Earth Day: 5 Small Business Tips to Go ‘Green’
Founded in 1970, Earth Day was created to create public consciousness about environmental protection. The first Earth Day led to the creation of the United States Environmental Protection Agency and the passage of the Clean Air, Clean Water, and Endangered Species Acts.
Now, 44 years after it was founded, many companies are “going green” through the creation of products or practices that are environmentally friendly. Beyond helping the environment, “going green” can have business benefits as well. As, the Small Business Administration points out, “if you are already competitive in terms of price, quality and performance, adding sustainability and green marketing to your business strategy may enhance your brand image and secure your market share among the growing number of environmentally concerned consumers.” Additionally, many times making environmentally friendly choices can help reduce overhead costs.
Here are 5 tips to make your business more eco-friendly.
Change from incandescent light bulbs to LED lighting. According to Energy Star, LED lights consume at least 75% less energy than incandescent bulbs and last 10-25 times longer. This means you have to replace the bulbs less often and are saving the environment while decreasing your energy bills.
Reuse – Bring nature into your store
If it fits your brand, why not bring in some outdoor elements into your business location to show your commitment to “being green”? If this doesn’t fit your brand identity, if you have a retail location, consider designing your April window displays around Earth Day, bringing in nature-inspired decor just for the month.
Local Minnesota shop, Oh Baby! uses outdoor elements in their store like branches hanging from the ceiling with colorful braided fabric to create floating clothing racks and tree stumps as risers to create varying product levels. It gives the store a unique, whimsical feel perfect for children’s clothing, while saving on merchandising display costs.
Add a recycling bin into your shop or office to encourage employees to recycle their paper, plastic and aluminum waste. But, go further! What else can you do as a business owner to differentiate from your competitors through your green initiatives?
Origins did a great job of doing just that. Through Origins Recycling Program, Origins offers to recycle ANY empty cosmetic container at their locations for free. In the past, they have promoted this “Green” program by incentivizing those that bring in an empty cosmetic brand by giving them a sample product in return. This program resonates with brand identity as Origins’ tagline is “Powered by Nature. Proven by Science”. It also generated PR and drove customers in store to save the planet and receive a free sample. This gave in-store sales representatives a chance to sell their products while they had a captive audience.
Use eco-friendly products for your retail packaging
Update your retail packaging to be more eco-friendly. This is an easy change that can make your businesses more green.
Bags & Bows’ ECOllection has redefined the expectation of sustainable retail wrap. It’s colorful, coordinated, modern and durable. Check out our selection of eco-friendly, recyclable and reusable gift bags, boxes and tissue paper, all designed to delight consumers with a green conscience.
Examine your target audience. Are they online? If so, think about switching from direct mail promotions to digital promotions (website, email, mobile and social media). It will decrease paper waste, production and mailing costs and is more immediate than direct mail. Digital promotions also allows businesses to do flash sales, driving customers into your business when you have the highest sales need. Specifically, social media advertising provides businesses with an opportunity to do A/B testing with greater ease to test content, different audiences, etc.