By Shannon Courtney
The climate crisis is increasingly more urgent and requires a whole-of-society approach to create a clean-energy economy that benefits all. This means all companies, including young businesses and businesses run by young leaders, must also do their part to decrease their environmental impact and maximize their operations in an eco-friendly and sustainable manner. The YLAI Network offers key takeaways to help emerging entrepreneurs take part in greening their businesses.
Optimize workplace lighting
A simple strategy for an entrepreneur to reduce your carbon footprint and electricity bill is to optimize your lighting. Consider using energy-saving LED lights and dimmable fixtures in your workplace. Another simple way to save energy is to turn off lights when not in use. Opting for natural lighting can deter the heightened stress levels associated with excessive exposure to artificial lighting.
Minimize business travel
Whether by land or air, transportation accounts for over a quarter of total yearly greenhouse gas emissions. The COVID-19 pandemic proved globally, and especially among entrepreneurs, that many businesses can function digitally. With the various virtual conference and communication platforms, companies can help combat the climate crisis while interacting with potential customers and partners worldwide online.
One of the easiest small habits to change with a big impact is to reduce, reuse and recycle. You can apply this core concept to your business procedures and identify areas where waste can be reduced. For example, consider participating in your local community’s recycling program, choosing sustainable packaging to reduce plastic or transitioning to digital platforms and software for the essential functions of your business.
Establish sustainable partnerships
When establishing partnerships for your business (i.e., with green vendors and distributors), interview potential vendors and distributors to understand their sustainability procedures. Consider partnering with local vendors, a method called “near-sourcing,” which reduces emissions caused by transporting resources to your door. If you seek international partnerships, look for companies that use energy-efficient vehicles and manufacturing plants. Developing sustainable partnerships can help the partners keep each other more environmentally responsible.
Find your place in the market with an eco-conscious product idea
Many successful product ideas stem from a desire to produce more eco-conscious products that are innovative and bring something new to the market. For example, 2018 YLAI Fellow Porfirio Baez spent his free time thinking up different ways to contribute to the preservation of the environment. He founded his own company, Green Depot, based in the Dominican Republic, which manufactures biodegradable tableware, using naturally fallen palm leaf collected by the local community.
Porfirio said he “was driven to create this company due to the lack of eco-product varieties, and also to prove that eco-business could be profitable as well as traditional.” If you are interested in finding a niche for your business, consider more environmentally conscious ways to manufacture your products that may help you to be more competitive in the market and combat the climate crisis at the same time.
Head over to #YLAI Goes Green to learn more about what you can do to make sure your business is sustainable.