Focus on big wins
The first step is to take a look at your current business practices and identify where small changes can move the needle.
Eric Brody, owner of Shift Advantage, a sustainability consultancy in Portland, Oregon, suggests conducting what’s known as a materiality assessment.
“It might sound like a daunting task, but it’s basically figuring out what’s most important to your business, your employees and your customers,” he says. “Where are you spending the most in your operations? Where are you seeing a lot of waste? Answering those questions can help you focus your efforts.”
At Tequila 512 distillery, owner Scott Willis look at everything from how the agave plants are farmed and processed for his tequila to administrative operations at the company’s headquarters in Austin, Texas.
At the office in Austin, Willis takes steps to conserve energy and resources, including unplugging electronic devices every night to avoid “phantom load,” the energy electronic devices use when they’re turned off but still plugged in. He also chooses technology that helps reduce energy use and paper waste.
“We print a lot,” Willis says. “Invoices, purchase orders, menus for events, items for displays. Our old printer was eating up so much paper, it was killing me. It would pull two sheets in instead of a single page, print part of a document on one page and part on another, and just waste a lot of paper. When you print as much as we do, that adds up.”
By switching to the HP OfficeJet Pro 9025, an ENERGY STAR® certified and EPEAT Silver registered printer, Willis was able to eliminate all that paper waste and reduce energy usage. It even helped him shrink his carbon footprint thanks to the printer’s mobile app, which lets him send documents to the printer from anywhere.
“We try to maintain a small footprint and a small budget, and if we reduce our use of power and paper, we can save thousands of dollars a year,” Willis says. “And, since I can print from anywhere, I don’t have to burn gas by driving in to my office every time I need to print something for my staff. For us, it hits on all the marks.”