Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Earth Day Business Resources

What can businesses do for Earth Day? From easy no cost money saving strategies to intensive overhauls of your workplace and supply chains, here is a comprehensive list of resources to help your business make the transition to a Greener world.

Administrative Operations

Reduce and reuse wherever possible. Eliminate unnecessary photocopying and encourage e-mailing. Use spell check and proofread before you print or copy. Print double sided whenever possible. Use digital storage solutions to cut down on paper. Set up an area to store and exchange reusable office supplies.


Recycle everything you no longer need, from paper to packaging for shipping and e-cycling electronics. Find a recycling center near you. Make sure you properly dispose of items you can't reuse or recycle.

Alternative Transportation

Start a carpool, walk, bike, or use mass transportation instead of driving. Provide reserved parking for carpoolers. Offer transit passes to employees who take the bus or subway and bike racks for cyclists. Let workers telecommute. Teleconference instead of travel.

Energy Management

Unplug technology when it's not in use. Up to 75 percent of the electricity used to power office equipment is consumed while the product is turned off but still plugged in. Turn off your computer monitor, printers, copy machines, and the lights when they are not being used. If possible, take the stairs instead of using the elevator. See the consumer's guide to energy efficiency and renewable energy.

Use Energy Star's energy-efficient office products. Explore energy efficiency tips and products. See programs, tools and resources.

Green Power Partnership: Use the tools and other resources. Review information on the organizational procurement of Green power, see advice and technical support. Explore how Green power can improve your organization’s environmental performance.

General Technical Overview of Power Management: Review methods of maximizing IT power savings, see savings estimates, activation instructions, and software tools.


Buy recycled content, remanufactured, and recyclable office products. At a minimum, buy recycled paper and recycle it again. Buy compact fluorescent bulbs to replace incandescent bulbs. Make the environment, and not just price, a factor when purchasing. Tell suppliers that you're interested in sustainable products, and set specific goals for buying recycled, refurbished or used. Talk to suppliers about alternatives to toxins used in batteries and copier toner.

Water Management

Water-efficiency: Reduce operating costs by employing water-efficient practices. Convey an image of stewardship to employees, customers, and the general public by helping to conserve water resources for future generations.

Green Building

Apply green building principles to your office buildings: See how sustainable design (green building) principles apply to your place of business. Use tools and read information on worker productivity, risk and cost reduction and see what it means to build with greater responsibility towards future generations.

Go Green with GSA. Review the U.S. Government Services environmental initiatives designed to help federal agencies Go Green.

Green Resources for Business

The Global Environmental Management Initiative: (GEMI) Use the tools and review information geared towards helping businesses achieve environmental excellence.

Center for Waste Minimization: Conduct sustainable opportunities assessments to help your facilities reduce their waste and/or recycle by-products and pollution prevention.

Green Pages: Find screened and approved Green businesses.

Products and Services: Find environmentally preferable products and services, including environmental attributes to look for, procurement guidance, tools, case studies, and other resources.

Fedcenter.gov: Explore links to, and highlights from programs which enable agencies to meet these goals include: Environmentally Preferable Purchasing (EPP), Comprehensive Procurement Guidelines (CPG), ENERGY STAR®, the Green Procurement Program (GPP), and the Federal Energy Management Program (FEMP). Regulations, Guidance, and Policy / Supporting Information and Tools / Lessons Learned / Training, Presentations, and Briefings / Conferences and Events.

EPA Publications: What you can do at the office / What you can do in small business / What you can do in industry / What you can do in retail / What you can do when planning and conducting meetings and events.

Sustainable Business

World Business Council for Sustainable Development: Review a wide range of information on sustainable development.

Business and Climate Change Solutions: See what the science of climate change means in terms of the risks and opportunities for business.

Eco-Capitalism: Review tips from a successful eco-capitalist.

Businesses have many choices as to how they will celebrate Earth Day and increasingly discerning consumers are rewarding sincere efforts from companies who are investing in a sustainable world.

Although measures like switching to compact fluorescent bulbs can deliver up to 75 percent energy savings and last more than 10 times longer than incandescent bulbs, clearly this is not enough. Sustainability includes simple efforts repeated millions of times, but if we are to achieve the kind of change required we will need to do more than change light bulbs.

It is important that businesses lead the general population by doing as much as they can. By carefully reviewing operations and processes, businesses can find innovative and creative ways to recycle, reduce and reuse. We must take bold steps towards sustainability, not merely on Earth Day but everyday.

Next: Silencing Earth Day Critics

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