Hi community. Recently, given the environmental/sustainability focused and agricultural parts of my training and upbringing, I sat down and just brainstormed the first bunch of ideas that came into my head for simple things every single one of us can do to make our business lives/work from home business lives a little more ethical, eco-friendly and sustainable. But more than that, also profitable would be handy, wouldn’t it?
Many of these you can start implementing today, with practically no cost and just a little bit of time spent. Others will take a bit of investment and future planning. But hey, now you have a handy list of ideas, all in the one place.
Let me know though if you have any questions about the HOW.
-PLANT TREES: Where you own property and can, plant trees
-CAPTURE RAINFALL: Where you can, install tanks and use for non edible gardens, washing cars. NOTE: If you’re in the city, there’s a high probability the first and maybe additional rain fall will be unsuitable for human consumption due to the chemical components that got mixed up with it in the atmosphere. Where you live or work out of the city and intend to drink it, or use it on your food gardens, it’s really important to monitor your water quality regularly once you get tanks and get it regularly tested for chemical and microbial content. Why? Bird or other animal poo (and hence microbes that can make you sick) can occasionally get in there, small animals trying to get a drink can and do unfortunately sometimes end up in there from time to time, as can any other number of contaminants that blew in or washed off the roof. Something to remember, if you’re used to city water sources (which are highly treated and regulated to ensure they stay safe for consumption) but switching to tank water; you’ll need to now take on monitoring the quality of the water yourself.
-RECYCLE GREY WATER- where practical, what shower, kitchen or laundry water can be diverted and used for gardens, or if it’s clean enough, used for any additional outdoor uses (washing down spills on paths, cars or outdoorsy equipment for example)
-REDUCE AND OFFSET EMISSIONS: For what carbon emissions you can’t cut any lower or avoid ahead of their yet being another way, you can offset your emissions through organisations like Greenfleet (you donate to them and they plant native forests to offset the carbon costs of running your business, or your living or travel expenses.)
-ETHICAL BANKING: transfer your everyday business transaction, salary and expense accounts to ethical banks (e.g. banks who don’t loan to industries that harm the planet or people and that use money to help create positive impact for the people, their communities and the planet.)
-where you have to choose a fund FOR your staff, pick an ethical fund (e.g. funds that actively seek out investments that support the people, quality, sustainability and the use of technology for the greater good.)
-switch your super to ethical funds OR
-give your Financial Advisor new instructions to only invest in ethical companies that are performing well
-RECYCLE… PROPERLY. Unfortunately, most people don’t realise that they’re not actually doing it right. Your local council and sustainability consultancies have detailed instructions on the requirements for your area. Learn how to divide up all of your recycling properly and learn what can and can’t be recycled and why. Set up info sessions at your workplace with sustainability consultants to train your staff. And look at what incentives you can give your staff for sticking to it.
-look at what paper consumption can be reduced and what paper based admin processes you can move to electronic or cloud based now instead.
-where can you swap paper towel for good old-fashioned hand towels and tea towels
-get tissues and toilet paper made from recycled material and or at least sustainably grown forests
-get paper supplied from certified renewal sources
-ENERGY EFFICIENT APPLIANCES: buy appliances and plumbing fixtures with high water efficiency and energy efficiency ratings (e.g. hand driers, lighting, dishwashers, washing machines, taps, shower heads, toilets etc)
-TURN THINGS OFF: turn electrical appliances off when they’re not in use
-that includes extra iPads and laptops or mobiles when you’ve got multiple devices on the go at once, all doing the same thing, so that you don’t need to charge them all as often.
-shut down PC’s overnight
-make sure all lighting is off when you leave at night
-BUILDING AND RENOVATIONS: if you’re building or renovating a premises, hire everyone from Architects, to Surveyors to Builders to Tradies etc who are knowledgeable in and advocates for sustainability and will build your premises to be energy efficient and to LAST. (Research Denmark and Sweden for ideas…they’re light years ahead of Australia in the building industry, energy efficiency and sustainability stakes)
-HEATING: stop running your heating above 21 degrees (every degree above doubles your energy usage and hence the cost of your bills.)
-AIR CONDITIONING: likewise, the same applies with every degree below 21. Sop turning it down to 16.
