Entrepreneurs have the power to shape their businesses into anything they want. They have full control over the scope and direction of their initial ideas, the types of processes and regulations their business follows, and of course, how the business grows over time. Even franchise owners and business partners, who have to listen to or follow the expectations of other participants, have a significant degree of control in their business’s destiny. Obviously, the two biggest goals here are profitability and comfortability—making as much money as possible in the most enjoyable way possible—but at some point social responsibility, especially environmental responsibility, must also enter the equation.
Requirements vs. Responsibilities
Most environmental changes aren’t “required” of businesses. They aren’t legally mandated, and it’s unlikely that many customers would boycott your business for not following them. However, you owe it to your community, your teammates, your peers, and especially the generations that come after you to conduct your business in an environmentally responsible way.
Reducing your carbon footprint and minimizing your consumption of natural resources not only protects the environment for generations to come—it will also help you reduce your total operating costs. It’s truly a win-win for everyone involved.
Take these strategies as examples of how your business can become more sustainable and environmentally friendly:
- Go paperless. Officially going “paperless” is a big step for most businesses, so don’t be intimidated by taking the term literally. Limit your paper consumption as much as possible with simple steps. For example, are there any reports that could stand to be viewed and transmitted just digitally? Can you switch to printing your reports double-sided instead of single-sided to cut your paper consumption in half? These steps can make a big difference in your total paper consumption, which will also save you money in the long term.
- Use recycled products. Recycled products help reduce the demand for new resources; as an example, recycled paper products use old paper products as root material rather than requiring new trees be cut down. Keep an eye out for products that are described as being recycled, and if you have a choice, opt for ones that are, even if they cost a bit extra. By extension, you should also recycle any recyclable products you have in your business.
- Make use of “green” appliances. You have a choice in the types of technology and appliances you buy for your business, so opt for ones that carry an Energy Star rating, or ones that maximize your energy efficiency. More efficient appliances and machinery will reduce your business’s total energy consumption, lowering your total carbon footprint while simultaneously making your utility bills more manageable.
- Monitor your use of resources. This is a simple measure, but it’s still an effective one; keep your employees cognizant of how they’re using resources in your business, and try to control this as tightly as possible. As a basic example, instruct your employees to turn off the lights of any room or section where people aren’t currently working, and make sure all appliances are turned off before leaving work for the day. You can also set standards for how your heating and cooling system is used, or how people use water and other resources. Try not to go over-the-top here, but do put some standards in place.
- Use alternative energy sources. Though it may be a heavy investment for new entrepreneurs of startups, more seasoned entrepreneurs or existing business owners can invest in alternative energy sources to power their businesses. For example, you could install solar panels on the roof of your building, or install a windmill on your property. In time, these installations pay for themselves, and reduce your reliance on the grid. Plus, it sets a positive example and a standard for the other businesses in your area, and may make a positive visual impact for potential customers who see your business taking responsibility for its energy consumption.
- Institute a carpool (or reduce commuting). Your business’s impact on the environment isn’t limited to just what happens at the physical location of your business. You have people driving in and out of your business regularly, so why not take environmental responsibility by reducing this commute time as much as possible? You could institute a carpool for your regular employees, or even encourage work-from-home days to reduce the need for travel (and your onsite consumption of resources at the same time).
Every Step Matters
As you’ve seen, environmental responsibility isn’t an all-or-nothing strategy. You don’t have to adopt all of the strategies we’ve listed above to make strides toward social responsibility in your business, but any you do adopt can have a positive impact on your environment. Take on the responsibilities that you can, and as you gain more resources or have more time, add more as you continue building your business.
The more entrepreneurs we have engaging in socially responsible, environmentally friendly strategies, the better-preserved our planet will be in the coming years.
A Good Look At How Homes Will Become More Energy Efficient Soon
Everyone always talks about ways they can save energy at home, but the tactics are old school. They’re only tweaking the way they do things at the moment. Sealing holes in your home isn’t exactly the next scientific breakthrough we’ve been waiting for.
