No matter how you spin before-and-after photos of pollution levels during the lockdown, climate change is still a very real and pressing issue. Add it to the list, right?

It’s also top-of-mind for consumers eager to shop more consciously. More and more shoppers value sustainability and in turn, are willing to spend more on products in exchange for peace of mind.

Business owners and entrepreneurs should be thinking about the role they play relative to this emerging trend. Will you be part of the problem, operating at status quo, or adopt more innovative practices as part of the solution?

Evaluate Your Packaging and Shipping Practices

For those in eCommerce, packaging and shipping practices are a major component to carbon footprint (in addition to manufacturing). These practices, naturally, also factor into operational costs, which is why opting for the cheapest solution is often most appealing.

However, what saves you money today in logistics may end up costing you in brand image and consumer trust down the road. 

There are a growing number of eco-minded shipping and packaging options to consider. From UPS carbon neutral to Boox, do your research and consider how the backend decisions you make tie into the values of your business.

Keep a Mug and Water Bottle at Your Desk

Globally, people consume a million plastic water bottles every minute. Bottles contribute to 91% of all plastic that isn’t recycled.

Rather than hold yourself to recycling every plastic bottle you purchase, cut it out completely. Paper coffee cups and plastic water cups can be easily swapped for a glass mug and reusable water bottle. Keep both at your desk as a reminder to hydrate and refill as needed.

If you have a break room to stock for employees, think about reusables on a larger scale. For your office is equipped with a dishwasher, thrift plates, bowls, and mugs for daily use—keeping paper alternatives on-hand only for larger-scale events.

Reduce Your Reliance on Paper

Technology has made filing hard paper copies a thing of the past. That doesn’t mean every company has the ability (or want) to go paperless overnight—but you can.

Lead by example by limiting the number of copies you print off at the office. Or stop printing altogether, using tools like Evernote, Google Docs, and/or Trello to help digitize workplace collaboration and project management.

Allow For Remote Work Long-Term

Teleworking may not be a feasible long-term strategy for every business but if it works for your team, see where it leads. Remote work can cater to a better sense of work-life balance, in addition to benefiting the environment.

For one thing, working from home eliminates any need to commute—and the corresponding exhaust that comes with it. It also requires less from your shared office space in energy, supplies, disposable kitchenware, and more. 

Make Supplies Last 

Just because you have access to a closet of unlimited supplies at the office, doesn’t mean you should be using a new pen every day. Be mindful of your supply habits and rely only on what you need.

And remember, small changes have value and are often interconnected. For example, the less reliant you are on paper, the fewer supplies you’ll need to use in the form of staples, tape, highlighters, etc.