Does going green make small businesses see red?

Opinion | Sustainability

By Guest Author

No! And here’s my give tips as to how small business can go green (from start-up).

1.  Don’t be fooled by ‘green’ marketing. Many companies play the ‘green’ card at the moment to attract customers like you and I, however just because a company says something is green does not mean it actually causes the least harm to the environment. For instance I have seen PVC plastic gift cards marketed as ‘green’ because they can be re-used. Yes, technically they can, but human behavior indicates that very few people are going to re-charge a used gift card and give it to someone else.

2. Lead by example. This is simple. Don’t buy plastic water bottles for the staff fridge, get a re-usable filter, ask the local take-away restaurants to provide lunch on a plate that can be returned rather than using disposable packaging, take your own mug at the local coffee shop to avoid take away cups. Lead by example and your staff will follow.

3. Encourage your employees to actively assist in the companies values when it comes to the environment. If an employee is capable of raising issues regarding the environment use the company social media platform or blog to give them a voice. Whilst the issues may have nothing to do with your product or service your customers will appreciate the fact that you care and your staff will feel more involved.

4. Don’t try and be perfect. You can’t achieve this! Just being human means you will have some impact on the environment. What you are trying to do here is aim at being a zero impact business, but recognizing that the journey is a long one and every step counts, no matter how small.

5. Follow a simple recycling program. Start recycling your products, materials and goods from day one. Make your recycling program so simple that even a four year old can understand how to do it.

About the Author

Joel Coleman is the owner of Saltmotion Gallery, Manly. Saltmotion is a leader in environmental and sustainable work practice based on the Northern Beaches of Sydney. During his start-up and management of Saltmotion, Joel’s ethos has always been if you can’t make it green, make it last.

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