Being ‘green’ has long been in the domain of big businesses, as they prove they are good corporate citizens, but with 92% of Australian businesses falling into the SMB category, that still leaves a large portion of Australian businesses who are yet to ‘clean up’ their act.
Getting started can sometimes be the hardest hurdle, so hotfrog, an online business directory for SMBs has developed some easy to implement initiatives to help get you started.
1. Cut travel costs by using virtual conferencing tools
Set up conferencing rooms and use the phone to speak with clients where possible, to immediately cut your CO₂ emissions. By reducing the need to commute to and from customers and suppliers, you could reduce your businesses overall emissions drastically whilst saving your business money.
A study of an Australian business claims it achieved a 16 per cent reduction in air travel in a single year after it adopted videoconferencing and other telepresence facilities.
This is a great example of reducing a business’s carbon emissions simply by using the telephone.
2. Say yes to double-sided printing
Re-using is one of the quickest and easiest steps we can take to reduce our impact on the environment. By printing on both sides of the paper, not only are you saving the environment but you’re cutting your businesses paper costs in half.
3. Your Inbox is your mailbox
No one checks flyers in the mails, but everyone reads emails. Request your correspondence electronically; it saves both paper and time.
4. Bring a cardigan to work
It’s quite easy to control your own body temperature instead of changing the whole building’s temperature to suit an individual’s needs.
Be prepared and bring additional clothing to work, don’t turn the air conditioning on and save the electricity bill.
5. Build your brochures online
As Australia becomes an increasingly digital society, building your brochure online not only allows you to deliver it faster than before, but also saves on spent energy and resources used for printing, packaging and posting.
There are plenty of free online tools available with the hotfrog’ Small Business Hub being a great place to start: http://www.hotfrog.com.au/sbh/Guides/default.aspx
6. Car pool
We all recognise the nasty environmental impacts associated with driving, and yet we continue to make the long commute to work alone.
Car pooling is a concept that’s been around since the 70’s and yet few people actually implement this obvious strategy, to reduce their business’s carbon footprint. By hopping in the car with a colleague or friend, you could immediately half your travel costs by splitting the cost of tolls, petrol and parking.
7. Invest in a ‘keep cup’
While giving up coffee might seem a bit dramatic, the impact of our love for take-away coffee is costing the environment dearly. By investing in a re-usable cup, you will immediately reduce your company’s daily impact on the environment while still being able to enjoy one of life’s greatest pleasures.
8. Turn off your computer at night
By switching off your computer at night, you are reducing your computer’s energy consumption considerably and while this might seem obvious, it will save on electricity bills and the environment. According to Microsoft you can
save $90 a year by turning off your computer at night.
9. Use energy saving light bulbs
Energy saving light bulbs may seem to be an expensive option up front, but wait until you receive your quarterly electricity bill. Not only are they good for the environment by saving energy, but they last longer too. Invest now!
 Climate Risk, Towards a High-Bandwidth, Low Carbon Future, (2007) p 46 (available at: www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/csr/docs/climate_full_report.pdf; last accessed: 25 June 2009).
Guest Post from Jeff Perlman, Marketing Manager of Hot Frog