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Oct 28, 2019

4 Essential Steps for Environmentally Friendly Businesses

Green initiatives in the workplace are not only great for the world we live in, but they can also be great for your profits by helping you identify ways to conserve resources and save money in the long-term.

We asked Angela Nagy, a Kelowna Chamber Board Director and President & CEO of GreenStep Solutions Inc., for some advice in making your business more environmentally friendly.

1. Minimize Waste in the Office

Office supplies are often bought in bulk and are designed to be disposable. As a result, we've gotten into a habit of being quick – a little too quick – to throw things away.

You can focus on reducing your paper usage by printing double-sided documents and only making copies and prints when it's truly necessary.

“Make recycling easy for employees,” says Angela. “Containers that are clearly labelled for paper only in recycling in copy rooms and recycling bins next to each desk will significantly cut down on how much paper hits the trashcan.”

2. Review Your Procurement Practices

Taking a look at your procurement practices is another simple step you can take toward environmental sustainability. “Seek out suppliers who consider sustainability in the goods and services they provide and who don't use substances that are toxic or harmful to the environment,” says Angela. “You could also look for suppliers that don't use excessive packaging and who offer a service where they'll take back packaging for reuse. Best of all reduce the amount of stuff you buy in the first place to cut costs.”

You might also consider switching to a green web hosting option to cut down on your business's carbon footprint. With green hosting, some or all of the energy comes from a renewable power source or has had its carbon impact offset. Green hosting options are typically the same cost as regular hosting services. 

3. Create an Energy Management Policy for your Office

Creating an energy management policy for your business to ensure lights, screens and equipment are turned off or put on a power bar that can easily be turned off, when not in use. As well, program or change the thermostat to ensure that the building is not being heated/cooled to the same extent when the building is unoccupied. These changes can save hundreds and even thousands of dollars depending on the size of your business. 

“If you want more energy saving tips, GreenStep is currently working with FortisBC to deliver free energy assessments for businesses in Kelowna to help identify both low/no-cost changes as well as rebate opportunities to help cut your energy consumption and costs,” says Angela. To sign up for a free assessment visit www.FortisBC.com/smallbusiness. Sign up soon as the program is available for a limited time. 

4. Dispose of Old Furniture and Electronics Properly

After completing an office renovation or upgrading your computers, what happens with the old furniture and electronics? Landfills across the country are already overflowing. Furniture can take decades to break down; in fact, many of their parts won't break down at all. 

“Electronics contain heavy metals like mercury and zinc that can leach into the soil, poisoning plant and animal life and eventually contaminating our waterways,” says Angela. “Fortunately, furniture and electronics can both be easily donated if they are in working condition and electronics can be recycled for free, helping to minimize your business's environmental footprint.”

Your business can set a valuable example to our community, modeling sustainability and environmentally friendly practices. Follow these steps to enjoy cost savings while doing your part for the community.