These days, more and more people are becoming environmentally conscious, worrying about how to bring the planet back from the brink of catastrophe due to climate change, and in the face of worldwide pandemics, disastrous natural events like forest fires, earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. The world is hurting, and all of us are trying to do what we can to ease that pain.

In recent years, even Big Business has been forced to perk up and take notice of these efforts, and do what they can to reduce their own waste, as well as take measures to operate, market and function in a way that is more eco-friendly and sustainable. Not only for the good of the environment, but for the peace of mind of their clients and customers, who are demanding change from the ground up. 

So what can you do to still promote your business while reducing your carbon footprint and implementing eco-friendly practices in the workplace? It is easier than you might think. We’ve laid out a few ideas below. 

Branded Merchandise the Sustainable Way

Many companies have cropped up in recent years that offer eco promotional items to help market your business and provide “merch” to your customers without impacting the environment in negative ways. These items are alternatives to the usual boring, cheaply made plastic toys and trinkets that inevitably end up getting thrown into a drawer.

Think hand-made items crafted from fine wood or biodegradable materials, everything from the usual badges, pins, stickers and lanyards (not to mention pens and pencils) to more elaborate items like cups and glasses, totes and t-shirts, and truly unique and cool stuff like cutting boards, knife sets, and even toys like puzzles and more, all of which are made with eco-friendly materials. You’ll feel good about this branded merchandise and your clients and customers will be thrilled to receive them – these are items they’ll feel good about using and truly enjoy. 

Support Local

Supporting fellow local businesses goes much further than just buying your morning latte at the local coffee shop (though that’s a good start and you should definitely do that). Teaming up with local businesses at the ground level, promoting their products, creating products together, and co-hosting events are all great ways to show your support for fellow local small businesses while promoting your own in turn. 

Donate your time as well as your support by putting your name behind environmental initiatives and candidates that you care about at the local level. Find ways to showcase your unique expertise, business acumen and knowledge by putting your voice as well as your efforts behind the causes you care about. 

You can even go one further and regularly donate to local charities (including creating goods and services in which the proceeds go to one delegated non-profit or charity of your choice), sponsor local groups, teams and schools and even volunteer your time at the local level. You can find creative ways to support your local community. They’ll thank you for it by remembering the good you did and remembering your business for their needs in future. 

Work with Eco-Friendly Companies and Practice Eco-Friendly Business

No matter what type of business you run, you want to make sure that the manufacturers and companies you do business with daily are also eco-friendly and practice safe environmental measures. It can be as simple as switching to local companies for your coffee and tea, rather than buying from a chain, using suppliers that guarantee organic and eco-friendly items, using sustainable and environmentally safe cleaning products in your office, and striving to recycle any and all waste you accumulate on the job, and lots of other little ways to ease the strain on the environment. 

Reducing the amount of plastics you use is a big one. Consider switching to paper or glass, dependent on your company’s needs. Purchase sustainable and energy efficient appliances and lighting; work with local companies to make your office space more energy efficient and environmentally sound. Buy local wherever you can. 

Research the companies that you do the most business with to see how they fare when it comes to eco-friendly practices.

Show Off Your Efforts

When you work hard to reduce your carbon footprint and become more eco-friendly in your business, you shouldn’t hesitate to tell people! 

These days, people are so, so happy to hear that a company they love are doing everything they can to help the environment. Just making the effort to become more eco-friendly will give your business a boost, solidify your reputation locally, and fill clients and customers will goodwill towards your business. It’s a win-win – for the environment, and for you!

Many business owners worry that going eco-friendly will drive up their costs considerably, and while they want to do what they can to reduce their environmental impact in theory, they fall short in practice. They’re worried they can’t afford it, or that they’ll fall short. The truth is, when you go eco-friendly, in a very short amount of time you’ll begin to see that not only is it not as expensive as you think, being eco-friendly, but that it can even save you money in some cases (such as energy bills, the cost of removing waste, and so on). 

And baby steps are just fine! Nobody expects a company to go completely eco-friendly in a single day! It’s a process that takes time. Every little step you make towards becoming environmentally safer is one that your clients, your community, your employees and the world will appreciate. It can be as simple as starting with some eco-friendly promotional items, or deciding to recycle. It’s as simple as donating some money to a grassroots organization in your town, or reducing the amount of plastic you use. We all have to start somewhere, right? 

Becoming an eco-friendly business isn’t as hard as you think. Together, we can save the planet one eco-friendly business at a time. 

By Erica Buteau

Change Agent. Daydream Believer. Maker. Creative. Likes love, peace and Jeeping. Dislikes winter, paper cuts and war. She/Her/Hers.

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