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Green business

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The SmallBusiness.com WIKI Guide to Green business is a collaborative project created by users of the SmallBusiness.com WIKI. It provides an overview of basics related to this topic. Find more guides at The SmallBusiness.com WIKI Guides Hub.


The terms sustainable business or green business refer to those enterprises that take aggressive steps to have as little as possible negative impact on the world's environment.

How a business can go green

Today, the term "going green" is used to describe steps that a business and its employees can take to lessen the company's impact on the environment. Typically these steps involve lessening the "carbon footprint," which means the amount of Carbon Dioxide generated by the business practices and processes of the company. For some, the practices are common-sense and practical steps to take to use less energy and thus save money and lessen the world's dependency on oil.

Adopting environmentally-friendly and energy efficient business practices provides numerous benefits to new business owners looking to control costs, attract customers, and become socially responsible.

Here are some important information on implementing an environmental strategy for your business, including steps to becoming energy efficient, compliant with environmental regulations, and a recognized "green business."

Comply with environmental regulations

As a green business, you should practice what you preach. This means complying with all environmental regulations relevant to your business. Compliance not only protects the environment, it protects your business from fines and legal action from the government. .

Develop an environmental management plan

Running a green business means creating an environmentally-friendly, energy efficient workplace. A sound environmental plan will help minimize your company's eco-footprint, and encourage green business practices throughout your organization.

Build green

If you are opening a business in a new or remodeled building, make sure you build green and install energy efficient heating and air conditioning systems, appliances, equipment and lighting.

Buy green products

Consider buying green products that are:

  1. Made from post-consumer, recycled materials
  2. Bio-based
  3. Non-toxic
  4. Energy efficient rated products
  5. Renewable and recyclable
  6. Locally produced, such as food that is locally grown and organic
  7. Purchase ENERGY STAR or other energy-rated appliances and office equipment
  8. Provide energy saving tips to your employees
  9. Seek green power and renewable energy sources

Adopt energy efficient practices

Good energy management is good business. The prudent and conservative use of energy is one of the easiest and most cost effective steps you can take to cut costs, increase profitability, and create shareholder value. Given the potentially high returns and minimal risk, implementing energy efficiency practices is at the core of most business environmental management strategies.

Conduct an energy audit

Whether you are opening a home based business or moving into an existing commercial building, having an energy audit conducted on your facility will help you quickly identify areas where you can save energy costs.

Reduce, reuse, recycle wastes

Most businesses can save a substantial amount of money by reducing waste. In addition to lower removal costs, waste reduction measures help cut costs on raw materials, office supplies and equipment. Furthermore, by streamlining your operations to reduce waste, you may also be able to enhance your overall efficiency, productivity and public image.

Develop waste management procedures throughout your operations that includes:

  1. Use of post-consumer, recycled products
  2. Elimination of excessive product packaging materials
  3. Optimized use of paper products
  4. Participation in recycling programs, such as EPA's WasteWise

Conserve water

The increased demand on our nation's water supply is threatening human health and the environment. By implementing a water efficiency program, you can not only help conserve this precious resource, but cut your costs associated with buying, heating, treating and disposing of it.

  1. Have a water audit conducted at your facility by your local water agency
  2. Conserve water using best available technology and water saving equipment utilities
  3. Minimize discharges to sewer/wastewater

Prevent pollution

Every business generates waste. For some, it may be only waste paper or dirty water; for others, it may be hazardous or toxic wastes that require special handling and disposal.

Whatever the type or volume of waste your company generates, it is costing you money. You pay for what you use twice - once when you buy it and the second time when you throw it away. The bottom line is that preventing waste will save you money.

Create a green marketing strategy

If you are starting a green business, you need to market yourself as one. Adding "green" claims and eco-labels to your marketing strategy will enhance your brand image and secure your market share among the growing number of environmentally concerned consumers.

Join industry partnership and stewardship programs

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) sponsors a wide variety of industry partnership and stewardship programs that aim to reduce the impact of industrial activities on the environment. These partnerships will help you build relationships with other green business owners in your industry, and build a brand that's credible with your customers.

See Also

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