Green Business – Thumbs Up!
Why choose to go green? Is it because our dollars are green or is it to make the future more sustainable? Going Green can be a simple process such as turning off the lights and faucets, reusing plastic bags, recycling your products or purchasing environmentally friendly products or services. These are the basic steps of going green, but lets start thinking of the “Bigger Picture” which lies ahead of us because it is about a better future by not wasting our resources but utilizing them environmentally effectively. Now let us look into the ways of going green. One should not confuse the term “going green” with the term ‘sustainability”, which are two different terms that should not be used interchangeably.
“Going Green” is the term used to describe green initiatives such as producing environmentally friendly products, manufacturing products using machinery that produces substantial less ozone omissions or decrease waste being dumped into municipal water supplies, or it can be providing a green service such as converting paper or hard copy files into digital ones (which will help eliminate the need to photocopy the document). Sustainability is a business term that is used to describe a profitable or growth-building process that can be maintained over a period of time usually for 3 years or greater.
Once you have been bitten by the green bug, there is no stopping, you will start spreading the word to others, ringing up the council, organizing collections and getting kids involved. In fact it is the kids” future, you are trying to help.
Here are some practical ways a small business can go green:
- Buy energy efficient office products and equipment,
- Buy green products for cleaning around your company,
- Use less paper,
- Recycle paper products,
- Consider allowing some employees to telecommute and telecompute from home,
- Recycle old computers and peripherals,
- Try creating a niche in the green market,
- Buy biodegradable office supplies,
- If applicable, switch company-owned vehicles to hybrids,
- When constructing new buildings, build green,
- Buy organic food or raw materials to use in manufacturing other products,
- Get green educated,
To go green, there is a plan that maps out an easier path to Green Business Certification, the steps are as follows:
- Don”t go at it alone – Going green is a kind of science now, and there are more elements than most people know in the process. Hire a certified Green consultant as an advisor to your company.
- Follow a Green Management plan – The Green Business League offers a 12-month installment program that map out how to initiate green transition steps for any company. Some are very simple, some are more complex, but they all earn points toward your green business certification.
- Green is progressive – each month, new ideas are offered that will allow an affordable phasing in of green practices. Any business can go green and earn a green business certification in as little as three months.
- Credit for existing progress – The Green management program awards points for green ideas already in place. This program actually allows a transition to green practices that are better than sending money to a distant agency while ignoring the health issues in your work place.
- Tackle the big step – there are hundreds of inexpensive and practical ideas for any business to go green. There are also several changes that will require a capital expense that must be planned. While planning for the bigger challenges, do not forget to address the smaller ones.
Things you will need:
- A green consultant would help,
- A modest budget for green ideas and initiatives,
- Leadership that is willing to go green (either the owner, a corporate officer, or respected employee),
What about being certified today:
To get certification is much easier today then it was 5 years ago. Now there are a growing number of organizations that can certify your business irrespective of the industry you are in.
GreenPointUS (www.greenpointus.com) has partnered with the “U.S. Green Building Council” which developed LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification. GreenPointUS will prep any individual willing to obtain certification and they have three courses for individuals to choose from with its level 100 class being entry level, level 200 for those whom are ready to take the examination, which is a full day class. Level 300 is for those whom are ready to take the examination and have passed the LEED green association exam. This is for certification in construction of buildings and structures (such as bridges)
Green Seal(www.greenseal.org) sets product standards and awards its label to a wide variety of products.
Scientific Certification Systems (www.scscertified.com) certifies those in the Agriculture, Manufacturing, and Electricity industries.
Energy Star Program (www.energystar.gov) is a federal government program that certifies energy efficient products.
Chlorine Free Products Association (www.chlorinefreeproducts.org) certifies all chlorine-free products.
USDA National Organic Program (www.ams.usda.gov) certifies Organic produce, in which the produce has to be grown at least 95% organic.
Green-e certification program (www.green-e.org) certifies those businesses that sell and distribute renewable energy, (such as natural gas).
Smartwood (www.rainforest-alliance.org) certifies wood products with the criteria set by the Forest Stewardship Council.
For NYC businesses – SSBx (Sustainable South Bronx) (www.ssbx.org) is a not-for-profit community organization located in the South Bronx section of the Borough of The Bronx in New York City, and they will train workers to perform in green jobs for certified LEED or green businesses.
Compliments to Certification:
To differentiate your product or service as environmentally sound, you may want to obtain certification from an independent third-party so that you can include their logo or “ecolabel” on your product’s packaging and other marketing materials. Ecolabeling is an effective way to market your products to consumers.
Now, let us waste no more time taking the steps to make your business green, profitable, and sustainable in today’s competitive world; in order to differentiate and be unique, you need to take your business to another level by going green.