Ten tips to green your business

  1. Green business isn't a turn off... but you can save money and kilowatt hours by doing just that! Turn off lights, and equipment when not in use. Save up to 80% of your computer's energy consumption just by turning off the monitor, or scheduling system back-ups earlier in the evening. That way, computers are off for longer overnight.
  2. Get some rest... set copiers, printers and computers to go into sleep mode when idle for 15 minutes or more. You can still manually 'hit' the sleep button to nudge them into sleep mode earlier too. Save even more by turning computers off at night.
  3. Hug a tree... save our forests. Use 100% post-consumer recycled paper and reduce your paper costs by printing double sided. Don't forget to also think twice before you print at all.
  4. Did you know?

    Choosing recycled paper over virgin paper will save 17 trees and 7,000 gallons of water for each tonne of paper.

  5. If you can't measure it, you can't master it! Conduct an informal audit of your year-round energy consumption by reviewing your utility bills, or hire an energy auditor. Use the results to guide planning and goal-setting.
  6. Invest in low tech and high tech energy-saving solutions for your building or facility. Fluorescent or Light Emitting Diode (LED) lighting; programmable thermostats; occupancy sensors; Energy Star office equipment; high performance heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems; and solar hot water systems can all increase energy savings. Why not take advantage of BC Hydro Power Smart and Live Smart at Work support and financial incentives to undertake some of these energy and dollar saving solutions?
  7. For many businesses, the biggest carbon impact is generated through vehicle use. You can promote car sharing for commutes to and from work/meetings and provide subsidized transit passes. Why not keep a booklet of FareSaver tickets on-hand for employee trips during the day. Joining The Company Car, a division of Modo, and other car co-ops is a great alternative for employees travelling to meetings.
  8. Did you know?

    Riding your bike to work just one day a week can save 270 kilograms of greenhouse gas emissions per year.

  9. So you're green all over! But what about your supply chain? Ask your suppliers about their own green business practices; purchase products and services from businesses with greener products and practices; return excess packaging to your suppliers to send a message; learn how to formalize sustainable supply chain management from BuySmart Network or download Metro Vancouver's SmartSteps guide (PDF) to sustainable purchasing.
  10. When you're considering your business alliances, consider your financial institute. Are they a great model of a green business? Is your credit card an Enviro Visa? How about your business investments? Are they in socially and environmentally responsible funds through for example, IA Clarington Inhance SRI Funds?
  11. Engage your employees. Ask for suggestions on what you can all do to improve the eco-efficiency of your operation. If the ideas come from within, you are guaranteed greater uptake.
  12. Say it out loud. Establish a 'sustainability' policy statement and use your policy to guide all planning and decision-making. See Vancity's Statement of Values and Commitments (PDF). Make it public - your website is a great place to share your commitments, see the .
  13. Bonus tip

    Reward employees who help you achieve your eco-efficiency goals. Make it fun with in-house competitions and small prizes, or make it formal by integrating eco-efficiency performance considerations into hiring and compensation practices.