‘Eco-friendly’, ‘green’, ‘sustainability’ – catchphrases that in recent years, have come to the fore across all spheres – businesses included. Consolidating compassion for the environment and business objectives doesn’t come easy, but little by little, companies around the globe are implementing changes for the collective good.

Morgan Clendaniel, Editor of innovation-focused Co.Exist, wrote an article about how brands that better the lives of their consumers will be the ones that outlast their competitors. According to Clendaniel, “More than half (51%) of consumers want to reward responsible companies by shopping there; 53% would pay a 10% premium for products from a responsible company.” If those statistics aren’t motivation to move towards green business practice, we’ve rounded up a variety of initiatives being adopted by companies.

  1. Encouraging employees to work from home

Cloud-based technology now enables employees to work remotely. Skype, Dropbox and paperless office management systems like Asana are all conducive to working and communicating with co-workers in different locations. What’s more, since the commute to and from work is eradicated, carbon emissions are drastically reduced. Besides benefitting the environment, having staff who work from home is incredibly beneficial to business operations as the employees are typically happier, less stressed and more productive’

  1. Paperless offices

The use of paper in many businesses is becoming obsolete. Almost all tasks can be conducted on a laptop – and thanks to email – the printing of documents is now eradicated. If your business still has a need for paper –as some do – be responsible about how you use and dispose of it. Opt for recycled paper wherever possible, and have recycling bins within reach across all departments. Have a policy that enforces the use of scrap paper for note-taking or internal communication and reward employees who adhere to this practice.

  1. Roof-top gardens are replacing dead space

Forward-thinking businesses are turning the roofs of their buildings into living gardens  that provide a tranquil haven amidst the 9-5 hustle. If you’d like to exercise your green thumb in the workplace, opt for indigenous plants that require less water than alien species.

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Rooftop gardens are more than just a means to a green business – they’re a great way of engaging your employees, improving insulation (and as a by-product, emissions), and reduce the amount of noise that enters a building. If you’d like the wider community to benefit from your garden in the sky, plant vegetables that can be donated to schools or soup kitchens. Better yet – use the space as a vegetable garden where people can learn how to grow their own food – a skill that will aid the environment and members of society for years to come.

  1. Support green suppliers

One key aspect of creating a green business is to support like-minded companies. Green business practices will become increasingly sustainable as companies are rewarded for their efforts. Opting to use environmentally-conscious suppliers across all areas of your business is a good place to start. These include your out-cleaning services, catering provider, furniture provider and so on. For a directory on eco-friendly service providers and suppliers, have a look here.

  1. Drive smarter

Motor vehicles cause a high number of carbon emissions . One of the easiest ways to implement green business practices is to re-think the way your employees and your use your cars. Get your staff on board by incentivising carpooling, and upgrade your company fleet. If possible, use hybrid or cars that are designed to emit less carbon, like Volkswagen’s BlueMotion range.

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Image Credit: We are the practitioners