Going Beyond The Messaging: How To Really Commit To Being A Green Business

On a basic level, we all agree that we need to be making more of an effort to go green. We all understand the fundamental importance of changing our approach towards environmental practices for the better. We all see the news reports about extreme weather events around the globe, from the floods in Japan to the heatwaves in Seattle, and we read about the melting glaciers that are going to have an irreversible effect on the world, and we know that we need to start making changes now.

But there is a big difference between understanding this and actually making big positive changes. It is easy enough to write a section on your corporate website about how seriously you are taking climate change, but the steps that need to be taken need to be taken now. 

There is this notion that going green is not something that can happen overnight, and that it is a process that will cost a huge amount of time and money. While it is certainly true that a snap of the fingers will not bring about a drastically reduced carbon footprint, there are things that you can start doing immediately that will make a difference and which will lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future for your business. Here are just a few ways that you can get started.

Don’t Be Afraid To Think Big…

The signs of climate change that we have seen in the news over the last year or so have been startling, and there is a clear consensus in the scientific community that the amount of time remaining in which we can make a difference is getting very short indeed. What that means is that this is absolutely the time to be making big changes. We can no longer afford to not think about the long-term impact of our business practices. If we want to make sure that our companies are around in ten or fifteen years, or frankly even the next five, then you need to embrace the idea of major change.

…But Don’t Forget The Little Things 

With that being said, it is important to remember that the smaller actions that we take all add up. And it’s not just about making sure that plastics are getting recycled in the staff break room. The little steps that you take go towards creating a broader atmosphere of awareness and positivity around the issues that we are all facing. Talking to your staff about how you can make it easier for them to be more environmentally aware could make a real difference. Ask for their input on ideas that they would like to get involved in, such as volunteering time at local green charities and initiatives. Would offering them financial incentives for choosing a greener way to get to work make a difference?

Be the leader of your green initiatives, and model the behaviors you want your staff to follow. This can start by switching to sustainable energy sources, setting up recycling stations in the office, or buying refurbished office equipment. In short, walk the talk.

Find Ways To Improve Your Knowledge Of The Issues

One of the biggest hurdles for a lot of people out there when it comes to finding ways to make a positive impact is not having the proper education to make the right decisions. We all know that we should be doing something, but it can be tricky to get a grip on the ideas that will shape our understanding and our attitudes in the years to come. This is not a temporary issue that we are facing. This is something that is only going to become more important and more pressing as we move through the next decade. Taking a course that works for you on business sustainability will help you get a handle on the issues such as climate change, pollution and resource scarcity, and give you the tools you need to create a framework for your business’ future.

Don’t Be Afraid To Be Challenged

One of the results of our increasingly online society is that there is always someone ready and waiting to counter a statement with an “oh really?” response. Anyone who runs a business social media account will be well aware of this and will almost certainly have been met with a contrary response on a regular basis. It is often easy to ignore these challenges online, but when it comes to environmental policy, it pays to listen. And this goes beyond social media. 

If you are advertising the fact that you are a business that cares about the environment, you are going to be challenged on what that means exactly. That means that you not only need to have a response ready to illustrate what it is that you are doing to have that positive impact, but you need to be prepared to listen to people who are going to tell you that you need to be doing things differently. We are seeing how young people around the world are holding older generations to account and challenging them to act. This is how we learn, and this is how we effect change. 

Clay Miller
the authorClay Miller
I am the creator/writer of and I'm an advocate for oceans, beaches, state parks. I enjoy all things outdoors (e.g. running, golf, gardening, hiking, etc.) I am a graduate of the University of Kentucky (Go Wildcats!!). I'm also a huge fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers. I was born and raised in the beautiful state of Kentucky.