The term "going green" is starting to gain mainstream awareness. Any search on Twitter http://search.twitter.com/search?q=going+green or Google http://www.google.com/search?&q=going+green brings up thousands of other people and companies who are taking more steps to integrate sustainability and respect for the next seven generations into their practices.
But are we really going green? Or are we just participating in a routine that claims we're green? (see my article on greenwashing).
- For example, have you really reduced your solid waste this past year? If so, by how much?
- Do you know how much electricity you use each month? If so, do you know 10 ways to reduce your usage?
- If you drive, what kind of gas mileage do you get? What's your plan for increasing public transportation and carpooling?
For example, in our profit and loss this past year for my company:
Our printing costs have gone down to $0. Yes, that's right: we no longer print ads, forms, papers, coupons, addresses, or notices — we're going paperless and as part of being a green company, we encourage our clients and vendors to do the same.
The principals no longer travel as much as we used to: we've cut our travel costs down to 10% of the former budget (from $3264 to $356). Now we have much more reliance on phone calls, Skype, WebEx, Gotomeeting, and other methods of collaborative meetings. It's not as easy, but it is in keeping with our desire to reduce our gasoline usage.
The company cut down on postal service by clearing out one of the physical mailboxes: postage and
delivery costs a year ago were $1072 and now they're $237. By moving everything to e-delivery and focusing on a
digital mailbox (which scans our snail mail and sends us an e-mail copy), we're reducing our paper usage.
Going green can give you a real savings in the pocketbook but most importantly it helps you understand how your physical actions contribute to waste, inefficiency, and overall trashing of our planet. Let's take a stand this year and focus on two or three areas where we promise to reduce our overall expenses — and our footprint.
If we're really going to go green, let's come up with a statement of what that means to you, your business, your organization, and your household. It's good to say "I like going green" and "it's cool to be sustainable": now let's talk about the how.
Walk your talk, and talk your walk, and let's discuss more about creating and supporting sustainable, green businesses.
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Monica S. Flores @monicadear is committed to educating, empowering, and connecting women in business. She is available for consulting on web development through 10K Webdesign. She believes in the triple bottom line of people, planet, and profits.