There are many reasons for a business to go green. Advantages to being greener include tax breaks, marketing goals, and even just the satisfaction of knowing you are making a positive impact on the world around you.
For example, simply switching to post-consumer waste (PCW) paper is something almost any size company can do. PCW paper uses about 45% less energy in their processes than traditional paper manufacturers. Purchasing PCW paper is one step, but you can also easily save paper scraps to recycle even further.
There are many other ways to be greener as a company, too. Some ways are small, and some are big and innovative. The best way to figure out what might work for your company is to look at what other companies are doing that has been successful.
One company that has tried to make a positive influence on the environment is McDonald’s. Since McDonald’s has a huge impact on the waste in the United States, it makes sense that this corporate giant would look for ways to reduce this impact and be a friendly neighbor to the country.
McDonald’s serves around 62 million people every day, and that creates a lot of waste. There are the wrappers and boxes for the food. There are the to-go bags. Then, there is the waste generated behind the counter. You can imagine that even if they only did some small things to go green, it would be significant.
McDonald’s has set a pretty aggressive goal of reducing their waste: to recycle 50% of in-restaurant waste by the year 2020. They are starting with their top markets to perfect the process and plan to branch out from there. Some things they are doing are quite innovative, such as recycling used coffee grounds to community gardens.
Even smaller companies can learn from this model. You can certainly place used coffee grounds in garden beds around your office building, for example.
Shipley Energy is an example of a company using a very specific type of green energy to help protect the environment. They utilize “green electricity,” which is simply a combination of renewable energy sources. These are made up of solar, wind, hydro and geothermal power. These renewable energy sources aren’t used up like coal or gas is.
However, the company doesn’t just stop at providing green energy. They also actively seek out ways to further reduce their own carbon footprint. One takeaway that companies of any size can learn from Shipley is that renewable energy sources can have a huge impact on the environment. Even if you just install a solar panel or two to start, it can make a difference over time.
Home Depot once had a bad reputation in the green community. The Rainforest Action Network named them as one of the worst companies out there for their use of old-growth wood. The company began to receive consumer calls, and protestors stood outside their stores rallying against the company’s practices. They decided to create a new sales policy that included “no old-growth” to show that they would no longer take old trees from rainforests and other sources.
Their campaign is called Eco Options, and not only do they address the concerns about the old-growth wood with their new sales policies, but they offer ways for consumers to be more eco-conscious as well. For example, they offer energy efficient and water efficient products.
Businesses can take an example from Home Depot’s reaction to consumer concerns. If your customers are concerned about some aspect of your business not being green, listen to what they have to say and figure out a way to fix it.
Home Depot’s Eco Options campaign is brilliant because it soothed angry consumers while also coming up with a sales plan to offer products that reach out to this particular customer demographic, offering them the products to live a greener life.
You might be surprised to see a beer company on this list, but that just goes to prove that with a little creativity, any company can make a positive green impact on the earth. The company set some five year goals aimed at reducing waste and being greener.
One way that the company is accomplishing this is by using water management in its manufacturing. In the United States, the company set a goal to reduce waste from aluminum cans, boxes and partitions used sales of their product. They made their lids on their cans just slightly smaller, reducing aluminum waste, for example. This has saved about 300 metric tons of aluminum already.
Businesses can learn a lot by studying the Anheuser-Busch model. They took something very simple and by making a change, they have had a huge impact on the amount of waste produced by their product.
Simply adjusting the diameter of aluminum can lids is something that doesn’t particularly impact the consumer or their enjoyment of the product, but it does help save the environment for future generations. That is something we can all get behind as a society.
These companies are on the cutting-edge of green business practices. They also market these practices effectively, helping improve their bottom line. By implementing a few new policies for your business, you can also take advantage of green marketing and help your company’s image flourish.