Energy audits, paperless offices and workplace vegetable gardens are some of the ways franchisees can do their part in promoting eco-friendly values.
When a dead sperm whale washed ashore in Spain with nearly 65 pounds of plastic debris in its gastrointestinal tract, the news became more than just watercooler talk.
The story broke ahead of the April 21 observance of Earth Day, a reminder that individuals and businesses alike can be proactive in protecting Mother Earth. Experts say the whale ingested plastic bags, ropes and nets, suffering from “gastric shock to its stomach and intestines.”
Small-business owners worldwide are mobilizing to preserve the environment. Consider the following examples that you might use in your business or franchise:
Energy audits: A growing number of local power companies—and consultants—provide assessments of a business’ energy consumption. According to Mr. Electric, a Neighborly company, commercial audits can help reduce lighting costs by up to 75%.
Environmentally savvy leaders typically align with corporate social responsibility initiatives. CSR affects company culture, and organizations often reap benefits when hiring employees. Newcomers to the workforce are especially cognizant of a company’s values. Many young adults accept—or reject—an offer based on an organization’s philanthropic practices.
In addition to community outreach projects, small-business owners can have candid discussions with vendors. In the home contracting industry, franchisees can learn about the proper use and disposal of hazardous cleaning products, pesticides and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) to help reduce pollution. According to Forbes.com, “customers are concerned where their products come from, how they are made and what the vendors with whom they do business are doing to protect and defend the environment.”
Paperless offices: Storing paper documents in the office is a “costly expense,” says a post on EMagazine.com. The average office worker—according to Records Nation—will use about 10,000 sheets of paper per year. “Instead of creating paper reports and files, scanning documents into an online storage base can help reduce paper storage problems,” the post says. “Focus on purging the papers that you don’t need can free up space for things you do need.”
Bill Crane, owner of two Mr. Appliance franchises in Alabama, says his eight employees save energy and resources—and are better organized—thanks to technology. Incorporating iPhones and messaging apps into technicians’ daily field work has been extremely helpful, Crane says.
Employee incentives: Shop owners whose staffers recycle and reduce the use of plastics and synthetic foam might show their appreciation with a company lunch or team outing. Savings from the purchase of used office furniture can be shared among the rank-and-file, too.
Organizations are also using vegetable gardens not only to connect with the environment but also to nourish employer/worker relationships.
“Urban agriculture initiatives” are seen on rooftops in New York, Paris and London, Reuters reports. Hundreds of postal workers in Paris, for instance, are cultivating tomatoes, herbs and flowers through a project dubbed Facteur Graine, or Seed Postman. Corinne Lienhart, communications officer and volunteer says: “It helps us connect with nature. We’re in front of computers; we live in a virtual world, so doing those little things help people reconnect with each other, with the living.”
What is your franchise doing on Earth Day—and year-round—to set a positive example for employees, customers and future generations?