From the outside looking in, it’s difficult to imagine that humanity’s collective treatment of the environment could substantially change overnight. After all, even if we in America got our acts together, could we really offset the damage that China is doing to the environment on a daily basis?
Whatever the case may be, my mantra remains: You can’t control anything but yourself and your actions. While we might not be able to realize a collective worldwide change in behavior when it comes to how we act toward the environment, we are in control of ourselves and can change our own behavior in such a way as to benefit the environment.
What Business Can Do
With this in mind, business owners across all industries can institute workplace policies and philosophies that give the environment the respect it deserves. While they can’t control the way their workers behave outside of the office, they certainly have some control over how they’re supposed to behave while they are on the clock.
Let’s take a look at some ways businesses can substantially alter their business practices in order to do what they can to protect the environment:
Environmentally Friendly Technology
These days, technology has evolved to the point where communication can travel around the globe in seconds. As we enter an increasingly globalized marketplace, more and more businesses find themselves partnering with companies that are located across the country—or on the other side of the world. Whereas in the past in order to facilitate such business-to-business collaboration, employees had to hop on a plane and fly to meet up with their colleagues, thanks to the evolution of technology, such behavior is no longer required.
Today, businesses can leverage unified communications solutions—technology which integrates instant messaging, video conferencing, Web conferencing, telephony, SMS and presence features into a single, user-friendly interface—allowing employees to collaborate with one another no matter where they happen to find themselves on the map. This way, rather than an employee based out of New York flying to Seattle to work on a project with a coworker, the two workers can simply hop on a video conference—saving money while reducing your company’s carbon footprint at the same time.
Imagine you’re the owner of a recovery facility that provides physical therapy and occupational therapy services. For your clients that are rife with aches and pains, you’ve installed a number of rehab therapy pools in which they can swim in place and get comforted by the exercise and the pressure generated by the jets. These new pools draw more electricity than pools that are just filled with standing water, but they provide better utility to your patients. With this in mind, when it comes to your escalating utility bills, business owners can choose to switch to environmentally friendly lighting. What’s more, if the money is there, they can make investments in alternative energy sources—like solar, water or wind—that can offset their energy consumption. The added bonus of such a decision is that over the long-term, utility bills will decrease substantially—and the environment will thank you.
Humans are odd creatures in the sense that we spend all winter being cold and turning up the heat and once summer comes around, we seek the solace of air conditioning. While businesses shouldn’t turn off the heat in the winter or turn off the AC in the summer, augmenting company dress code to allow employees to wear shorts in the summer or sweaters in the winter, for example, can allow businesses to cheat on those utilities by a few degrees. Implementing a business casual dress code for employees will allow them the flexibility to dress for the season. Over the course of the year, such savings add up to your business’s bottom line—and the environment, too.
What other ways can businesses reduce their impact on the environment? Sound off in the comment section below!