While being environmentally friendly should be a year-round perspective, Earth Month tends to bring a renewed enthusiasm for being green. Last year, I marked Earth Month with a post about how I planned to make my business more earth-friendly, and received some great comments that spurred even more ideas.
One of the things I hope to do this year is explore teaming up with my clients to benefit the environment. When it comes to the earth, the efforts of even one individual count, but there is certain strength in numbers that can’t be ignored.
With the goal of making changes that extend beyond just my business, here are some ideas I’m considering. If you have a suggestion, please throw it into the ring to inspire me and others looking to ramp up the green hue around our businesses.
According to TAPPI, the leading association for the worldwide pulp, paper and converting industry, Americans use an average of 700 pounds of paper products per person each year.
While paper involved in billing practices only makes up a small portion of that, the carbon footprint of your business can be greatly reduced by moving to a paperless billing system. You can cut down on paper waste produced by your business by sending invoices and statements by email, using online agreements, paying your own bills online and allowing your clients to pay you online or with credit cards to reduce the upfront paper waste.
Do you send holiday cards, thank you notes, newsletters, postcards and other hard copy mailings to clients? And what about your clients’ mailings? Consider all of the paper, ink, energy and gas involved in your combined mailings over the course of a year. Try moving all of your paper-based marketing activities to an online format, and then suggest your clients do the same, especially for any projects you may work with them on.
More and more companies are changing the way they do business to honor the environment. Look at the service providers you utilize and explore “green” options. Hosting companies, printers and telecommunication providers are a few places to start.
To get your clients involved, create a recommended vendor sheet that you can give to clients to introduce them to green companies worthy of their patronage.
Joint Environmental Initiatives
Apply the idea of cause marketing by identifying an environmental interest and getting your clients to join you in supporting it. You can focus on volunteering time, money, or even your expertise to help an organization that benefits the environment.
To team up with your clients for these and other earth-friendly ideas, share your plans with them, outlining what you plan to do, how it will benefit the environment and how they can get involved. And follow their lead by incorporating some of their earth-friendly activities in your business. Rely on your joint participation to hold each other accountable.
Make it a goal to start your initiatives this April and commit to doing them for the rest of 2010 and see what kind of difference you can make, even if the initial impact is just your own individual sense of contribution.
Image credit: ziyad_pa