Every year in April, we celebrate Earth Day – a time to make commitments to better our planet, to focus on ways to reduce, reuse and recycle, and to be a good citizen for 24 hours. But what happens after that day is done? What are you doing as an entrepreneur, as a business owner, as a community leader, to make our planet a better place for those we will one day leave it to?
In my earlier days as an Elementary school teacher, I loved teaching young children what it meant to really cherish this place we call home, and I headed up several school-wide initiatives to bring awareness to pressing matters such as endangered species. This was especially fun, as we were able to raise money as a school and ‘adopt’ 26 endangered animals and track their whereabouts as a group. We felt we were keeping them safe, and it brought an awareness to students at such a young age that small changes can make a big difference.
These days in my world of entrepreneurship, it’s great to hear more and more of fellow members and colleagues who employ greener methods of doing business and who are advocates of eco-friendly living, but I must say the idea of adopting ways to make a positive impact on our planet isn’t discussed nearly as much with adults as it is with children. How can that be possible? Aren’t we the grown ups, the ones in charge of making the decisions and implementing change for good? Yes we all likely compost at home, and we put out the recycling etc. etc. – but are we as diligent in our businesses?
Here are some ways that you can really make a difference as an entrepreneur, not just on Earth Day, but every day:
- Keep a recycling bin handy and close to your desk right in your office (get a fancier bin if the blue box doesn’t cut it for your office decor!). Having the bin close by will help you avoid tossing paper in the garbage.
- Stock up on LED light bulbs, rechargeable batteries, recycled toilet paper and paper towels, and chemical-free soaps and detergents when they’re on sale (or use FLIPP to price match!). Having environmentally-friendly office and household staples on hand purchased in bulk helps to avoid last-minute purchases of the not-so-great-for-the-environment alternatives.
- Opt to go paperless whenever you can. Do you really need to have every invoice or statement printed out? Many companies now offer incentives for customers and clients to choose the paperless route, and emailing invoices is an easy way to implement this strategy in your own business. Having a disclaimer in your emails is also handy.
- Make a choice to work with other businesses who are committed to environmentally friendly practices. Whether they choose to be Bullfrog Powered, or they LEED certified practices, no matter how big or small the commitment, every act is impactful.
- Many retail businesses don’t have strict guidelines enforced by municipalities in regards to recycling and composting of materials. Imagine the amount of compost and recycling coming from restaurants, coffee shops, shopping malls, retail stores, small offices, etc that could be directed away from landfills if a few policies and procedures were put in place by management?! Why wait for the government to make the rules – it’s your business, you have the choice and the power to make changes as necessary. Might it cost a bit of money to implement and maintain? Maybe – but it will be well worth it in the end, and you will set yourself and your business as an industry leader when done effectively.
These are just 5 simple and easy ways to look at making a difference with your business – but one small act of caring each day, one small change in what you toss out, what you print, what you use to make your business run on a daily basis – one small change each day can amount to huge changes over the course of 1 year and the many years to follow it.
I’d love to hear how you are making changes today in your business to help bring positive change to our Earth, and please share what you would like to do tomorrow to make new changes take place. We are all in this together – one act at a time!