Driving your car isn’t that bad for the environment.
Sure. 7 billion people driving 7 billion cars, emitting tons and tons and tons of greenhouse gases isn’t great for the planet. But, the everyday life of the average global citizen is a fraction of a fraction of the problem.
Companies and businesses contribute to climate change more than anyone, or anything, else.
In a 2017 study, The Carbon Majors Database released a report showing that 100 companies emit more than 70% of the planet’s greenhouse gases.
That’s right. A hundred companies release more carbon into the atmosphere than 7 billion individuals. Of course, the situation is much more complicated than that. Pollution, environmental destruction, and urbanization have major effects on the environment that have little to do with carbon emissions.
But, when it comes to climate change, these companies are doing the most to raise global temperatures, and fire-up environmentalists everywhere.
At this point, you’re probably thinking “hey, my business is small. We’re not even close to having that much impact on the environment,” and you’d be right.
But, just like the people who bike to work 3 days a week, recycle, or buy a solar panel or two, something is better than nothing.
Businesses are large entities representing much more than a single owner or small staff. Thinking about this now might not save the environment, but it might give you some peace of mind, get the tree-huggers off your back, and save you a few bucks here and there. Oh, and maybe lower the global temperature a tiny bit.
Here are a few ways you can get started.
1. Go Digital
The physical retailer is on the outs.
Toys R Us, JC Penny, and many other big-box stores are closing their doors. They’re even selling Geoffrey the Giraffe, whose name was largely unknown until this past week.
The point is, brick and mortar just isn’t necessary anymore. Consumer trends increasingly show online shopping is on the rise. Amazon is taking over the world, and ecommerce businesses are popping up everywhere. It’s just plain easier to become an online entrepreneur than it is to open your own store.
Plus, it costs a lot of money. Rent, utilities, and even man-hours are things you don’t have to worry about with an online store.
But, along with the monetary benefits, those things you aren’t paying for also aren’t impacting the environment.
Plus, shifting your customer base online is more eco-friendly. Research has shown that ecommerce is better for the environment than traditional consumer methods.
Though shifting into the online space isn’t feasible for everyone, it’s something to consider if you’re worried about your business’ carbon footprint.
Let’s face it: recycling is a bit overhyped when it comes to saving the environment.
Throwing out my glass bottles that might end up in a landfill anyway probably isn’t helping much, and definitely not as much as I like to think it is when I post about it on Instagram.
But, reuse has proven beneficial in many ways that purchasing newly manufactured goods isn’t.
Granted, it sounds weird to tell small business owners and retailers that buying things brand new might not be a great idea. But, not everything can be purchased this way, and most consumers aren’t on the sharing economy train. So, you don’t have anything to worry about.
A small operation can find all the tools they need from a local tool library, grab a nap in an AirBnB, or call an Uber instead of driving their own car. All of these are considered reuse, and are evidence of partaking in the sharing economy.
As with going digital, reuse saves the environment and some money.
Ever buy a pair of jeans or a dress at a Goodwill? Same kind of thing. One use can severely reduce the “value” of a product, even if it’s in mint condition. So, give it a shot.
If anyone criticizes you, you’re not cheap, you’re saving the planet.
3. The Little Stuff
There’s a theme here.
Total environmental sustainability is hard, and expensive.
There’s a reason why everyone hasn’t jumped on the eco-train. If it were cheaper, we wouldn’t be talking about climate change.
But, it’s not. It takes hard work and commitment to make a difference. Or even to give it a try.
So, when you’re thinking about becoming more environmentally friendly this World Environment Day, try to think of the little things you can do to make your business more eco-minded.
Go paperless, start a carpooling group, or even install some solar panels.
The world won’t change in a day, and definitely not from just one way of doing things. For now, the little things can really make a difference.
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