04 Oct People, Planet, Profit and 7 Good Resolutions
People, Planet, Profit and 7 Good Resolutions
A New Year is often a time for new resolution. A business, like a person is always tempted to have a vision for its future but then somehow will find ways to procrastinate or to hide behind the fear of change. A good resolution for the new year is to start measuring one’s contribution to the idea of People, Planet and Profit. It then triggers many others.
Sometimes just the thought of change is so overwhelming that we continue to put it off as long as possible. When you run a business, no matter the size, that stress can be multiplied exponentially. Making changes to become more environmentally friendly does not have to be feared. First, you can make these changes in steps at a comfortable pace; the most important part is to begin. Second, complete the steps that are easiest to implement before tackling the rest. To help you on this endeavor here are some suggestions.
Step 0) Measure, or as the saying says “if you are not keeping score, you are just practicing”
Step 1) Change them out. Change every single light bulb. Incandescent light bulbs use more energy than their alternative compact fluorescent light bulbs. CFL bulbs not only save energy but greenhouse gasses are not produced during their production or use.
Step 2) Adjust the Thermostat. The easiest step by far is to adjust the thermostat at your place of business and at home. When facing hot summers and high heating bills you can adjust the thermostat from 68 degrees to 74 or 76 degrees. Of course the reverse is true for winter months. Setting the thermostat for 64 degrees instead of 68 or 70 degrees will make a noticeable change in your monthly usage. Invest in a digital thermostat, if you have not already done so and make this change truly simple. If your business is only active for part of the day you can set the thermostat by an extra 5-10 degrees during the hours that the space is unoccupied. While it may take a small amount of energy for the thermostat to adjust the temperature for working hours (set it to start the business day about an hour before staff arrives) the energy savings during those off hours will far outweigh this short expenditure.
Step 3) Flip the switch. When you leave the room, remember to turn off the lights. In addition to this you can also take advantage of natural light and adjust to use less artificial light when you have a bright day and plenty of windows.
Step 4) Recycle. Have recycling bins next to trash cans and encourage employees to use them. One way to encourage employees to use these regularly is to offer an incentive of a paid hour off work each month when there is an increase in recycling efforts or a decrease in waste.
Step 5) Conserve water. Encourage employees to bring reusable water bottles to work. Install a building wide or localized water filtration system. This will reduced the waste from plastic water bottles.
Step 6) Carpool. Create a private message board on your website or server for employees to connect for carpooling options. With increasing gas prices employees will quickly see a savings.
Step 7) Use your feet. Offer incentives to employees who walk or ride their bikes to work. Many area businesses are willing to donate passes or gift certificates to employee wellness and conservation programs. These make great little rewards for employees who get to work under their own power. Bonus time off with pay is always a wonderful way to inspire your workers to do what they can to make a difference.
There is no set rule on how to make the change to a more environmentally conscious business but this short list is a place to begin. Do not let fear keep you from making a difference.