Can You Go Green Like These Big Companies?

Fortune Magazine recently unveiled its list of the top ten most environmentally conscious big businesses, among them Honda, Continental Airlines, and S.C. Johnson. Each of these companies is cutting down carbon emissions and scaling back or eliminating ozone-damaging chemicals in their products.

S.C. Johnson even built its own power plant near their factory in Sturtevant, WI that runs off of methane siphoned from a landfill! Now, perhaps you’re not in a financial position to build an eco-friendly power plant, but there are plenty of ways in which your business can make its carbon imprint smaller.

Helping the Environment with Eco-Friendly Solutions

Patagonia, the environmentally conscious clothing outfitter based in Ventura, CA, uses organic cotton in its products. Industrially grown cotton, on the other hand, is treated with pesticides. When combined with fertilizer runoff, these chemicals can leach out of storage pools and contaminate groundwater supplies. With the organic cotton products provided by Patagonia, this is successfully avoided.

Clif Bar, the energy bar company from Berkeley, CA, has also diverted some of its profits to help support a nearby wind farm. It has also switched its fleet of trucks to biodiesel instead of traditional diesel.

Seventh Generation of Burlington, Vt., is another green company that makes, among other things, cleaning supplies free of toxins, dyes, and artificial fragrances. Even Wal*Mart is getting in on the green angle, selling free-trade coffee and nontoxic cleaners at its Sam’s Club warehouse outlets.

Well, chances are that your company isn’t as big as these. But it’s still easy to go green.

Making it Easy to be Green

It used to be that being environmentally friendly was almost prohibitively expensive or hard to achieve, but as ecological responsibility took root in corporate America, access to green supplies or services has grown significantly.

A good example of this is compact fluorescent bulbs. A few years ago, they were an esoteric blip, and now they’re sold at Walgreens pharmacies. Compact fluorescent bulbs outlast incandescent light bulbs by five to ten thousand hours, and use only a quarter of the energy. Though a CFL is more expensive on the shelf, its long-term price is significantly lower than an incandescent bulb’s because you don’t have to replace the former nearly as often. (More on this later).

Making your workspace greener may actually cut costs in the long run. Even better, it helps the planet, to boot.

If you’re remodeling your office, consider using eco-friendly carpeting. You may not have been aware that most carpet sold today is made of nylon or other synthetics – these synthetics are woven onto a backing that’s affixed to the floor of your business and contain toxic irritants.

Indoor air pollution exists just as surely as the outdoor kind does.

When shopping for carpet, look for the Carpet and Rug Institute’s “Green Label” indicating that the tagged carpet has tested low for VOC (volatile organic compounds) and other toxin levels (among them formaldehyde). If you can, try to buy nonsynthetic carpeting. Interface Incorporated makes carpet tile out of rawhide, and might be worth a gander.

How Your Business can Make a Difference

Encourage the use of nontoxic substances: nontoxics won’t disrupt ecosystems to the extent that toxic chemicals will when they invariably leak from the places they are stored, like landfills. pittsburgh seo company

Use less paper and more e-mail and recycle whenever possible. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, recycling aluminum saves 11.5 billion kilowatt-hours of energy each year, and that, says the DoE, is enough energy “to light a city the size of Pittsburgh for six years.”

With gas prices rising steadily, it’s becoming more and more of a legitimate business concern to limit the usage of gasoline among coworkers and employees. It might be a fiscally responsible decision to create a carpool to increase company morale in the face of the impending petroleum crisis.

So, you don’t have to build a power plant or add biodiesel vehicles to your company motor pool in order to have a positive effect on the environment. It’s better to start small and work towards environmental responsibility that way.

Ask your coworkers or employees for suggestions as to how to diminish the carbon footprint of your business. Grassroots initiatives are the way to go with this kind of thing, because everyone’s contribution can make a difference to the way your business is run. So consider going green: it’s cost-effective, it’s appealing to the consumer, and most importantly, it’s the ethical thing to do.



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