Green Tips for Small and Medium Businesses


By Dan Smith, Head of Integrated Marketing for the Middle East and Africa region of Xerox’s Developing Markets Operations.

One of the best ways to get environmentally-friendly initiatives off the ground is to empower your employees to lead the charge. You can harness the energy of your workforce to create a “green team,” a management-supported and self-empowered group of individuals who share a common goal of educating, supporting and seeking changes that will reduce your environmental footprint—things that align with your company’s sustainability goals and enable environmental improvements and cost savings or productivity improvements through their everyday practices.

Green teams can gain support and build momentum within your company. Just follow these 5 simple steps:

  1. Select a leader: This person should be energetically committed to the program, passionate and willing to manage others.
  2. Seek out management support: Getting support from the boss and setting a tone from top management will ensure access to the information and resources needed to succeed.  More importantly, it will help make sure the team’s efforts are forwarding the overall goals of your company.
  3. Recruit green team members, but start small: Send an open invitation or target people that are outwardly enthusiastic about the program and able to commit time to help spearhead the effort. Limit the number of Green Team members.  Anything bigger than 8 people might get bureaucratic and hard to come to consensus on important decisions and course of action.
  4. Share roles and expectations, early: Be sure everyone is in synch with the mission and requirements to get there.
  5. Set goals and measure results: Plan out the next 12 months. Determine what you will track in terms of progress made.  Start with easily attainable goals.  The best way to foster success is to demonstrate success early on and usually the momentum will build from there. Share your results with the larger community – the entire office, and extended group or the whole company. Your idea might become a program or process adopted by the entire company.

Small businesses are accustomed to coming together and doing whatever it takes to get the job done.  As more and more small businesses work to consume less energy smart and preserve natural resources, looking to their employee base to help implement change is an obvious starting place.

Here is what every employee can do in the office to make their small business greener:

  • Turn off your computer when it is not in use
  • Set your computer’s monitor to low power mode after 10 minutes of non-use
  • Turn off the lights and office appliances when they are not needed
  • Wear comfortable, seasonal clothing appropriate for changes in building temperature
  • Share other energy savings ideas with your co-workers

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