New year, greener business: 6 simple ways to create a more socially conscious business

a greener business office

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The main reason people decide to work for themselves is for freedom and flexibility. But you also get to make your own decisions on what kind of business you set up and how you run it.

You can be a change-maker through your work. As an environmentally-minded business owner, you care about the world around you and you want to act. By running your own business, you have the power to create positive change in the world. You can also help educate others as you do it.

Maybe you create eco-friendly products or you want to start making greener choices in how you run your business. Or maybe, like me, you’re a service-based ecopreneur.

Creating an eco-minded, socially conscious business is important work. I’m a business coach for ecopreneurs because I think sustainable businesses can change the world.

Also, big plus – becoming more sustainable in your business makes sense for your business.

It will also attract more of your ideal customers or clients.

Customers are becoming more and more knowledgeable about the impact of people on the planet (and on other people). This growing consciousness is leading to a shift in who they want to work with or buy from.

People are looking for businesses that care about the environment, sustainability and how we treat other humans. These consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable goods.

But creating an eco-friendly business is not always easy. There are so many things to think about, it can get very overwhelming. As a coach, I start from the position that imperfect change is better than none. Start from where you are and take small steps. Here are 6 simple ways to reducing your carbon footprint in 2020.

1. Create a home office

Working from home reduces your carbon footprint by reducing transport-related greenhouse gasses. Reducing the number of vehicles on the road helps to reduce carbon emissions and improves air quality

Mobile technology, teleconferencing software and WiFi mean you don’t need in-person meetings. This is also great if you want to work with clients or customers all over the globe. I hold all my weekly client meetings online with people all over the world.

But working from home can be isolating and/or distracting or you might not have the space or equipment you need.

Have a look into local co-working spaces that you can walk to or that are accessible by bike or public transport. You can also do some research and ask questions about their green initiatives. You might be able to find a space that is conscious about its impact. Local public libraries are also a fantastic way to get out of the house and get your work done when you get into a rut.

With today’s technology, you can also find networks of like-minded people through social media. My new Facebook group is one such place. I created the group to provide resources, inspiration, and community for change-making entrepreneurs just like you who care about creating a sustainable future. Request to join the free group here.

Create a home office environment that is inviting. You are going to be spending a lot of time in your office so make it somewhere that inspires you. Thrift/buy second-hand furniture. Add some plants. Add a blanket so you can reduce your energy use in winter.

Strike a balance that works and is sustainable. You don’t need to work from home (or somewhere walkable) every day – one or two days a week is a great start.

Don’t forget about energy consumption

Working from home still requires energy so stay mindful of how much energy you use. You might invest in some tech to help you save energy, carbon and money.

If you can, switch to energy companies that use renewable energy sources and are committed to a greener future.

And don’t forget to turn off appliances when they are not in use. As we know, standby mode still uses energy.

2. Transport

If you do head out somewhere to work, can you walk, cycle or take public transport?

I know not everyone has access to good public transport and sometimes driving is necessary. Look into car-pooling is that is an option.

Taking public transport might not be as comfortable but it can make a big difference to your carbon footprint. Have a look at this great app that shows you your carbon emissions when getting from A to B. Then see how you can reduce your emissions by changing how you get around.

Start with a one-day a week if you can then add more as you work the routine into your day.

If you sell products you could offer free collections for local customers.  Look into different transport options and companies that offset/are working towards more sustainable transport methods.  Have a look at the USP Carbon Neutral Parcel Service.

3. Greener web hosting

This is a big one! Working from home or changing how you get to work both help to reduce your carbon footprint. But the internet and running a website produces a huge amount of carbon dioxide.

A website takes up a lot of energy and fossil fuels power the majority of servers that host these sites. Jack Amend, a website programmer and social entrepreneur, calculates that an average website with 10,000 views per month could be responsible for emitting up 4,7000 lbs of carbon. This is the equivalent of driving a car for over 5,000 miles. Yikes!

The good news is there are many green web hosting options to reduce your carbon emissions. The hosting site GreenGeeks aims to be as energy-efficient as possible.  They offset their energy usage by investing three times more into renewable energy sources.  DreamHost is another company that claims to be committed to reducing its impact on the environment. They use highly efficient technology and power from renewable sources.

Heads up: this is an important topic for ecopreneurs. I’m writing a whole blog post on green web hosting very soon. Make sure you’re following me on social media so you don’t miss out.

4. Reduce your waste

Take some time to reflect on how you could reduce the amount you consume and waste in your business. Think about reducing, reusing and recycling (in that order).

Aim for paperless, or less paper

Where in your business can you move towards being paperless or at least reduce the amount of paper you use?

Do you really need product swing tags? Do your customers really want that printed information with their purchase? Include all of the information on your website or in the order email for your online sales.

Can you use a digital calendar and digital to-do list? I try here but I still struggle to go fully digital. I have fully embraced the digital calendar but still, write down my to-do’s on paper. Just like you, I’m a work in progress!

Advertise digitally! It’s 2020 so you need to be building your email list and posting on social media. Move away from printing postcards and flyers. Look at advertising via newspaper websites rather than in print.

Don’t have an email list or not sure where to start with social media? I’d love to help. Book a free discovery call – click here.

If you’re a creative or artist look into creating a digital portfolio rather than printing your work.

Think about packaging

In what ways can you reduce your packaging, and avoid using non-recyclable materials? Spend time researching companies where you can source recycled, recyclable or sustainable packaging. Check out my blog post on sustainable packaging to get you started.

Sustainable Packaging

When you need to print, go local and look for green

Sometimes we do need to print things (or just really want to use a good old notebook for our to-dos!). Look into a local supplier to reduce transport costs. Research printing companies that use environmentally friendly inks and recycled or sustainable materials. A quick Google search gives you several options to choose from.

Other ways to reduce your waste include donating old electronics and office furniture. Refiling and recycling ink and toner cartridges should also be a priority. They are resource-intensive to manufacture and take thousands of years to decompose.

BONUS TIP: think beyond your business to build your green brand

Think about the clothes you buy (fast fashion is a huge carbon emitter). I’m working with an amazing sustainable fashion coach and transitioning into a sustainable capsule wardrobe this year.

Where possible make more responsible choices in the food you buy, the products you use and so on.

Talk about these decisions and how you run your business in your social media and blog posts.

This will not only help you build an eco-brand that consumers trust but will help educate others as well.

Always be authentic in your in branding and how you show up online and in person. Your business practices must be genuine if you want to attract and keep your ideal customers.

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Mel Bruce Ecopreneur Coach

Hi, I’m Mel. 

Business and marketing coach for eco-minded entrepreneurs who want to ditch the overwhelm and frustration to build a thriving business while having a positive impact on our environment. 

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