It’s up to natural industry businesses to be leaders in sustainability. Take time out to review your environmental commitment and make use of the following tips to increase energy efficiency and improve your environmental footprint.
1. Use clean energy. Install south windows for solar passive heating in winter. Use insulated drapes in summer to shade windows in the heat of the day and consider double-glaze windows. To keep the building cool sustainably, install radiant barriers and ceiling fans. Run large industrial window fans in the very early morning hours to cool the building without use of air conditioning. If you are in the city, consider relocating to a more rural or suburban area where you can install wind turbines to generate electricity as well as solar panels. Install sustainable plumbing such as low flow toilets.
2. Address climate change. Have your business carbon emissions monitored and reviewed regularly to create practical strategies to reduce your carbon footprint. You can have your entire supply chain assessed from this angle. Most businesses would be surprised at the percentage of carbon emissions which come directly from farms and domestic transportation. Researchers have noted that supply chain carbon emissions are cut dramatically when products are transported by boat from outside of the country. From this perspective, a fair trade product from South America may reflect a dramatically lower level of carbon emissions than the same product transported domestically by truck.
3. Support sustainable transportation and employee efforts to protect the environment. Give cash incentives to employees for cycling, walking, carpooling, taking public transportation, or making environmental improvements at home.
4. Support onsite employee environmental education. Create a sustainability library for employees stocked with books and videos about sustainability. Bring in environmental speakers once a month for in-house presentations.
5 Protect your indoor air quality. Be sure your indoor space is rich in oxygen. Address carbon dioxide with a bounty of oxygen generating indoor plants. Create a chemical free, fragrance free work place. Choose only safe, fragrance free cleaning materials. Avoid pesticides, chemical room deodorizers and sanitizers, and other toxic substances which can pollute indoor air.
6. Encourage employee organic gardens on the grounds. Create a solar passive greenhouse lining the southern wall of the building, or greenhouse hoop house gardens where employees can help to grow fresh food year round in the parking lot. Minimize waste in the workplace and offer recycle stations for glass, paper, cardboard, and plastic.
7. Emphasize inner sustainability. One thing which drains employee energy is stress. Stress can lead to hypertension, heart disease, obesity and more. Researchers feel that the origins of work place stress depends on the inner resilience that workers bring to the work place. Regular fresh air breaks and onsite parks where employees can walk, run, or hike during their lunch break, are all a plus. Deep breathing, pure food and pure water, help to eliminate work day fatigue. Businesses can also offer onsite massage, work out rooms, yoga lounges, and organic kitchens where employees can enjoy an organic breakfast, lunch, or snacks. Replace vending machines featuring coffee, sugar laden candies and caffeinated sugary drinks with healthy alternatives.
8. Reduce stress in the workplace. Stress is not sustainable. Introduce the Transcendental Meditation (T M) program into the workplace. It is a simple technique to draw on the unlimited source of renewable energy inside. Employees can meditate together at work first thing in the morning and in the late afternoon, to enjoy an extra burst of mental clarity, energy, and productivity. The twice daily practice promotes restful alertness invaluable for managers and employees alike who want to increase inner resilience at work, improve job performance, and improve overall health. The American Heart Association has recommended the T M program as the only meditation effective for heart disease and hypertension.
8. Encourage employees to do good deeds and be socially responsible. Offer matching grants for employee donations to charitable projects, support fair trade, and encourage employees to volunteer to make the world a better place. Researchers say that the feeling good experience that comes with giving begins in the brain. Sometimes called ‘giver’s glow’, researchers have suggested that philanthropy actually stimulates ‘happiness’ brain chemicals including dopamine and endorphins, that are associated with tranquility, serenity, and inner peace.
Green your business inside and out. You will enjoy the rewards and create a better more sustainable world.
Simi Summer, Ph.D. is an organic advocate, independent researcher, educator, and freelance writer. She is a strong proponent of organic consumer education and informed consumer choices.
Anderson, J. W., Lie, C., and Kryscio, R. J. (2008) Blood pressure response to Transcendental Meditation: A meta-analysis. American Journal of Hypertension, 21(3), 310-316.
Renter, E. (May 2015) What Generosity Does to Your Brain and Life Expectancy Retrieved from http://health.usnews.com/health-news/health-wellness/articles/2015/05/01/what-generosity-does-to-your-brain-and-lifeexpectancy