Environmental education & networking
In this step, we will list ways you can use your business to promote positive environmental and social change. Building synergy with employees, customers, and other businesses will be a key factor in your success.
Going green is like a big wave. To keep it moving, it is important for each of us to continue learning about how we can change our ways and to share that information with others. You can use your business as a tool to educate others. In the process, it promotes your business as a positive role model in the business community. Here are some helpful ideas:
Educate and encourage your employees
Develop a training program that shows ways employees should Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. Include steps such as turning off lights in rooms that aren’t being used, recycling paper, cans, bottles, and make sure to cover proper equipment use, such as power saving settings on computers, copiers, and printers. You might want to provide ongoing incentives to encourage participation. Some tools available to you may include the employee manual/handbook, new employee orientation, newsletters/bulletins, and your internal website (if you have one). You might also consider adding employee participation in your green business program to job descriptions and performance appraisals.
Educate and encourage your customers
Through the sale of your products or services, you can let your customers know the importance of going green. Provide them with information on how they can use your products or services in a greener way. Set an example by using green recyclable marketing materials.
Be a good neighbor
Assist at least one other business with becoming green. Help them learn the steps to becoming green. Share your knowledge and experience with them. Take them on a tour of your office to show them what you have done.
Green your suppliers
Work with suppliers that are green businesses. Ask your suppliers how they are green or ask them to share their plans to go green with you. You might be able to build synergy and help each other out in ways you never thought of.
Join organizations that are committed to the environment, such as Co-op America, your local chapter of the Sustainable Business Alliance (SBA), or the Green Chamber of Commerce. See what local resources are available to you and take advantage of that synergy. Join the local chamber of commerce and use them as a forum. Network with other green businesses and share your success stories.
The “Reuse Network”
The “Reuse” step involves transferring items you can’t use anymore to someone who can still find use in the item. Do you have surplus materials? Use your network of green contacts to share items you can’t use anymore. Others may have items you can use as well. If you can’t find local resources, consider selling your items through online auctions.
For larger employers
Encourage car pooling, mass transit, biking and walking. Provide a shuttle service to large offsite events. Provide lockers and showers for employees who walk/jog/bike to work. This also helps encourage healthy exercise habits on breaks. Offer a secure location to store bicycles.