Going green 101
Creating a company that relies solely on sustainable resources may seem like a stretch for many Colorado businesses. However, Colorado is known for setting many “go green” trends that inspire others around the nation to constantly improve how businesses operate from a sustainability perspective.
At Amadeus Consulting, we are dedicated to improving how business men and women utilize energy and environmental resources. Our executive team and staff have found reasonable ways to take an environmentally conscientious approach to our business operations. After many years as a nearly zero-waste company, we felt it was time to share our sustainable workplace expertise with fellow Colorado businesses and entrepreneurs looking to be a little more eco-friendly.
Before launching a sustainability campaign for your business, you need to understand where you want to go with “green” business practices, and how to get there. Think about how you can solve one problem (in this case, reduce your environmental resources,) with multiple solutions.
Here are steps any business can take to become more sustainable.
Develop a “perpetual motion” mindset—As a business owner, try creating a culture of sustainability by first shifting your mindset to operating a business that is in “perpetual motion,” that is, one that’s based upon action-oriented goals that produce a continuous return on investment. Simple things like adding a recycling bin in every room will encourage employees to recycle since it is convenient for them to do so.
If you’re looking to go a little more “green,” consider initiatives that produce an output greater than the cost of the investment. Let’s offer a real-world example: Recently, our company purchased solar panels located offsite in a solar garden for every employee and future employee in the office. Unlike residential solar systems, solar gardens tend to be large in scale and professionally maintained, and are not connected to the facilities for which they generate power. In our case, we’ve been able to offset 10 percent of our electricity usage. Better yet, this energy offset will continue at 10 percent for decades to come with no additional outlay. Since we will generate more than we are paying out, we will reinvest and expand the system year over year, ultimately doubling our offset.
Join Business Leaders in Action for Sustainability Today! — BLAST! is an organization dedicated to helping any-size business make a positive impact on the environment. Over the years, BLAST! has helped numerous businesses think about how it is currently utilizing resources and encourages them to implement sustainable initiatives that improve energy and resource consumption. One of BLAST! participants Gold’n Plump Poultry, was challenged to go green in his manufacturing facility. Of the BLAST! training program Sustainability Manger Paul Helgeson said, “The training and support we received from the BLAST! program will help to make an impact on the company’s policies so we can be a sustainability champion in our community.”
Train employees and partners—Instead of striving for perfection when it comes to sustainability, strive to get those who are doing nothing, to do something. Rather than set the hard-to-reach goal of diverting 100 percent of your trash from landfills, train your employees and other companies about recycling and composting at the office and at home. If in the end you get your company and others in your network to even 80 percent, the impact if far greater than doing nothing at all.
Whether you’re an entrepreneur launching a startup or a seasoned business professional looking to be a little smarter about the resources your use, going green is a life-long commitment and one that should be approached thoughtfully. It is never easy to implement a sustainability initiative in the office, especially if your employees are used to the current company culture. However, with time and a little encouragement, you and your staff will see the results that will make everyone feel good about working for a company that cares about the world it works in.