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Investing in Earth is no longer just a trendy thing for enterprises to consider and maybe get around to implementing. It could mean problems for your company, as climate change has the potential to upend profitability, supply chains and how we go about our everyday lives.
But implementing sustainability is not easy. With nearly 40% of all global CO2 emissions coming from buildings and infrastructure, and public transit in the U.S. pumping out 29% of the nation’s total greenhouse gas emissions, the challenge can be daunting. A report from The New York Times showed almost half of the world’s 500 biggest corporations could face up to $1 trillion in costs related to climate change in the next five years.
How do you take this climate crisis, and the number of headaches it can create, and package it so that stakeholders take notice? With real, hard facts and data. Green technologies can pave the way for you to show that what is good for the planet is actually good for your business at the same time.
Data-driven systems can help monitor the environment, conserve natural resources, protect our precious open areas, and reduce the impact of humans. One analysis showed companies that took a 360-degree approach to the problem used artificial intelligence to drive cost savings, cloud-based data to optimize their performance, and digital products to create an incentive for consumers. Businesses are rethinking the issue and turning away from traditional approaches, whether that’s AI being used to optimize energy efficiency or a new app that changes how packages are delivered while reducing carbon emissions.
In the end, the company saves money, remains profitable, and is often rewarded by consumers and investors all while helping protect Planet Earth.
So, what are some easy-to-implement solutions for your enterprise?
1. Reimagine your office waste
You can reimagine your office waste and how you deal with it. Landfills are among the largest sources of methane emissions in the U.S. and nearly half of our waste is sent there. A radical, easy-to-install approach for recycling, composting, and waste diversion could save you money and fight climate change. By recycling paper, for example, fewer trees are cut down meaning more CO2 is absorbed from the atmosphere, fewer logs are taken to a paper mill cutting down on fuel consumption and that paper can be remanufactured.
2. Increase awareness among your employees and customers
Create a green team. Educate your employees and customers about recycling and waste diversion. Brainstorm ways to implement environmental initiatives. The best way to get your employees and customers on board with sustainable solutions is to educate them about their impact on the planet and encourage them to think outside the box. The average American generates 19 metric tons of greenhouse gasses per year. If you have 25 employees, you’re generating enough each week to fill the Statue of Liberty. Spread the message among your workforce and consumers to start thinking greener.
3. Choose video conferencing over business travel
Another approach is to limit your business travel. With the world still dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, video conferencing technology has taken off, replacing what would have been a person in a seat on a plane burning jet fuel. It is now easier than ever to connect with employees across the globe without ever leaving your home or office. In some instances, you won’t even need an internet connection if using a smartphone. The savings could easily equal thousands of dollars for a business and another step in the right direction for the planet.
4. Need product? Choose sustainable suppliers
Consider choosing sustainable suppliers. Smarter purchasing decisions and suppliers who use sustainable materials mean cost savings. More and more sustainable products and services are hitting the market using valuable post-consumer base materials. These use less energy, produce less waste and contribute to a closed-loop process, meaning one company’s waste is another’s raw material. One study found that 55% of customers are willing to pay more for goods and services that come from companies committed to having a positive impact on the environment.
5. Use energy-efficient office equipment
Another easy solution: upgrade the lights. Energy consumption is responsible for over one-third of all CO2 emissions in the U.S. The average office building pays out more than $30,000 every year in just energy costs alone. The EPA estimates that businesses could save over 1.5 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions if every office product purchased in the U.S. was ENERGY STAR certified.
Saving money and saving the planet can go together like peas and carrots, high tide and low tide, and sunrise and sunset. They can work in perfect harmony. The right plan with the willingness to pursue sustainability goals and the reimagining of how new or existing technology can get you there is the roadmap. While the process is long and involved, there are small steps that can be taken in the here and now to get started down that path. The journey of recycling 1,000 tons of paper begins with a single sheet.
Graham Rihn is CEO and founder of RoadRunner Recycling.
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