Today, more consumers are looking for brands that genuinely care about their local economies and want to authentically provide incentives for consumers. (“Genuinely” and “authentically” are keywords here. You have to truly mean what you do.) Many companies promise to “go green,” but these days, a simple recycling program just won’t cut it. You must continually prove your business doesn’t take a day on Earth for granted.
Don’t just rely on Earth Day to take action. Instead, make improvements year-round. Your customers will notice, and the planet needs all the help it can get.
Build An Eco-Friendly Team Dedicated To Protecting Earth
To become a “green-thinking” business, you should start from within. It’s not authentic to promote recycling or plant trees if your employees don’t believe in it. These are the people who represent you to clients and push your company forward, so they need to be with you.
Start by launching an incentive program. Choose a different focus each month (like wellness or being eco-friendly) and create a challenge around that theme. You could even choose an Earth-related theme for the year and coordinate different challenges to complement that theme each month. For eco-conscious programs, reward employees who recycle the most or carpool, bike, or walk to work.
As this friendly competition heats up, your team will grow closer and become more dedicated to the cause. To build on the camaraderie, partner with your employees to volunteer at a cleanup or local conservation event. This creates meaningful change and builds strong employee relationships.
Rethink Your Systems
Could you be doing more to protect the Earth? The answer is probably yes, but do you know where to start? Begin by developing a task force of employees dedicated to examining the business processes and products. They can help determine how to improve your systems for a more sustainable framework.
Not everyone who serves on the task force needs to be an environmental expert. Look for employees who are engaged with their work and always find new ways to improve. Invite local experts to come speak to your group about key goals or areas you want them to focus on.
Food waste has a tremendous impact on the environment, and the reason starts all the way back on the farm. Our friends at Recycle Coach make this idea a little more digestible. Approximately 38% of the land on Earth is used to produce food, but about 32% of all food produced is wasted. This means the costs to produce, package, ship, purchase, and prepare that food have all gone to waste. All told, lost or wasted food accounts for 8% of greenhouse gas emissions, according to Recycle Coach.
You can help improve these statistics in your employee kitchen. Inspect your kitchen’s food supply once per week to determine if items can be donated to local food pantries or services. (Your task force can determine the timeline and who will do it!) Think about canned goods, granola bars, fruit, oils, and drinks that haven’t been touched or used. Food banks and kitchens will use the supplies to feed their patrons, ensuring goods aren’t wasted. You could also develop a composting program for food scraps and donate to a local community garden. This ensures the food waste goes back to the Earth and is put to good use.
It’s not just ethical to think green when it comes to your business. It’s also sound business advice. One of the greatest ways you can encourage this is by engaging your local community, hosting events, and offering incentive programs.
Start with local events, both virtually and in person. Host a community Earth Day event and raise funds for a local conservation group. Your event can be as simple as a 5K, but it shouldn’t be overly complex or involved. Opt for hosting environmental experts for lectures, organizing cleanups, or sponsoring concerts with local musicians. You could even host sustainable farm-to-table dinners to raise awareness for your cause.
To do this effectively — meaning there is some benefit for your business — look to other businesses for partnerships, offer prizes that include your business, or incentivize customers who attend the event.
You could even turn that last idea into a customer-retention strategy. Offer special promotions or prizes for customers who choose Earth-friendly options. They could choose to go paperless or use better products for the environment. Whatever they do, offer them a discounted service or reward points for their actions.
Once you have developed strong internal and external practices, don’t be shy about the work you’re doing. Promote it on social media, in your newsletter, and in conversations with your clients. Be proud of the work you do to protect the Earth, and you just might create a strong movement behind you.