It isn’t a secret anymore that the way we live our lives can significantly impact the environment. Chaotic buying habits, food waste, e-waste, and pollution are some of the ways in which people can negatively affect the environment and limit its resources. However, there are things that can, and should, be done by each and every one of us. Even the most minor eco-friendly action can help.
Indeed, it is difficult to change your life entirely to become green, as humans are not used to living the way they used to decades ago, before the internet and technology. Nowadays, convenience has become an essential aspect of people’s lives. For this reason, it might not be easy to let go of the ability to shop almost anything online or to give up on your smartphone and laptop. Frankly speaking, going digital can facilitate many job tasks. What’s more, this way, businesses can go paperless. But it is crucial to make the most of every opportunity to become eco-friendly.
Businesses are starting to realize the importance of environmentally friendly practices, especially as consumer behaviors are shifting and their values are focused more and more on helping combat environmental issues.
In any type of business, you have to adapt to consumer needs. Without your customers, your business will lose its lifeline. So, it is highly essential you constantly research your target audience so you can adapt accordingly. Your consumers’ needs and values highly impact their buying behavior and purchase intent. Regarding sustainable living, progressively more people are changing their habits and are interested in how to decrease their negative impact on the environment.
Studies have shown that a business can benefit if its focus is on environmental and social issues and its values relate to those of its customers. More specifically, from a study conducted in the U.S. in 2017, 88% of the respondents stated their loyalty is positively impacted given that the company is involved in environmental practices.
Apart from increasing the loyalty of your already established customers, you will also earn the trust of possible new ones. So, your business will benefit from attracting more customers, and you will also have a better impact on the environment.
Whether your area of focus is in retail, health, or hospitality, your business will produce a great deal of waste. The real difference will consist of what you do as a business to either reduce or adequately dispose of all the waste, impacting the environment as little as possible.
For instance, if you work in the food industry, there is a high amount of packaging that is needed to transport food safely and maintain it in a proper way. If you have a restaurant or catering service, the required packaging is mainly made of polystyrene, which cannot be easily recycled. However, it is not impossible. There is a recycling process that offers the solution of compacting the polystyrene used for some products. So, even if you use packaging produced from this material, you can collaborate with professional recycling companies to properly dispose of them.
Apart from introducing recycling bins within your company, both in the offices and in the warehouses at the production level, you can also get involved in responsibly discarding electronics. Known as e-waste, devices that are thrown away carelessly can damage the environment significantly. They contain a mixture of materials and even toxic chemicals, so it is vital you recycle them.
More and more electronic providers have specific programs – you give them the devices back for recycling, and they might even give you store credit. These programs consist of breaking down the device and recycle or reuse their parts.
Another way of reducing waste is to avoid using plastic as much as possible. If you have a delivery service, you can only send cutlery if the customer requires it. Even then, opt for a non-plastic alternative such as wood. Similarly, remove all plastic straws and, instead, choose the biodegradable paper option.
The same goes for supermarkets, as many still use plastic bags. However, in an attempt to encourage people to use less, owners of supermarket giants in some countries have introduced an extra charge for their plastic bags. This has decreased the number of people using them, and instead, consumers have started using reusable bags made from cotton. They last longer, and you reduce the use of plastic. Take, for instance, the fashion industry. Many companies use an immensely high number of plastic hangers, and when they aren’t reused, fashion brands simply throw them away.
So, many industries have been using plastic in one way or the other. Therefore, your business needs to start searching for better alternatives, as plastic can be extremely harmful to the environment. This material is difficult to recycle, and when not disposed of properly, it can reach landfills and oceans, greatly affecting the environment of fauna and flora. Moreover, plastic can last hundreds of years in excellent condition, so it can have a long-term negative impact.
Reduced carbon footprint
Your carbon footprint is essentially the emission of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere. Excess use of electricity or car fuel emissions are some of the examples that are harmful to the environment. These are consequences of individuals or organizations, and such actions release a high amount of carbon dioxide. However, there are ways to reduce your carbon footprint, so your impact is not as tremendous.
For instance, in recent years, new technology has been developed to use renewable energy, like solar panels. As opposed to when you use greenhouse gases, the way this technology works is that fossil fuels are no longer burned at high temperatures, damaging the environment.
As a business, from using solar panels, you can benefit money-wise. Your electricity costs will be highly reduced, which is always an aspect to consider when managing your business’ revenue and expenses. Not to mention, solar panels are a long-term investment, as their life extends to 30 years.