By Gail Everett
All this talk about sustainability only widens the gap between those who get it and those who are too overwhelmed to start.
In general, being sustainable means doing your best to avoid the depletion of our natural resources and reducing your adverse impact by being careful stewards of the resources you are using for the next generation.
So, a definition of a sustainable business, or green business, is one that has minimal negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society or economy — a business that strives to meet the triple bottom line (social, environmental and financial).
So, no matter how big or small your business is, as a community-minded business, you should start somewhere.
Starting small is a shoe everyone can wear. Begin with these steps:
Water conservation: Fix drips and leaks, replace outdated aerators, sprinklers and other water using equipment with more efficient models.
Solid waste reduction: Take a look inside your garbage can. What are you throwing away that could be reused or recycled? Rethink your purchases and seriously evaluate the frequency or size of your container to save money. If your city offers curbside recycling, sign up for it.
Energy conservation: Switch now to LED lighting. Activate the sleep mode on computers and turn off all computers, monitors and printers at night.
The next step would be to dig a little deeper. You can perform a self-audit, ask employees for help, form a green team or hire a professional. This process allows you to actually pause and look at your entire operations to explore sustainable alternatives.
There are many benefits of going green: environmental stewardship, conservation and saving money, to name a few. You will see an increase in employee satisfaction, which in turn attracts and keeps good employees.
The end result is an increase in customers and improved image by showing commitment and responsibility to the community in which you do business and/or live.
April is Earth Month, the beginning of spring and basically, a new year. It’s the perfect time to start.
For more information, visit Go Green Tri-Cities, a volunteer effort that highlights green businesses, organizations, resources and events in the Tri-Cities, at gogreentricities.org.
Gail Everett is a Tri-City environmental educator and member of Go Green Tri-Cities
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