Tell the world about your companies’ green initiatives

Any sincere and effective steps you take towards reducing the environmental impact of your operations can be a marketing asset to your company. ‘Green issues ’ are hugely topical today and both your customers and employees are likely to be interested in what your company is doing in response to climate change and other environmental challenges. Once you have established eco-logical standards and practices within your business and have achieved real and measurable improvements in your environmental impact, make sure you let consumers know about them. An increasing number of people are making purchasing decisions based on ethical and environmental considerations. Once you have created a clear eco-logical message about your company, you can use the environmental media to communicate your environmental initiatives and commitments to consumers.

Create an environmental policy for your company

Creating an environmental Policy for your company is a valuable exercise. An environmental policy will not only guide you in identifying how best to reduce your company’s impact on the environment but the process can also help improve the cost effectiveness and efficiency of your operations. Over time your policy will act as a blueprint to help you build a sustainable and ethical business.

Never commit ‘green wash’!

It is very important that the communications you send out from your company can never be referred to as ‘greenwashing’! Ensure that any environmental claims that you make are honest, realistic and do not attempt to mislead consumers in any way. Any degree of misrepresentation could, if exposed, result in a very negative and public backlash against your company. It is far more honourable and credible to admit that you are far from being environmentally neutral, but are committed to making specific, identifiable and quantifiable eco-logical improvements.

Use environment-friendly wall paint

When decorating your home or office, use environment- friendly wall paint (see ‘Paint’ in The Enviropaedia for a range of options). As well as benefiting the environment because they have less polluting by-products in the manufacturing process, you will also be creating a healthier work and living environment by using paint that does not contain volatile organic compounds (VOCs) which are harmful to inhale and can cause headaches and nausea.

Fill your office with plants and keep staff healthy and happy

For the health and happiness of your staff, bring nature into the office by filling it with easy to maintain plants. Plants give out oxygen, make your office look wonderfully luxuriant, and help create a sense of calm for your staff in busy and stressful times.

Measure the environmental footprint of your business

Find a reputable auditing company that can come in and measure the carbon footprint of your business. They will give simple guidelines to follow to lessen your company’s impact on the environment, as well as saving your company money. Any measures that you take can also feed into the environmental profile of your company.

Green your supply chain

Ensuring the environmental credentials of the organisations that supply your company with goods and services – will take you a long way down the road to running a more eco-logical business. When purchasing office equipment and computers, employing caterers or a cleaning company, ask questions about what the company is putting back into the community and the environment. Are their products recyclable and environmentally friendly? Do they have an environmental or social responsibility policy in place? And if they don’t, keep looking until you find a product or service provider that is willing to be part of the eco-logical movement. Also, read the Article on Green Supply Chains in the Thought Leader Section in the Enviropaedia.

Form a lift club

Lift sharing is a great way to connect with people, and save the planet at the same time. Club together with work colleagues living in your area, and create a driving roster so that one full car arrives at work rather than several half empty ones. The same applies to parents living in your neighbourhood. Instead of doing the Great School Trek every day, you will only be dropping off and collecting the kids once or twice a week, saving you time and petrol.

Create a bike-friendly office

If you own a business, encourage staff members to cycle to work by installing a bike rack where they can safely lock up their bikes. If possible, also make a shower accessible to staff so that they can shower off after a sweaty ride to work. If you are an employee, chat to your boss about helping the environment by making cycling a part of office life.

Make use of natural light

Make as much use of existing natural light in your office and at home as possible. Where you have to turn on the lights, make sure that they are fitted with compact fluorescent bulbs, or LED’s, which use considerably less electricity than incandescent bulbs. You can get environmentally friendly lights from Pick n Pay, as well as most good lighting stores.