With such diverse businesses as direct mail firms and oil companies trying to go green, more and more American businesses are realizing that going green not only helps the environment, but also cuts costs—often dramatically.
Greening Your Business: The Hands-on Guide to Creating a Successful and Sustainable Business, by well-known eco-author Daniel Sitarz, helps create green standards by providing a step-by-step approach to analyzing business operations and developing detailed plans to make those operations much more energy and resource efficient.
Sitarz points out that all businesses have “a truly once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to lead the world in the effort to solve our common environmental problems, with climate change leading the list. Business, really, is the only force on the planet with the resources, personnel, reach and power to produce the rapid changes that are necessary to solve our problems. And every business, regardless of size, can be a part of this effort, while simultaneously saving money and becoming more competitive.”
Greening Your Business provides small and medium business owners with a comprehensive guide to saving energy, saving materials, and saving money by reducing their businesses’ impact on the Earth. Every element of a business’ impact on the environment is examined in this book from energy and water use, waste generation, transportation, computing and office equipment, supply chains and purchasing, building practices to product and service design.
Medium and small businesses comprise 90 percent of the businesses in the world and represent more than 60 percent of all global economic activity. Sitarz notes that there has been little practical guidance available on the basic steps and systematic process involved in greening a business. The U.S. Bureau of the Census reports that of the 6 million businesses now operating, 5.4 million have 20 or fewer employees. For smaller businesses, both the choice—and the action necessary—to create a successful and sustainable business may be in the hands of a single person.
Many small and medium-sized businesses have already taken great strides toward minimizing their impact on the natural world.
The three quickest and easiest ways for a company to reduce energy use and its carbon footprint, according to Sitarz, would be pursuing lighting efficiency, seeking more efficient methods of transportation, and using energy monitoring equipment.
Lighting is one of the most overlooked and easiest ways to save on energy costs. Upgrading lighting systems to the latest technology typically has about a one to two-year cost payback, meaning the money you spend on the upgrades will be paid back in actual energy cost savings in as little as one year—good business by any measure. Transportation, whether in shipping, the use of business cars, or airline travel offers numerous ways to cut costs and energy usage. And are lots of new and low-cost products on the market that can help in overall energy savings—from power bars that can prevent shadow energy use from equipment, to sophisticated timers that can shut off equipment when not in use. Energy monitors show very clearly and graphically how energy is being used.
“A lot of people think that the impact they make by adopting energy-saving strategies is so miniscule that it doesn’t make a difference,” says Sitarz. “However, if more small businesses began adopting green practices, the businesses would not only save money, but there would be a marked decrease in pollution. For instance, on the TV show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, they built a house so energy efficient that it generates more power than it consumes. Imagine not having to pay the electricity bill every month for your business and being perceived by your customers as a socially responsible company.”
Each copy of the book comes with a CD which contains dozens of computer templates and worksheets for developing a complete business environmental plan, along with Excel® spreadsheet programs that calculate a business’ carbon footprint. The CD also includes additional green business strategies and over 1,500 pages of business environmental publications.
Sitarz’ earlier book book Agenda 21: The Earth Summit Strategy to Save our Planet contains an introduction by the late Senator Paul Simon and was written in cooperation with the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. His other book on environmental issues, Sustainable America, with a foreword written by former Vice President Al Gore, was written in cooperation with President Clinton’s Council on Sustainable Development, and was the popular abridged version of the findings of that council.
Daniel Sitarz has been lecturing on environmental and sustainability topics at the Southern Illinois University at Carbondale for the last 10 years and has counseled many organizations on greening their operations.
The book is published by Earth Press (www.earth-press.com). A website for the book at www.greeningyourbusiness.org provides links to the websites referenced in the book, as well as the forms and spreadsheets found on the CD.