With gas prices rising and fears of natural resources running out, there is more pressure on companies to go green than ever. Many people believe a company can make these changes overnight, but the truth is that it isn’t as easy as we all think. It is extremely difficult for companies to change their manufacturing processes and business model, especially considering the long term capital investments that have been made. If feasible at all, these changes can take years to implement and require large capital investments that the company might not have. This doesn’t mean that there aren’t others ways for a company to reduce their carbon footprint. There are several smaller steps a company of any size can take to reduce their carbon footprint that are cost effective and have short implementation times. Here are three small programs that any company in any industry can implement to minimize their impact on the environment:
Use recycled paper products- Paper production accounts for 35% of trees cleared. Although a devastating statistic, this should be a call to action to switch to recycled paper products to save trees. While recycled paper products are slightly more expensive, the environmental benefits of saving the trees far outweigh the small price increase. Almost every paper product has a recycled form available, including paper towels, toilet paper, and boxes. The positive PR your company can generate is an added benefit of switching to recycled products; who doesn’t like an eco-friendly company?
Use mugs instead of paper cups- Over 6.5 million trees were cut down to make paper cups in 2006. This resulted in 253 million pounds of waste! Buying mugs for each employee and eliminating paper cups will be more cost effective in the long run, since there will no longer be a need for purchasing paper cups for coffee machines and water fountains.
Offer an incentive to carpool- This is a win-win situation for employers and employees! The EPA states that employers can save up to $2000 a year in parking space costs and maintenance by offering a carpooling program with big incentives for those that carpool. The EPA referenced a case study that was conducted by Cornell University where the campus started a carpooling program for employees and gave each a bonus for carpooling. The study estimates that this program helped reduce 10 million commuter miles each year. This has many benefits to air quality and also in reducing traffic congestions. On top of the environmental benefits, they estimate that Cornell saved $36 million dollars over 10 years with their carpooling program. Employees not only received extra money in the form of bonuses, but they save a substantial amount of money by splitting gas costs, tolls, and wear and tear on vehicles!
There is no reason that a company of any size and in any industry can’t implement these programs to reduce their carbon footprint. While the initial costs might have a small impact on the bottom line, the environmental benefits and long term savings far outweigh this minimal start-up cost. This shows that there really isn’t an excuses for any company, big or small, to take a few steps to reduce their impact on the environment.
Bio: Adam Bruk is a marketing strategist for an online sunglasses company. When he isn’t busy analyzing fashion trends, he enjoys reading marketing case studies, golfing, and traveling.