Making Your Business Green | Where to Start? Lifestyle | August 16, 2009 | By The Brainchild Group

Converting business practices to being green and eco-friendly is especially difficult for many businesses that are well-established, slightly more traditional, and stuck on their usual ways. This is a pattern, or shall I say mindset, that can be broken and a level of green zen [ohh I like that!] can be achieved by implementing one green change at a time. This article will hopefully encourage and enlighten businesses that are contemplating adhesion to green, eco-friendly practices. In some instances, such as this one, the grass is in fact greener on the other side.

When thinking about the thousands of items in your office, your marketing efforts, printing, employees, etc.: step back, take a deep breath, and start breaking your office down by room or purpose. Once broken down, ask yourself what products are most consumed? If your copy room or printer spits out over 25 reams of paper per day, like many law firms I know, this is an excellent place to begin your green journey; a true journey it is.

Stationary items and office paper are truly one of the first steps to making your company green. Conventional, forest-depleting paper products need to be used and never purchased again [remember, don’t throw perfectly good paper out the window]. There are hundreds of companies throughout the world that offer recycled, sustainable, eco-conscious paper products. Contact a local supplier and build a solid relationship with them.

On to the good stuff, your company’s marketing efforts need to adhere to your green philosophy. You’re marketing your company name, your product or service, and ultimately your ability to help in preserving this currently livable planet [are there others? Applies tin foil hat]. The below changes should be made to your marketing:

1) Eliminate print advertisements including flyers, postcards and other mass mailings in favor of eco-friendly internet marketing mediums including Flash banner ads and web-based flyers, search engine optimization, pay-per-click campaigns [I’m not usually a fan], building a more informative website to act as an online brochure, and relying on viral videos, which are truly the wave of the future. If a picture says a thousands words, imagine what a video says.

2) All printed items, such as business cards and tri-fold brochures, should be printed with soy ink on recycled paper products.

3) For cold-contact sales, attempt to email initially as it’s one of the greenest marketing techniques. Since cold-contacts are almost always the ones to dispose of flyers and mailings, skip the entire process and contact them with an informative, well-written email introducing your product/service. Save time, money, and the environment at the same time.

Do I smell toast burning? Ahhhhh, yes I do. Am I the only one who thinks of this when I hear the words office and kitchen together? I remember the burnt toast days, which were glorious until I removed the toaster. Back on topic, your kitchen is an excellent place to greenify your business. Using recycled paper plates as well as good ole’ dishes is a solid stepping-stone. Additionally, recycled paper towels and coffee filters are always a hit. I suggest purchasing a glass or mug for each employee and encouraging the use of filtered tap water over bottled water. Lastly, replace broken/dated appliances with Energy Star rated products.

Since many of our offices resemble the interior of a spaceship — with wires all over the place, lights flashing, and devices making odd noises — you bet your butt office electronics, when it comes to being green, can either make you or break you. Having 50 outdated printers as opposed to 50 new Energy Star rated printers is truly a night and day difference; the same applies to computers. According to Ideal Bite, laptops use 90% less energy than desktops and also offer power management features. Due to such, investing in laptops, especially Apple’s new computers, is truly the way to go. Apple’s new computers have batteries that last up to 8 hours on a single charge, are made with mercury-free backlit displays, meet Energy Star requirements, and have all sorts of other green goodies. We recently purchased three MacBook Pros for the office and I was asked why? My answer –how could we not? It was so tempting. ::evil grin::

In conclusion, get your rear in gear and help preserve the planet for generations to come. Be cool, be clean, be green.

I hope this article was inspiring and good luck!

Best Regards,

Aaron Schoenberger
The Brainchild Group



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