Earth Day falls each year on April 22. This celebration of the planet focuses on protecting the environment and being conscious of decisions that impact local and global ecosystems. The holiday can have an equal focus on the actions of individuals and businesses, so there’s no reason your company can’t take part in Earth Day and reap a variety of benefits.
Wondering how your enterprise should participate in Earth Day this year? Consider these suggestions:
Kick-off or just publicize an environmentally friendly initiative
While you don’t want to treat Earth Day as a purely promotional opportunity – customers may recognize the lack of action and react accordingly – there’s nothing wrong with publicizing your organization’s environmentally friendly efforts. Doing so gives your company some positive recognition and lets customers know you care about the environment. What can you do, exactly?
Highlight an existing effort
Your business likely takes certain actions that benefit the environment, whether due to a conscious decision or simply for pragmatic reasons. No matter why your company has an effective program to limit energy use or regularly utilizes recycled material, you can let your customers know. Social media posts and physical signs in the window and throughout the store will raise awareness of your company’s commitment to environmentally friendly practices, and there’s little work required beyond promoting an existing program or strategy.
Do something new
Earth Day is a great time to start processes or purchase materials that have a positive or less-negative environmental impact. There are plenty of ideas that can fit into all sorts of businesses, from starting a recycling program to cutting back on waste, or even volunteering for an environmental organization or local clean-up effort. As a business owner, you want to make a plan that’s a good fit for your organization. Focus on goals that are relevant, meaningful and attainable. Be honest about ideas that sound great but are unlikely to be followed in the long term, whether due to cost, difficulty or another reason. No matter what you end up doing, let your customers know about the new effort and, if possible, encourage them to take similar steps.
Finding and setting long-term goals
Earth Day can be a great point to start working toward a success that will take some time to achieve. The environmentally friendly message of the celebrations is a convenient way to set the mood for a new initiative that requires months or years for significant progression.
Programs like recycling and volunteer efforts are vitally important to protect ecosystems, but they only represent one part of the overall environmental puzzle. More sustained efforts, like reducing overall energy use, require months of monitoring and coordinated efforts for any relevant achievement to occur.
Inc. magazine said the first step in this plan is to measure your company’s current rate of energy and water consumption. From there, you can set goals, like reducing energy use by 5 percent over the next six months or year. Of course, there are direct business advantages to be had as well. Trimming unnecessary energy and water use in an efficient way means less spending on those two resources going forward.
Whether it means scheduling workflows so machines don’t consume as much power or scheduling cleaning efforts so water can be conserved, these plans eventually pay off in the form of lower bills from utility companies. Business owners may also want to consider upgrading to equipment that is more efficient and offers a lower operating cost. However, this sort of investment can also carry a significant fixed, upfront cost.
In this case, small business owners need to consider how they’ll pay for this improvement. In many cases, alternative business financing can provide the necessary capital easily and within a short amount of time. From there your business can pay back the loan in reasonable monthly installments.
From a business perspective, Earth Day is a chance to take part in meaningful conservation efforts and let your customers know about them. This approach offers a benefit to the environment, your business and the people who frequent it.