How to Become a Green Business – Part 2: Examining Your Business Practices
A green business (or sustainable business) is a business that causes no negative impact on the local or global environment, the community, or the economy. Green business is both socially and environmentally responsible and is focused on implementing principles and practices that benefit their employees, community, and the planet. Consumers may be particularly drawn to green business because of their reputation as companies that protect environmental resources, ensure the well-being of both employees and those who supply the company, and constantly revise their approaches to make them more aligned with sustainability and reducing environmental impact. Becoming green as a business is not a one-off change; it’s an ongoing endeavor that requires constant learning and improving.
PART 2: EXAMINING YOUR BUSINESS PRACTICES
1. Determine your ecological impact.
The first step in becoming a green business is understanding your business’s current carbon and ecological footprint. Just as you can calculate your personal carbon footprint (for example, at http://www.nature.org/greenliving/carboncalculator/), you can also calculate how your company is impacting the environment.
In order to estimate the carbon footprint of your company (and to see how it compares to other companies within your sector), you will be required to provide information about your business, including information about your facilities, employees, travel, and procurement to an online website. By knowing your carbon footprint, you can set goals for becoming carbon neutral.
2. Identify practices that require improvement.
In order to become a green business, you will need to identify which of your business practices are in need of “greening.” For example, airline flights are one of the biggest causes of carbon emissions in the world. Is it possible for you to implement more efficient travel into your company’s business plan?
3. Set goals for improvement.
Decide what parts of your business you can reasonably make more “green”, and set out a strategy for improvement. You should set goals in regular increments; for example, where do you want your business to be in one year? Two years? Five years? Ten years? You should look to improve more and more with each passing year.Some of the practices that will make your company more green may conflict with your previous business practices. For example, you may be able to source a raw material for a product from a cheap overseas producer; however, in order to be green, you should look to see if you could source the material locally, even if it is more expensive. Realize that you may have to adjust your business strategy and/or budget when becoming a green business.