There is some good news because technology is progressing quickly. Some tactics might not be brand new, but they’re becoming more popular. Here are a few things you should expect to see in homes all around the country within a few years.
1. The Rise Of Smart Windows
When you look at a window right now it’s just a pane of glass. In the future they’ll be controlled by microprocessors and sensors. They’ll change depending on the specific weather conditions directly outside.
If the sun disappears the shade will automatically adjust to let in more light. The exact opposite will happen when it’s sunny. These energy efficient windows will save everyone a huge amount of money.
2. A Better Way To Cool Roofs
If you wanted to cool a roof down today you would coat it with a material full of specialized pigments. This would allow roofs to deflect the sun and they’d absorb less heat in the process too.
Soon we’ll see the same thing being done, but it will be four times more effective. Roofs will never get too hot again. Anyone with a large roof is going to see a sharp decrease in their energy bills.
3. Low-E Windows Taking Over
It’s a mystery why these aren’t already extremely popular, but things are starting to change. Read low-E window replacement reviews and you’ll see everyone loves them because they’re extremely effective.
They’ll keep heat outside in summer or inside in winter. People don’t even have to buy new windows to enjoy the technology. All they’ll need is a low-E film to place over their current ones.
4. Magnets Will Cool Fridges
Refrigerators haven’t changed much in a very long time. They’re still using a vapor compression process that wastes energy while harming the environment. It won’t be long until they’ll be cooled using magnets instead.
The magnetocaloric effect is going to revolutionize cold food storage. The fluid these fridges are going to use will be water-based, which means the environment can rest easy and energy bills will drop.
5. Improving Our Current LEDs
Everyone who spent a lot of money on energy must have been very happy when LEDs became mainstream. Incandescent light bulbs belong in museums today because the new tech cut costs by up to 85 percent.
That doesn’t mean someone isn’t always trying to improve on an already great invention. The amount of lumens LEDs produce per watt isn’t great, but we’ve already found a way to increase it by 25 percent.
Maybe Homes Will Look Different Too
Do you think we’ll come up with new styles of homes that will take off? Surely it’s not out of the question. Everything inside homes seems to be changing for the better with each passing year. It’s going to continue doing so thanks to amazing inventors.
ShutterStock – Stock photo ID: 613912244
IEMA Urge Government’s Industrial Strategy Skills Overhaul To Adopt A “Long View Approach”
IEMA, in response to the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, have welcomed the focus on technical skills and education to boost “competence and capability” of tomorrow’s workforce.
Policy experts at the world’s leading professional association of Environment and Sustainability professionals has today welcomed Prime Minister Teresa May’s confirmation that an overhaul of technical education and skills will form a central part of the Plan for Britain – but warns the strategy must be one for the long term.
Martin Baxter, Chief Policy Advisor at IEMA said this morning that the approach and predicted investment in building a stronger technical skills portfolio to boost the UK’s productivity and economic resilience is positive, and presents an opportunity to drive the UK’s skills profile and commitment to sustainability outside of the EU.
Commenting on the launch of the Government’s Industrial Strategy Green Paper, Baxter said today:
“Government must use the Industrial Strategy as an opportunity to accelerate the UK’s transition to a low-carbon, resource efficient economy – one that is flexible and agile and which gives a progressive outlook for the UK’s future outside the EU.
We welcome the focus on skills and education, as it is vital that tomorrow’s workforce has the competence and capability to innovate and compete globally in high-value manufacturing and leading technology.
There is a real opportunity with the Industrial Strategy, and forthcoming 25 year Environment Plan and Carbon Emissions Reduction Plan, to set long-term economic and environmental outcomes which set the conditions to unlock investment, enhance natural capital and provide employment and export opportunities for UK business.
We will ensure that the Environment and Sustainability profession makes a positive contribution in responding to the Green Paper.”