Small Business Sustainability Measures Can Compete With Larger Companies

by | Jun 9, 2008

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mompop.jpgWhile small businesses can’t dedicate entire departments and budgets to sustainability measures like companies like Wal-Mart can, they can still take affordable steps to reduce their environmental impact, SFGate reports.

A green business certification program in the San Francisco Bay Area, for instance, coordinated by the Association of Bay Area Governments, has enrolled more than 1,300 small- and midsize businesses since its start in 1996.

Joubin Pakpour, founder of a California engineering firm, calculated the carbon footprint of his six-person company — including weighing how much garbage it generated.

When law firm Wendel Rosen examined its environmental footprint in 2003, it found its biggest impact was its use of paper — five million sheets per year. The firm switched from using paper with 35-percent post consumer recycled content to 100-percent post-consumer content, which ended up saving the equivalent of 260 trees, 24,000 gallons of water, and enough electricity to power 3.5 homes each year.

While recycled paper can cost a little more, the money a business can save on other measures can more than balance out those costs.

SFGate offers 10 steps to green a small business, from focusing on areas where the business has the most impact, such as paper or gasoline use, to switching to compact fluorescent light bulbs.

Small businesses and others will find Carbon Project Manager North America — the first web-based, analytical tool for understanding carbon market fundamentals in the U.S. and Canada – a valuable resource, according to Point Carbon.

The EPA’s Performance Track program has 533 members — ranging from major corporations to small businesses — who have voluntarily collaborated with EPA to establish goals for environmental improvement.

According to the Energy Star Small Business program, energy efficiency improvements of 10-to-30 percent are economically viable for many small businesses through the implementation of “best practices” for facility operation and maintenance, and the use of cost-effective technologies, the National Small Business Association reports.

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