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What is Earth Day, and Why It's Important for Businesses
Small Business and Self-Employed

What is Earth Day, and Why It's Important for Businesses

As a business owner, you may be thinking about what you can do to celebrate Earth Day in the workplace.

In Edelman’s 2022 Trust Barometer, studies showed that customers expect businesses and brands to take a stand on social issues and to be a driver for positive change. Consumers expect businesses rather than government or media to be the ones to drive change.

This extends to your employees who expect employers to advocate for environmental issues and eco-friendly practices in the workplace. 

But what can business owners do to celebrate Earth Day to implement changes that will have positive effects beyond Earth Day and Earth Month?

When Is Earth Day? 

Every year on April 22, the world observes Earth Day. The day's history dates back to 1970 when 20 million Americans participated in a grassroots protest demanding improved environmental regulations and bringing attention to issues like pesticide damage, hazardous drinking water, and air pollution.

The protest led to the emergence of a worldwide environmental movement, and people have used Earth Day to spread awareness of global issues like climate change ever since.

Every year, Earth Day's planners select a new theme to spotlight. Investing in our planet is the topic for 2022. Additionally, April is recognised as Earth Month. Everyone—individuals and organisations—are urged to set aside 30 days for actions that will help the environment by promoting awareness, appreciation, and education.

Why Should Small Businesses Care?

Regardless of your political or environmental philosophies, going green is a wise choice for small businesses. Even if you aren't concerned about protecting the environment, small businesses can save money by going green. 

Reducing your energy use is simply good business, especially considering skyrocketing gas prices, and doing so will result in lower expenses for the day-to-day running of premises.

There is a secondary incentive, too. The reality of climate change means that many businesses are at risk of natural disasters and the other effects of climate change. Extreme weather events are increasingly common worldwide and its smaller businesses that are most affected. This is because they don’t traditionally have the resources to cope or deal with a natural disaster that can ruin their business. In this sense, doing everything you can to protect your business, including measures promoting sustainability, is worthwhile for your business. 

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What Can Small Business Owners Do? 

Here are six things you can implement this Earth Day to make your business more sustainable or promote green practices more generally.

1. Switch to Recyclable Packaging

It's a good idea for your business to review your product packaging in light of Earth Day. Can you make a switch to recyclable materials? Can you, for instance, substitute bubble wrap for compostable tissue paper? Biodegradable air peanuts, mailers made entirely of recycled materials, and plant-based compostable bags are just a few of the eco-friendly packaging options available today.

2. Reduce Paper Usage

There are some simple strategies to reduce your paper usage even whether your employees are back in the office or have never left. One option to reduce printing is to use paperless contracts. Documents can be electronically or digitally edited by staff members, then saved to the cloud or a hard drive. 

Install document scanners and shredders in offices to promote the use of less paper. Another simple method for cutting down on usage is to print on both sides of a piece of paper. Think about replenishing your office's paper supply with recycled-content paper as well.

3. Work on Your Sustainability Goals

Many business owners are working on their ESG rating. ESG stands for Environmental, Social, and Governance rating. It's becoming a more and more common method of business evaluation. 

‘Environmental’ relates to how successfully a business preserves the environment by publishing carbon reports or making efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. ‘Social’ concerns the company's interactions with its workers, clients, morally sound supply chains, and the communities in which it conducts business. ‘Governance’ includes, among other things, the company's management, diversity, openness, audits, and shareholder rights.

As a business owner, you can set goals across these three pillars to measure your progress.

Also read: Best practices and benefits of a Sustainable Supply Chain

4. Entice Employees and Customers

Send your floors, teams, or departments into a friendly competition to see who can recycle the most bottles or shred the most paper. These activities help you achieve your environmental goals while also injecting a little fun into the workplace. The more enjoyable an activity is, the more probable it is that individuals will want to take part.

Consider offering discounts to clients who can demonstrate their recycling efforts or who agree to go paperless. Give customers discounts on specific items if they bring in recyclables to your store. For more rewards or bonuses, ask customers to disclose how they are being environmentally friendly online.

5. Shut Down Computers Every Night

Every night, it's simple to let our laptops go to sleep without totally turning them off. The idea that turning on a computer costs more energy than leaving it on all day is a misconception.

Powering it down and turning off your power strip every evening before leaving the office is the best method to save electricity. Additionally, it saves your company money because constantly running PCs result in higher utility costs.

6. Ask for an Energy Audit

Ask your power provider for an energy audit.

An audit can show you where you can make energy and financial savings by updating your equipment, using energy off-peak hours, or utilising renewable energy sources.

Find out whether there are any incentives or rebates available for the improvements your firm makes after receiving suggestions. This is advantageous to both businesses and the global community.

Carbon Neutrality as an Aim

Consider switching to renewable energy sources, developing a more sustainable supply chain, and selecting partners who support your climate-friendly objectives if you want to actually become "net zero" in your environmental impact.

Committing to carbon neutrality is more difficult said than done for the majority of small enterprises. And, figuring out where to begin is the hardest part. What green business options are available? What about the impact on your costs of these solutions?

You can explore an ever-growing list of green business solutions for small and medium enterprises through the Intuit Climate Action Marketplace

The provided solutions are intended to be straightforward and reasonably priced alternatives to standard business practices, making it easier for small enterprises to switch to a more environmentally friendly option.

QuickBooks, as part of Intuit, has been carbon neutral since 2015 and is committed to helping small businesses and the planet scale positive impact. You can read more about some of Intuit’s initiatives on climate and sustainability responsibility

Take a look for helpful advice on how you can take steps toward carbon neutrality in your business.

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