EO Q&A: Entrepreneurs and The Environment

Want to help save the planet while saving money for your business? Environmental services expert and EO Orange County member Daniel England touches on some easy ways you can “green” your business.

As an entrepreneur, I’d like to off-set my carbon footprint. What can I do for starters? “For many companies, the largest contributor to their carbon footprint is transportation, which includes commuting and business travel. Some things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint include allowing employees to telecommute and using online-conferencing systems, like WebEx.

“The second-largest contributor is typically consumption of electricity. To further reduce your carbon footprint, you can upgrade to energy-efficient lighting, install motion sensors for lighting (this can cut power consumption by up to 50 percent in some cases), adjust the thermostat and switch computers off at night. Policy changes like printing final copies only, printing double-sided copies and switching to digital files instead of paper files are also cost-effective ways to green your business.”

What are the benefits of having an eco-friendly business? “By being eco-friendly, not only are we helping the environment, but some of our actions can also help reduce business costs. So, one key benefit of having a green business is cost savings. However, there are several other benefits. For example, it can improve employee morale. Workers often seek out employers they view as good global citizens. Global citizenship is important, as many companies that adopt this philosophy require their suppliers to do the same. Further, I am aware of at least one bank that reviews companies’ sustainability plans before it will lend money. I suspect this trend will continue.”

How can I get my staff to buy into the “going green” concept? “Leading by example is a great way to start. When we get take-out food at work, we often take our plastic containers with us and have the restaurants serve us in those. It’s eye-catching, and it makes a statement. Making green initiatives a part of your key performance indicators for staff is also effective. For example, you could establish a green committee or give awards for employees’ green behavior. Each of these methods can be very effective in getting staff to support your environmental initiatives.”

What kind of impact can entrepreneurs have on the environment? “In my opinion, since entrepreneurs are the leaders of the business world, their impact can be huge. I believe the largest impact we can have is in dispelling the myth that going green costs more, and creating the win-win of saving the environment while saving money.”

Daniel England is the president of E2 Environmental, Inc. E-mail Daniel at [email protected].

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