How to make your business more sustainable in 2010

How to make your business more sustainable in 2010

With a new year comes the to opportunity to think anew about sustainability and your business. There are numerous opportunities to improve your company's footprint and here at Earth Charter we love to celebrate companies doing well by doing good. As we build up to our Sustainable Business Awards Ceremony on February 19th, 2010 we will profile a number of ways that you can improve your business's environmental impact to build a more sustainable company. Also, as we build up to this year's awards, we will profile the sustainability achievements of a few of our past award winners.

This week, I wanted to offer some great advice on how to improve your company's sustainability efforts from Kelly Spors, a former Small Business reporter for The Wall Street Journal and the current communications and outreach coordinator for the nonprofit Energy Smart:

Being an eco-conscious business is no longer just something that’s the right thing to do – it makes financial sense. Environmental policy and energy efficiency are priorities of the Obama administration, so businesses that don’t take voluntary steps to reduce their carbon footprints may face regulations later on. What’s more, consumers are demanding more sustainable practices from the companies they patronize.

New Year’s is perfect time to hone a game plan for the year ahead. Here are seven steps to get your business greener in 2010:

  1. Write a sustainability plan. Put your environmental goals in writing, so you have a roadmap to follow throughout the year. Any plan should include a mission statement describing what you’re trying to achieve and set some attainable goals for the year ahead – along with descriptions of how you’ll achieve those goals. Find out more about sustainability planning here.
  2. Focus on low- and no-cost first. Before you install solar panels, look for easy, affordable ways to cut waste. You may be surprised: Simple steps, such as setting energy-saving modes on office computers, installing motion sensors to control lights or writing an office recycling policy can generate big effects and savings at little cost.
  3. Get an audit. Most utility companies offer their commercial customers energy audits for free or at little cost. An auditor can tell you how where your business uses the most energy and the expected financial payback of various upgrades, so you know where to target your precious dollars.
  4. Track your progress. Keep tabs on the steps your taking and monitor how much money and waste or energy you’re saving. Not only will this provide great motivation (and bragging rights), but it will allow you to see whether your sustainability plan is working. You might, for instance, track your monthly energy bills or track your carbon savings.

You can read more advice on how to improve your company's impact in 2010 at, and support sustainable business by supporting the Earth Charter Sustainable Business Awards.

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