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5 Ways Startups Can Make a Positive Environmental Impact

The state of our environment is worsening, and unsustainable businesses are becoming the ghosts of pasts. If you’re looking for ways to be more eco-friendly in 2020 here are some of our favorites.

AuthorSindija Vitola, January 9th, 2020

When running a startup, growing your product and recruiting new customers can take all of your focus and time. Becoming a sustainable company might not be your top priority. 

Parallel to that, there is a false assumption that it's expensive to become an eco-friendly brand. Yet going green can help cultivate a better brand image, gain more customers, and save money.

Committing to becoming environmentally friendly shows your customers you are here to make an impact as well as profit. Going green demonstrates that your values extend to taking care of the environment you are a part of. 

There is a reason why 88% of business school students think that learning about social and environmental issues in business is a priority. Taking action towards becoming a sustainable company not only will help with the increasing ecological crisis but also with growing your business as well. 

People want brands that make an impact

According to a survey conducted by Futerra, nearly 90% of respondents said they prefer to invest in brands to help them make a difference. 

However, 43% of respondents in the same study claimed that companies make it difficult for them to make eco-friendly decisions. When choosing between using a service from two similar companies, with the only difference one of them being a sustainable business and the other not, they would most likely choose the business that helps them reduce their environmental and social footprint.

5 tips to go green as a growing startup

Companies that care about the environment are the future. People want to invest and be a part of sustainable companies, so why not do it.

Becoming an eco-friendly company is easier then you might think, here are some simple ways to do it and boost your brand as an eco-startup.

  1. Go paperless
  2. Say goodbye to plastic (#GoodbyeBadBag)
  3. Recycle everything you can
  4. Leave your car at home
  5. Reduce your energy consumption

1. Go paperless

Nowadays, everything is becoming more and more digitized, and paperless age might not be far ahead. Going digital is progressively simpler every day, with more and more applications designed to replace the regular need for paper. 

Stickies on your MacBook are a great way to use as visual reminders, keep track of your tasks, and place for random ideas. Using task organizing platforms like Jira and Trello enables you to have an online Kanban board with the possibility to share it with your employees, enabling better communication and an easy way to adjust the tasks. 

The magic of digital signatures and cloud-based tools

Use tools like Google Docs for collaborating in real-time, sharing meeting notes, and giving feedback on projects the same way you would on paper. 

When running a business, you will always have to deal with a large number of documents, like invoices and contracts. A great way to save paper is to create digital documents instead of printing, using e-signatures to finalize contracts, and cloud storage and hard drives to manage paperwork.

Using cloud services instead of paper saves you office space and money, and fewer cities do this better than Dubai. As many as six separate Dubai government sectors have cooperated and managed to cut down on 27 million sheets of paper a day. All it took was moving their operations to a digital space. 

2. Say goodbye to plastic (#GoodbyeBadBag)

One of the most pressing environmental issues of today is plastic pollution.

The production of disposable plastic products is increasing, while we still don't have a clear solution on how to deal with this waste. Every year, about 8 million tons of plastic waste escapes into the oceans from coastal nations. At the same time, our landfills are getting bigger and bigger, storing all the waste and polluting the soil around it. 

The production of plastic increased from 2.3m tons in 1950 to 448m tons by 2015 and is expected to double by 2050. Thankfully, there are several alternatives that you can implement in your office, for example:

  1. Switch to biodegradable trash bags. Instead of commonly used petroleum-based bin bags, Veriff uses 100% biodegradable corn-based plastic.
  2.  Talk to your office snack supplier about alternative package delivery methods. For example, instead of having Veriff's fruits delivered to our office in grocery bags, we asked our suppliers to use cardboard banana boxes. 

3. Recycle whenever you can

Step up your recycling game. It's not only about paper and glass or plastic bottles. The environmental benefits of recycling are immense. As Annie Leonard, the head of Greenpeace USA, says in her film, "Story of Stuff":

"Everyone knows the environmental benefits of recycling: it conserves resources by putting them back to productive use and, even more importantly, it avoids the pollution caused by having to extract, mine and process new resources,"

Recently our office went through several changes in this department. We reduced the number of trash baskets lying around the office and made them paper only. Veriff encourages employees to take frequent breaks and exercise. Meanwhile, introducing additional recycling bins for packaging and organic waste in our kitchen, with an informational poster on how to recycle correctly. 

4. Leave your car at home

It is not only about CO2 and other gas emissions that are causing global warming. The constant engine noise is causing noise pollution in the bigger cities and harming human health. 

Noise pollution is responsible for a range of health effects, from sleep disturbance to hearing impairment. 

About 40% of the EU population is exposed to road traffic noise exceeding 55 dB(A). Considering that the healthy level of noise is 30 dB(A), that number isn't looking too good.

Understandably, leaving your car at home might not work for everyone. Nevertheless, It's worth researching other alternatives you might have in your living area. 

Sharing is caring

While using public transport is the most common eco-friendly commuting solution, it isn't the only one. When there's no snow, and the weather is still mild, see if your company can provide some parking spaces for bicycles. 

A great way to commute, get to know your coworkers, and save money is carpooling. Find out if any of your colleges live nearby and invite them to share a ride to the office. Veriffians have a channel on Slack to find people to share taxi rides home with, and we can't recommend it enough.  

5. Reduce your energy consumption 

This might be one of the easiest things in the list to adapt to. All you need to do is pick up some new habits and go lightbulb shopping. 

Unplug

It might be worth remembering that many modern electronic devices still use energy when they are plugged in. In a study done by the Australian Greenhouse academy, microwave ovens were found to consume as much as 40% of the energy they use while just by being connected to a socket. 

Change your light bulbs

As for the light bulbs, switching from traditional incandescent bulbs to LEDs, which are much more energy-efficient, can decrease your electricity bill. LEDs use up to 85% less energy and last nearly ten-times longer.

Turn the lights off

One of the ways our employees have been dealing with remembering to follow this has been by leaving funny sticky note reminders in some meeting rooms. 

It might not seem like a lot, but all things summed can significantly influence your electricity bills over time.

Join the Tech Green Pledge  

All in all, joining the ranks of eco-friendly companies can make your customers feel good while also positively contributing to the environment.

Tech Green Pledge to Go Green as. Startup

That is why in September 2019, Veriff joined forces with 33 big names in the Estonian tech scene, including Bolt and Transferwise, by signing a Tech Green Pledge to be carbon neutral by 2030. Together with other Tech Green pledge members, Veriff pursues these goals by making its office spaces, business processes, and day-to-day activities greener. 

The Tech Green Pledge is open to accepting more members, both local and international, so join us and let's make a positive environmental impact together! 

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