Small online sellers are often running green businesses without even realizing it.
Simply by working from home, you’re keeping your car off the road and you’re not paying to heat, cool, and light a separate brick-and-mortar store or office space.
But, given the challenges threatening our planet today, is that enough?
Whether you run your online business out of your home or alongside a brick-and-mortar retail shop, these green business practices will help you help the planet this Earth Day.
1. Ship It in Scrap Paper.
Even if we ditch our own printer, we still end up with tons of paper thanks to junk mail. Use the back of single-sided mailers for scratch paper. Or shred it all and stuff it into packages to protect products en route to your customers.
2. Drink Responsibly.
There’s rarely a good reason beyond laziness to offer guests bottled water or coffee in Styrofoam cups. Invest in a water filter and switch to glasses and mugs. You can even order them with your logo. Oh, and please please please ditch the Keurig.
3. Schedule a FREE Energy Assessment.
Many local power companies offer free energy efficiency assessments for small businesses, even home-based small business. These experts will deliver a list of fixes focused on quick return on investment. Some may even qualify for a tax deduction.
4. Eat Mor Plantz.
Those silly cows have it all wrong. It’s not about eating more chikin.
Did you know 18% of greenhouse gas emissions are due to animal agriculture? Partner with a local vegan or vegetarian restaurant to cater your next business lunch or after-hours event.
5. Opt for LED.
Energy-efficient light bulbs can reduce energy costs for lighting by up to 30%. Plus, studies have shown that bright uncluttered workspaces facilitate greater productivity.
6. Be Proud to be Green.
Be sure to highlight your commitment to green business practices in your marketing materials. It could be a simple line about environmental responsibility in the footer of your emails, or it could be a whole webpage outlining your environmental policy.
7. Research Local Energy Programs.
As a stay-at-home solopreneur, it’d be convenient to run the laundry during my workday. But, in Arizona, electricity is significantly cheaper on the weekends and between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. during the week.
You better believe that’s when I’m doing my laundry and running the dishwasher.
8. Program Your Thermostat.
It’s easy to forget to adjust your thermostat when you leave the house. A programmable thermostat never forgets. Better yet, a smart thermostat like Nest learns your habits, programs itself, and makes monthly recommendations for energy saving.
9. Keep ‘Em Off the Road.
If you own a brick-and-mortar retail store, don’t make off-the-clock employees drive in for staff meetings. Use Skype or Google Hangouts to keep them off the road and in their pajamas.
10. Enlist Your Employees.
Speaking of employees, only 28% of them nationwide are actually engaged in their work. Proponents of conscious capitalism believe that figure would rise if more workers shared their company’s sense of purpose.
After all, protecting the planet is a purpose almost anyone can get behind.