Small-business owners often think of ‘going green’ as a double-edged sword. On one hand, many think of going green as the ideal thing to do to support the environment and the local community. Yet many also see it as an excess expense that can’t be recouped.
As a small-business operator, what should you do? Is the amount of time and money you will spend on going green worth the investment?
The solution is: Yes. Go green. An increasing number of companies are going green daily.
Most small-business owners don’t understand that environmental management can be beneficial to the business in ways that go beyond helping the environment:
- From an inner operations standpoint, going green can actually reduce costs and help prevent obligations, in addition, to present unexpected business opportunities if your business could offer an environmental solution to other people. You may even go so far as to receive certification from an independent third party so that you can incorporate their logo or”ecolabel” on your product and other green marketing materials. Eco-labeling helps promote your product to green-conscious customers.
- From an external standpoint, by going green your business is that a lot more appealing to investors, lenders, insurers, customers, and employees.
Environmental management is rapidly becoming a bottom-line benefit – and a proverbial win-win – for small businesses.
Not All or Nothing
Environmental management isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. There’s so much that could be done to go green – from purchasing green products to recycling to using green technologies to shifting to solar energy. A large number of choices can seem overwhelming.
Yet, there’s a tangible approach to environmental management that could be readily mapped out and executed according to the way you prefer to conduct business. It entails, simply, developing an Environmental Action Plan.
Develop an Environmental Policy
This is both an internal and external announcement that formalizes your organization’s level of commitment toward moving green.
First, decide what’s most suitable for your management and personnel. Whether implementing a recycling program or moving to solar energy, decide on what’s going to work best for you. Then, put this decision into an official document. The record will serve two functions:
- to help communicate to the entire business your environmental degree of commitment, and the first step toward communication workers’ environmental responsibilities
- to help communicate your environmental management plans to suppliers, clients, shareholders, and the community so everyone will know about where your company stands in its own efforts to go green.
There’s also an environmental policy worksheet – including samples and guidelines – from the EPA Environmental Management Plan Workbook.
Build an Environmental Manual
An Environmental Manual will be your “how to” document. This will map out the details of your environmental management plan and how, exactly, you intend to go green.
This record should include things like the one’s environmental regulations and permits that pertain to your business, as well as best practices for environmental management. It’s important to remember that these details will be quite different depending on your business and your business. Regulations, permits, and best practices will be vastly different for food service, healthcare assistance, or landscape service businesses.
And, of course, there’s also an environmental guide planning worksheet – including samples and guidelines – from the EPA Environmental Management Plan Workbook.
As soon as you’ve got the details in place, it is time to go green – based on an Environmental Policy and Environmental Manual. You must, of course, apply any necessary training and extra communication to business employees. You should also:
- Keep records of your environmental management actions
- Monitor your environmental compliance
- Quantify your environmental performance
- Report your environmental results
After your environmental management plan was in place for a substantial amount of time, you will also need to conduct an environmental review to learn what’s working, what is not, and what additional policies you might want to put in place over time.
There’s so much you can do as a small business to go green. While moving to solar energy might be out of your reach, implementing a simple recycling program might be just the perfect fit. In actuality, you might be amazed that the more you do, the more it will benefit both your organization and the environment.
For more detailed information about going green, such as Environmental Management and how to assemble an Environmental Action Plan, Contact Us!