How companies can get started on a greener path

Contributor Amy Howell Hirt offers advice for companies looking to go green.

Contributor Amy Howell Hirt offers advice for companies looking to go green. 

In business, “sustainability” used to have a simple meaning, referring to a company’s ability to maintain and grow its operations and profits. Today, the term is much more worldly — often applying to the energy-efficient and environmentally friendly practices that a business undertakes in consideration of the greater good.

Even with existing office spaces and limited budgets, businesses can incorporate sustainable practices into their daily operations that will deliver a significant return on investment — for the environment and their bottom line.

“There are surprising ways that companies can save money by looking at where their insufficiencies are and implementing green practices,” says Anna Dengler, the director of sustainability at Great Forest, a New York City-based company that offers sustainability consulting for various companies, schools and other organizations.

Here’s how companies can get started toward a greener path.

Start small

Because compliance among employees can be a hurdle for implementing environmentally friendly programs, start with small, highly visible programs that deliver measurable results,Dengler recommends.

Consider launching a recycling program or switching to energy-efficient compact fluorescent light bulbs – which consume up to 75 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Initiatives such as these can help generate the buy-in that’s necessary to launch a larger sustainability program, Dengler says.

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