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Green certify your business!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Hi folks -- to be honest, I don't know much about this, but someone at my company just asked me if we could do a few small things around the office to cut down on waste, such as stop using disposable plates, switch from paper to cloth towels, etc. She sent me this ...


I didn't know this existed. At first glance it seems tough but I'm guessing it can't be harder than SOX or FASB 123r (if that made you smile we should talk). Does anyone have suggestions for small but impactful things a business can do to be more environmentally responsible?



Edited by deej - Tue, 26 Feb 2008 16:50:17 GMT
post #2 of 8
Originally Posted by kja634:

Does anyone have suggestions for small but impactful things a business can do to be more environmentally responsible?


There's definitely low-hanging fruit like:

  • switching out incandescent light bulbs for CFLs
  • recycling
  • encouraging employees to use reusable dishes/utensils/mugs/cups/tupperware
  • transition from traditional cleaning products to green cleaning products, etc. 
  • installing low flow aerators on your faucets


Then there's stuff that takes a little (or a lot) more effort:


  • composting (particularly if you've got a municipal compost facility)
  • setting up an Environmentally Preferable Purchasing policy (here's Duke's EPP - PDF) that includes purchasing Energy Star electronics, recycled content paper, low flow plumbing fixtures (if your company owns your facility)
  • if you have landscaping, transitioning to xeriscaping (landscaping that uses native and drought resistant plants)
  • installing lighting controls (motion sensors, daylight dimming controls)
  • if your company has vehicle fleets, transitioning from traditional vehicles to alternative fuels/technologies



post #3 of 8

Fellow Huddler ecoactiontrish contributed a great wiki on this topic here at How to Green Your Work Area


Check it out.

post #4 of 8

 I have a Green business: www.sustainablebags.NET. Part of what I'm always trying to do is educate people about alternatives - as you are doing in your business.  With regards to greening offices - we are so used to buying disposable items: pens that run out of ink, and you throw them away.  In the "olden days" when I went to school, we'd buy pens and get refills.  My favorite pen is a fountain pen - I don't even buy cartridges, but fill it from an ink bottle (made from glass!).


Also available now are “stapleless” staplers!  They make a little cut in the papers and then bend the paper so it attach to each other without wasting metal!  You can find these on ebay.


Also, a concern of mine is that businesses are NOT obligated to recycle.  But businesses are made up of PEOPLE who can encourage the owners to recycle, or bring their recyclables home, and recycle there!


In my business, we sell reusable organic fairtrade cotton & hemp tote bags that are decorated with calligraphy messages about sustainability.   - and also BIOplastics (made from corn) for trash.  We have to stop using petro-plastics- not just when we make purchases, but when we're throwing away trash.    Please come to my website and blog your ideas with us as well!  Good luck kindred spirits!  We're all doing what we can to protect our planet and the future of this earth for all.

post #5 of 8

Kiwi is in the process of starting a business.  We want to keep things as green as possible.  One thing we are doing is shutting down the server overnight (and possibly on weekends).  His business deals with city governments, who won't need to access the site at 2 AM.  By shutting the server down, we can save power.


(For those who work with computers- make sure that they are turned completely off overnight and on weekends- either turn them off on a powerstrip, or flip the little master power switch on the back of your computer tower.  This saves more power than just shutting the system down.)


We are also using GreenerPrinter for business cards and mailings.  They are 100% windpowered, offer 100% recycled (50% post-consumer) paper, use water-based coatings and plant-based inks, and they offset their shipping's carbon emissions.


We plan to purchase renewable energy credits in the future, once we start seeing a profit.

post #6 of 8

Great things already posted. I think one of the biggest things a company can do is to green their supply chain.  This means only dealing with other green companies.  This also means boycotting "bad companies" like Exxon who are on record of not creating sustainable alternative fuels.  Support companies that go above and beyond  (like purchasing RECs). 

post #7 of 8

Wow, talk about perfect timing!


The City I work at sent out an email today asking for ideas on how to green the City. There are definitely plenty of low hanging things to deal with - people not recycling (every night the guy who takes the rubbish/recycling away just dumps it all in one bin even after I've protested), switching to electronic newsletters and payslips, switching to electronic documents for City meetings (every week they print about 2,000 pages for one meeting, I'm trying to get them to use PDFs instead), putting in some bike lockers etc. They even started printing pay slips on SILK paper!!!!


I think the reusable plates and mugs is a big one though. We go through hundreds of them a week. I wonder if it would be more environmentally friendly to put in a dishwasher and use reusable mugs? What do you guys think?


Ps ( I've been working on the business nitedream spoke of so haven't been on GH in a while - I love the "new" changes to the GUI though! :) )







Edited by kiwi - Tue, 01 Jul 2008 03:25:44 GMT
post #8 of 8

The San  Francisco Bay Area Green Business Program is not that hard for businesses to join, since many of the requirements are multiple choice (as in "meet 3 of the following 5 requirements").


My internet consulting company Kahl Consultants - see - did not have to make changes at all, we managed to meet the requirements without any additional expenses or efforts (aside from filling out a questionnaire and going through an on-site audit). However we had already invested in green items such as energy efficiency, solar power, water conservation, recycling, and so on.


Here in Marin County, CA, there is an additional level of green certification called the Marin County Sustainable Partners Program. We were one of the first companies to receive the Sustainable Partner award, and it was considerably more difficult to achieve:


Another popular green certification is GREEN AMERICA's Green Business Seal of Approval, which Kahl Consultants received in 2010:


In my opinion the key to going green is to start right away with the "low hanging fruit" and then commit to doing regular improvements across the board over time.


Good luck going green!




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