MEETINGS & TRAVEL:
-Zoom or video conference, instead of fly where you can
-where you have to fly, pay for the carbon offset option (it’s only a couple of bucks)
-walk if you’re only going short distances
-ride where it’s practical
-car-pool to events where you and or team can
-consider when using public transport might be a better option than putting another half empty car on the road (i know it might not always be practical with kids)
-CAR HIRE: use care rental companies or taxi/pick up services with hybrids/energy efficient vehicles in their fleets
-FLEET VEHICLES- better yet, or in addition, start building your own energy efficient fleet of vehicles (hint, you can get ex government hybrid vehicles cheap at auction, if you want to knock a bit off the price of purchasing brand new.)
-SUPPLIERS: partner with green organisations where you can for all services e.g. green cleaning services, green dry cleaners, green caterers, green tradies etc
-buy products from eco friendly companies that state that they manufacture using renewal, sustainable materials
-phase out single-use convenience items
-get office supplies made from recycled or sustainably made materials
-UNIFORMS or work clothing: get them supplied by companies make them from natural fibres, recycled or renewable resources
-empower your staff to take the work kitchen cups and bowls etc to get their takeaway coffees, breakfasts or lunches in
-eat at the venue and ask for your food in crockery, not single use items. Tell your existing go-to’s that you’d love it they provided your food like this. Maybe stop eating at places that won’t accommodate this, but don’t just leave, tell them why.)
-have some work (branded?) keep-cups and containers or encourage staff to use their own
-get whole foods where you can
-get fresh foods
-phase out single item plastic packaging
-have work reusable shopping bags and containers you can take and have refilled
-Get reusable sponges and wash cloth options and run them through the washing machine/have laundered.
-Train your staff not to leave them full and festering in the sink.
-Be the CEO or the Manager who’s not afraid to model this when you walk into the kitchen.
-GIFTS AND MATERIALS FOR CLIENTS:
-give organic presents (eg food or flowers)
-give clothing or accessories from eco friendly, sustainable companies
-give branded keep cups or items that promote reusing, renewing and recycling
-use renewable wrapping instead of items people will likely end of throwing out
-use eco friendly printers who print on recycled materials, use eco friend inks
HOW TO MAKE YOUR BUSINESS MORE PROFITABLE
-invest in ethical companies and new technologies that support the people and the planet
-declare your values and interest in sustainability and partner with all the companies, millionaires, billionaires who are already on board with this. This is not just some “lefty greenie hippy thing.” There’s no shortage of them out there. And A LOT of people feel the same post bushfires. It's time.
-Decide to go all in with change. Take the breaks off, so that you and the world around you, can transform, rearrange and be reborn into something new. Not to mention that it can grow into becoming profitable.
-CHECK YOUR BELIEFS:
Some to watch out for and let go of:
- “ethical and sustainable is too expensive”
-“change might cost me everything I had already worked so hard to build”
-“ethical and spiritual = BROKE”
-“going green is going to cost me all my clients”
-“ethical/sustainable is going to get my ostracised and laughed at”
-“we have to fight to create change.”
-"change has to be full of struggle and hard."
THOUGHTS TO REMEMBER:
-Ethical sales and business is real
-Ethical is abundant
-Ethical partnerships make you stronger
-Change is a good thing (and can be full of ease and grace)
-There is now more than ever, an over-abundance of people who feel the same way about wanting to band together and do something, together, it’s just a matter of finding, connecting and then co-creating with them
-Every little thing you do along the way, makes a difference
-Every little loving change you make within, ripples out into the world outside
-This doesn’t all have to be charitable. You’re still allowed to charge well for your wisdom, your solutions and your time along the way
-Remember the law of reciprocity and the infinite nature of the flow of give and receive- all you give, comes back and what you need, is always coming, from somewhere, if another source and at another time.
-Somewhere, the solutions and what we seek, already exist, somewhere we’re already enough, somewhere we’ve already achieved and are able to receive it. We just need to remember what we did, HOW we got there, WHERE things came from, WHO was involved and open up to being, receiving, creating THAT.
-Look for what unites us, not at what divides us and for where you can be of service
-BE a living, walking embodiment of the change you wish to see.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.