As international discourse continues to focus on how best to combat climate change, entrepreneurs may find themselves looking for ways to go green in their businesses.
We’ve rounded up a list of six eco-friendly business practices that female founders and their firms can consider. From adopting new habits to changing old ones, these are shifts that can be made immediately — and that will make a difference.
1. Encourage recycling and other good habits among employees.
Getting workers to properly sort their trash can be tricky, but the benefits of doing so — especially with office staples like paper — make it well worth the trouble. Take time to teach employees about proper disposal of recyclables, and the impact their efforts have on the world around them.
2. Get an energy audit.
To quantify the environmental impact of your company, and to find ways to lower that impact, hire a professional to do a commercial energy audit of your firm. Experts can help you find ways to be cleaner and more efficient in how you run your business — from the products you buy and electronics you use to how you light your office and utilize electricity.
3. Offset your carbon footprint.
For business owners who travel frequently, this is one way to negate the ecological impacts of flying. First, if you’re curious about the exact impact of your travel, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has a calculator that can shed some (natural) light on the subject. If you’re alarmed by the results — and teleconferences aren’t an option — you can look at your airline’s options or go to sites like Gold Standard or Green-e to offset carbon emissions by donating money — generally, anywhere from $2 to $20 — to green organizations.
4. Use green office and cleaning supplies.
Limiting the use of strong cleaning chemicals — which introduce harmful agents into our drinking water and are often stored in plastic containers — is a no-brainer. Swap your usual brands for less harsh, greener options when you have a chance, and buy in bulk to limit how much plastic you toss at the end of the day. (Bonus: Women-owned companies like Blueland, EarthKind and more are making it easier than ever to keep both your office and the world clean.)
5. Take the train — or the stairs.
If your place of work is accessible by public transportation, leave your car at home and join your fellow commuters in lowering your carbon emissions. Or ride a bike — and provide space for your employees who choose to do the same. And if you do not need the assistance of an elevator to get to your office, consider walking the distance from the first floor to your floor instead.
6. Get active in the cause.
Join the Greta Thunbergs and Mari Copenys of the world in their public fight against climate change and environmental poisoning. Have company promotions linked to holidays like Earth Day, or use your corporate social media accounts to encourage customers and competitors alike to go green in their everyday lives.