The idea of having a green business is very topical at the moment and every change we make to the way we consume resources and reduce waste helps. Here are the green things I do as part of my business practice. What can you do in your business?
I got rid of my car almost ten years ago, instead opting to pay more to live closer to the city and a train station. Public transport makes for longer travel times, but I use this time to catch up on my reading, writing, emails or just relaxing and staring out the window.
I walk where possible, especially between meetings in the city. Walking often brings much welcomed clarity to the thoughts in my head.
Not having a car is probably the largest single factor in slowing down my days as I am not tempted to book back-to-back meetings. On the rare mad-schedule days, I use taxis.
I work out of cafés quite a bit and I try to choose ones that use washable cutlery and crockery to cut down on my use of disposable cups and spoons.
Working from a café or a client’s premises means I am in a space that is already lit and air conditioned and this avoids the unnecessarily duplication of resources and costs.
I use a laptop for many reasons. It is engineered from the ground up to be much more energy efficient than a desktop PC. Having an on-board battery protects me from power outages. And when required, I can literally put all my work away in a drawer.
A laptop also gives me the freedom to work wherever I want. It turns public transport into productive time.
To further conserve power, I set my Power Options to power off the monitor after 15 minutes of inactivity. This also extends the life of my screen.
Because I like everything on-screen to stay where I had them, I use the Hibernate or Stand By feature to put the laptop into sleep mode instead of shutting it down. This saves almost as much power as a complete shutdown.
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I read and write almost everything completely on-screen these days. I chose a laptop with a high-resolution screen so the text is sharp and legible, and I can work with two A4 pages side by side. I also have an external LCD monitor that is pivoted to a portrait format so I can see an entire A4 page in actual size without scrolling! On the rare occasions when I do print draft documents, I use the draft mode to reduce toner usage and print two sheets to a page.
The on-screen mark-up tools in Word and Acrobat make it easier to collaborate with others without needing to print the documents first. All the documentation I supply my clients is electronic and designed with legible fonts and layouts to ensure good on-screen legibility.
I don’t use pre-printed pamphlets for marketing as I find the web far more adaptive and flexible. The only printed material I have is my business card! I also try to file everything electronically. All of my important personal and business documents are kept on my secured and backed-up hard disk. If there ever was a fire, all I need to grab is my laptop and the cat!
I use Adobe Acrobat to ‘staple’ together pages generated from different applications, review and mark-up documents, fill-in and sign forms and store scanned documents.
I also use software like the World Community Grid agent to automatically capture and use the spare processor cycles to compute cures for diseases.
I buy software via downloads where possible. Not only do I get instant satisfaction, I also save on GST if the supplier is overseas and I avoid the environmental impact of storing, packing and shipping. I don’t print the electronic manuals, as they are far more useful in a fully searchable form!
These are certainly not definitive measures, still I hope they have inspired you to look at how green your business is.
Please share your tips and thoughts below!