Earth Day is an annual event that’s celebrated around the world on 22 April. This year, we will be marking the 50th anniversary of Earth Day, but despite significant progress over the years, so much more still needs to be done. 

Climate change, environmental degradation and uneven resource distribution are just a few of the existential threats to the long-term health of our planet. If we maintain the status quo and carry on just the way we are, life as we know it will soon be changed forever. 

So, with Earth Day 2020 approaching, what can your business do to make a difference? Here are six small but high-impact changes you can make right now. 

6 Ways to Become a Green Business in Honour of Earth Day 2020

  • Perform an environmental audit

The first step is to take a long, hard look in the mirror. If you’re committed to becoming a more eco-friendly business, you need to understand what you’re currently doing wrong and where improvements can be made. 

A few areas to think about include:

  • Energy consumption
  • Waste disposal and recycling services
  • Water usage
  • Transportation 
  • Ethical food sourcing
  • Employment practices

The only way to become a green business is to be honest about your weaknesses and identify where changes can be made. Use the 6 Rs to guide you: 

  • Refuse
  • Reduce
  • Reuse
  • Repair
  • Rot
  • Recycle

 

  • Make energy efficiency a priority

 

Green businesses make energy efficiency a priority when choosing which appliances and tools they use. We’re not suggesting you should go out and replace perfectly good appliances with greener alternatives right now, but when the time does come to buy new, take your company’s carbon footprint into account. 

You should also educate employees about the importance of switching appliances and electrical equipment off at the end of the day. The planet will thank you for it and it’s better for your wallet, too!

 

  • Encourage green transportation

 

Encouraging and rewarding your workforce for using green transportation – such as cycle-to-work schemes, carsharing and public transport – can greatly improve the eco-credentials of your team. But while individual transportation certainly contributes to carbon emissions, commercial transportation has a much greater impact. 

Look at all the transportation your business uses and partner with service providers that “think green”. For example, if you rely on hauliers, choose a firm that uses a waterless washing service to reduce the water waste and harmful runoff when washing their vehicles. Lots of firms in the northeast are now investing in environmentally friendly transportation, so there are plenty of green alternatives out there.     

 

  • Choose your suppliers very carefully

 

Making the earth a better place is not just about reducing your business’s impact on the environment – it’s also about improving the lives of others. Be careful not to use suppliers who take advantage of modern slavery as part of their supply chain, from coffee to cotton and construction to car washing. This might sound obvious, but did you know that there are as many as 24,000 mistreated car wash workers in the UK who are victims of modern slavery? 

If you feel that any of the businesses you work with are mistreating or exploiting their workforce, rather than turning the other cheek, you should report them to the appropriate authorities and take your business elsewhere.  

 

  • Give your employees time off to volunteer

 

The wellbeing of employees is a greater consideration for businesses than it has ever been before. Businesses are now realising that happy, healthy people make more productive and engaged employees.

One proven way to boost employee wellbeing and improve the green credentials of your business is to create a workplace volunteer initiative. You can give your staff time away from work to volunteer in the local community and work on eco-friendly projects. Their efforts will reflect favourably on your business and boost its standing in the local community.    

 

  • Buy eco-friendly materials 

 

One change that you can make right now is to start buying greener supplies and materials. Whenever you buy anything for the business, always consider whether there’s a greener alternative. Ask yourself whether the product you’re buying is sustainable, biodegradable, reusable or recyclable. If it’s not, then find an alternative that is.   

Celebrating Earth Day 2020 by transforming your company into a green business might seem like a big change, but it all starts with a few little steps you can take right now. Your community looks to local businesses to lead the way and Earth Day 2020 is the perfect opportunity to make your mark!