4 Simple Green Tech Solutions to Make Your Small Business More Environmentally Friendly

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“The future of our businesses (and SO much more) depends on the future of the environment.”

When we think of “green tech”, solutions like solar panels, hybrid cars, and wind turbines often come to mind. These technological inventions, along with others, are massive and vital proponents of the war on climate change, but there are also other, more simple opportunities to use technology to make your business more sustainable. In fact, you’re probably already using many of these solutions.

First, let’s quickly cover the importance and benefits of sustainable business practices. Then, we’ll be ready to dive into our short list of green tech solutions and how they benefit the environment.

Why ‘Go Green’?

For the Environment

Well, truthfully, the future of our businesses (and SO much more) depends on the future of the environment. NASA provides great data on the environment and climate change as well as detailed information on long-term solutions to climate change. While the idea of battling climate change is daunting, even small, individual contributions can make a difference.

For Profits

Additionally, environmentally-friendly business decisions can positively impact the bottom line. Businesses investing in smart, green solutions, can potentially decrease costs (i.e. less $ on lightbulbs, paper, water, ink, electricity, etc.) AND increase profits. Research indicates that 71% of Americans consider the environment when they shop, and over 50% of global consumers are willing to pay more for goods and services from companies with environmentally friendly business practices.

That being said – Here are 4 simple solutions to make your small business more environmentally friendly.

1. The Cloud

The Cloud is a revolutionary tool for businesses with almost endless applications and benefits. Here are some of the ways in which investing in Cloud storage and computing is an environmentally friendly choice:

  • Cloud storage requires less energy than individual physical servers. In fact, it’s estimated that by the year 2020, Cloud computing could reduce the amount of energy used by data centers by 38%.
  • The ability to access data from anywhere via the Cloud reduces the need to print physical copies of information, thereby reducing paper waste.
  • Similarly, the Cloud makes it easier to share information with others, creating opportunities for remote work and reducing the need for in-person information exchanges, which can potentially reduce travel costs and carbon emissions.
  • All hardware has to be replaced eventually. Cloud computing reduces the opportunity for old hardware to end up in up in landfills. Over 2 million tons of E-waste is thrown away yearly in the U.S., and only 27% of it is recycled.
    • BTW – If you have electronics (laptops, servers, cell phones, etc.) you need to dispose of, start by removing all sensitive information from the devices, then consider these environmentally friendly disposal options:
      • If the device is less than 5 years old and still functioning, check with local schools and non-profits to see if the hardware can be donated.
      • Companies like Apple, Dell, eBay, Best Buy, Staples, Amazon, and others have electronic recycling programs, donation partners, and/or trade in options for old electronics.

Clouds vs. The Cloud [Infographic]

2. Intranet/Extranet

This is an easy one. Whether we use that terminology or not, no doubt all of us already use a variety of applications for many of our internal (intranet) and external (extranet) communications. Think collaboration tools and management software like Email, Microsoft Office, Inventory Management programs, etc. The question is: are we using these tools as efficiently as we could be? Probably not.

Paper makes up over 25% of all waste. A 10% cut in office paper use in the U.S. alone could reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 1.6 million tons. By optimizing our use of intranet and extranet tools, we can go virtually paperless (paper-limited at the least). The effort takes mass collaboration; we’re still working on it here at Intellithought, but the monetary (reduced spend on paper, ink, etc. and increased efficiency) and environmental ROI can be exponential.

3. Social Media

There’s no denying that social media is a powerful and efficient marketing tool. In fact, average social media lead-to-close rates are 100% higher AND less costly than traditional outbound marketing techniques. On top of that, consider all the trees we could save if we traded some of our brochures, flyers, pamphlets, and posters for social media ads and other online marketing initiatives. Globally, paper production is a major contributor to deforestation, an issue with resounding negative impacts. Deforestation both adds CO2 to the air AND prevents absorption of  existing CO2, it negatively impacts global water cycles and reduces local water supplies, and it directly disrupts vital ecosystems for countless animals, plants, and some humans.

4. Automation

Technology-enabled business process automation (BPA) can be applied to a variety of complex business processes to streamline efficiency, improve quality, and reduce costs. Many of these benefits also positively impact the environment by reducing energy consumption, paper waste, and more.

How do you Go Green?

These are just a few of the ways in which we as small businesses can do our part to help preserve the environment for the future. There are countless other ways to chip in – from using energy efficient lightbulbs, to drinking out of reusable cups, or decorating with live plants to improve air quality. What else do you do to keep things green – on a personal or business level? We would love to hear and learn from you. Let us know on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram!


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