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How to become eco-friendly?
Today common words like “eco-friendly”, “environmental-friendly” or “planet-friendly” have joined the vocabulary of media, education, marketing, organizations, etc., and of course are being widely used to promote environmental protection.
But these claims are sometimes misleading the public. In fact, “Eco-friendly” is defined as not being harmful to the environment; and being eco-friendly literally means being earth-friendly.
All over the world, environmentally conscious people, even organizations on their own, are taking actions towards being more eco-friendly.
People are making changes in their lifestyles and their old habits opting for more pro-environmental behavior.
Earth day brings together all people, regardless of age, ethnicity, gender, income, or geography, to raise the awareness and take action regarding environmental concerns.
So what are the benefits of being eco-friendly, for businesses and homes ?
1. Attract customers
It may come as no surprise that ethical spending has experienced huge growth over the last couple of years.
Findings from the Ethical Consumer Markets Report 2017 shows that ethical spending grew by 3.2% last year, meaning that the market for green business is now worth an impressive £81.3 billion.
So, if you don’t want to miss out, promoting green products or ethical practices is a great way to get involved.
A brilliant example of the opportunities presented by this is the increase in popularity of vegetarianism. The number of people who considered themselves vegetarian rose by 30%, making way for a more diverse restaurant market.
Many restaurateurs, including McDonald’s, have already picked up on and taken advantage of this by adapting their menus to attract this growing audience.
1. Lower carbon footprint
Reducing our carbon footprint is something that we should all be taking into consideration. It’s important that we take steps now and start working to reduce our negative impact and help to sustain the environment for our future generations.
2. Get a great green reputation
According to a Cone Communications/ Ebiquity Global CSR Study, 84% of consumers across the world say they seek out responsible products when possible.
81% of these consumers say that the availability of these products is the largest barrier preventing them from purchasing more.
So, if you are in the ethical product business, customers are hunting for you make the most of it!
3. Gain a green edge over competitors
Going green can do wonders for your public image.
Knowing that you are conducting business in an eco-friendly manner allows you to introduce a green slant to your marketing strategy.
By doing this, you’ll gain a significant advantage over your non-environmentally conscious competitors.
4. Water and energy efficiency
Energy prices are steadily increasing year by year, and with a growing population, the demand and costs for energy are only set to increase. Incorporating energy efficient systems throughout your home or business will noticeably cut the price of your bills, and the initial setup cost will soon be earned back through the savings you’ll make.
5. Create a healthier workplace
A healthier workplace ties in nicely with becoming a green business because it involves measures such as introducing organic food options into your cafeteria, introducing plants to clean the air or using eco-friendly cleaning products.
Making your business a healthier place to be for the people within it can increase productivity and reduce the number of sick days that your employees take by up to 20%.
6. Save money on your energy bills
Implementing eco-friendly working practices throughout your business can also be a fantastic way to reduce your biggest business overheads.
Simple efficiency measures can make a BIG DIFFERENCE to your energy spend.
7. Higher property value
Buyers are increasingly starting to see the benefits that eco-friendly homes offer, from lower running costs to a more sustainable and future proof way of living.
Green homes are now highly sought after, and as such attract a much higher property value than their non-green counterparts. Investing in an eco-friendly home now means you’ll be one step ahead for the future.
8. Less maintenance
Sustainability is key when building an eco home, the aim is to construct a home that lasts and has as little effect on the surrounding environment as possible.
Green building materials are often more durable and require much less maintenance over time, helping your home to look newer for longer and saving money on costly repairs.
This extended lifespan and little need for upkeep can also help to significantly reduce your home’s environmental impact.
9. Healthy indoor environment
Most standard quality products contain harmful substances to some degree, whether this is in the materials they are made from or used during the manufacturing process.
One of the biggest benefits of choosing to build with eco materials is that they are free from these harmful chemicals, finishes and potential environmental pollutants.
This makes them safer to build with and creates a healthier home environment for your family.
Here are some easy and wise ideas, for individuals and businesses, to become more eco-friendly.
Practical tips for individuals
1. Use public transportation instead of private vehicles will contribute to reduction of energy use and carbon footprint.
2. Buying local produce when possible will reduce the energy for product transport and helps protect the environment.
3. Switching the lights and other electronic equipment when unused.
4. Not leaving water running while washing hands, face and/or teeth.
5. Choosing to read (books and/or newsletters) online instead of using hardcopies helps saving trees, energy and water.
6. Growing your own garden contributes to a healthier lifestyle and environment.
7. Separate waste at source, especially plastics, glasses and papers, for easier recycling.
8. Take old clothes, furniture, books and equipment to second-hand stores.
9. Avoid using plastic or paper disposable cups. The use of a real glass/cup or reusable tumblers helps reduce landfill waste produced by disposable cups.
10. Replace ordinary light bulbs with high-efficiency ones (CFL bulb or LED bulb).
Tips for small businesses
There are several ways in which businesses can become more eco-friendly.
1. Going paperless
2. Energy saving practices
3. Using water efficiently
4. Adopting environmentally friendly and sustainable practices
5. Providing eco-friendly products and services
6. Calculating and managing your carbon footprint
7. Developing a waste management plan
8. Initiating social responsibility projects
9. Volunteering in tree planting and tree care projects
10. Investing in renewable resources
Environmentally friendly business practices do not only benefit the environment, but also help the company save money.
In the last two decades, companies are increasingly concerned with achieving and demonstrating sound environmental performance by controlling the impacts of their activities, products and services on the environment.
Obtaining certification on international standards such as ISO 14001 (Environmental Management System Standard) and ISO 50001 (Energy Management System Standard) helps to prove to the customers and stakeholders, that the company is aware of environmental obligations and it has taken responsibility for its environmental impacts.