Many business owners are interested in “going green,” but perceived costs prevent them from taking action. The good news is that creating a greener workplace is much simpler and less expensive than you think.
According to Yalmaz Siddiqui, Senior Director of Environmental Strategy for Office Depot, there are some simple ways to jumpstart the green conversation at work.
“Start by making small changes to your everyday purchases and practices,” says Yalmaz. “By starting small, you can go green without feeling overwhelmed. And once your small steps become habits, you can think about additional steps and broader programs.”
Office Depot, an EO partner, offers a five-step program to help you create a greener workplace. By following the below steps, you can create a business that is more efficient, less wasteful and healthier.
- Ask “Why Green?” Establish priorities by deciding what you care about most. If cost-cutting is your priority, then choose greener products and practices that deliver cost savings. If you’re concerned about climate change, focus on reducing fuel and energy use. If harsh chemicals are top of mind, seek non-toxic alternatives to current product choices.
- Buy Green. One of the most common misperceptions is that buying green always costs more. In truth, buying greener products may cost less in the short and long term. To maximize savings, know that products can be green for a variety of reasons, including saving resources and reducing waste; saving energy and reducing emissions; and using safer chemicals. The greenest options are those that result in a lower environmental impact across one or all of these dimensions.
- Be Green. Outside of the products they purchase, companies can also be green and save money through daily practices. To be green in the office, consider starting a program to help employees reduce waste, fuel and energy. You can decide where to focus your actions based on priorities and your company’s economic interests.
- Sell Green. New green thinking is all about encouraging small steps in a greener direction. By “selling” the idea that employees and customers can benefit from making greener choices, they are more likely to join your efforts. One of the best ways to encourage greener practices is to run pilots on greener products or processes. This helps people become comfortable about changing habits. Saving money is another strong driver of behavioral change— a financial model to show how going green can improve the bottom line is something even naysayers will find hard to ignore.
- Talk Green. A growing number of customers are interested in what companies are doing to be greener. By developing a communications plan that describes your green programs and the benefits they offer customers, you can differentiate your organization while attracting new customers and top talent.
For more tips on how to green your business, or to learn more about EO’s partnership with Office Depot, contact Erik Witzel, EO’s Strategic Alliances Coordinator, at [email protected].