share similar values.
Fortunately, there are many ways to make your company green.
1. Rethink the product packaging
Product packaging is one of the largest sources of waste. According to a report in the Business News Daily, 77 percent of customers believe that plastic is not environmentally responsible for product packaging. Conversely, paper was considered the most environmentally friendly packaging option because it was easier to recycle. Something as simple as replacing peanut wrapping with paper can reduce the environmental impact of your wrapping.
The smaller packaging design can further reduce your impact on the environment simply by consuming fewer raw materials. Eco-focused brands often emphasize their sustainability efforts (and encourage customers to recycle packaging) right on the box.
2. Source materials from local suppliers
The supply chain can be a major source of a business’s carbon footprint. Mainly due to the pollution that is produced to transport consumables and materials to your facility. This is most often the case for food, where local purchasing initiatives aim to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. And that can be done simply by limiting how many miles the food takes to reach the dinner plate.
However, the same can be achieved with any other consumables or materials your business may need. Focusing on local sources will reduce your carbon footprint while supporting your local economy – probably a key driver for your own business’s success. You can further improve the sustainability of your materials by sourcing environmentally conscious suppliers who have taken their own green initiatives.
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3. Minimize the impact of your products
For companies that produce their own products, identifying ways to minimize the potential for waste from their products should be a top priority for greening. The use of biodegradable or recyclable materials ensures that your products will not add to the millions of tons of landfill waste generated in the United States each year.
4. Reassess your energy sources
The energy sources you use to power your office and manage the most important processes of your business significantly affect your carbon footprint. Renewable energy sources such as solar and wind energy on the roof have become more accessible than ever. Both can serve as valuable long-term investments for greening.
Many utility providers use coal and natural gas, which combine to produce billions of metric tons of CO2 emissions each year. Switching to solar or other renewable sources is your way to ensure that your electricity is supplied sustainably.
In the United States, these green investments also qualify businesses for tax credits that offset installation costs. The Federal Solar Investment Tax Credit currently provides a credit for 26 percent of the cost of a new system that begins construction in 2022. However, that credit drops to 22 percent in 2023 and 10 percent in 2024 – so the more – apply it early, better.
5. Find sustainable solutions to common service needs
Another option to go green is to come up with a green version of a service-based business. For example, an environmentally friendly landscaping business will avoid the use of chemical herbicides and will use electrical equipment instead of gas-powered equipment. An organic catering company would use organic, locally grown food for events in the area. Sustainability consultants can advise other companies on key steps they can take to become environmentally friendly.
These examples are just a few ways in which a service-oriented business can provide more sustainable supply to its customers. In this case, your efforts to become green become a key feature that distinguishes your company from other competitors in this niche. There are ample opportunities for both B2B and B2C companies.
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How will you become green?
As these examples illustrate, switching to green can be built into your company’s identity from the beginning. Think about how you can improve your impact on the environment in every aspect of your business. You can find creative solutions and build a unique niche in your market.
By actively striving to become green, you can help the planet and become a valuable asset to others who are trying to reduce their impact on the environment.
Related: 6 ways to go green can make you more profitable