We all know that we only have this one Earth — at least for the foreseeable future — and our environment is vital to our survival. While many of us have taken the steps of adding recycle bins to our offices and homes, maybe started composting, there may be more you can do as an entrepreneur. Here are 3 ways you can make an impact with your business:

Go Digital

This can take a couple of different forms, but the idea is to reduce the amount of paper in your business. Here are a few things you could move from your file drawer to your hard drive:

  • Collect contracts with e-signatures
  • Convert existing forms (including sales forms, for those of you selling on the road!) to mobile-friendly, online versions
  • Use a digital Client Relationship Manager
  • Scan or use a card-to-contact app on your phone, then recycle business cards
  • Keep printed mailings to a minimum (and enjoy the added info email marketing can offer)

For a lot of entrepreneurs who already find customers online, this one is a no-brainer. However, if you’re typically a hands-on person, you might lean towards print outs and paper files. While these certainly have their benefits, they’re a bit more harmful to the environment, and you’re also in a pinch if anything happens, such as a flood or fire. By keeping digital versions you’ll have the ability to back up your information to multiple locations, and if you ever really need to, you can always print the odd piece or two. Just remember to recycle it when you’re done! 🙂

Shop Locally

This is a great, two-fold way to do your part. Not only will you help boost your local economy by supporting other nearby entrepreneurs, but you’ll help the environment as well.

When you shop for resources locally, there’s less pollution from transportation, and often less packaging, too. With any luck, you may find sources within walking distance, further helping to reduce the carbon footprint of your business! Here are a few things to look for locally which you may not have considered:

  • Office furniture & decor
  • Pens & other office tools
  • Printing for business cards & signage
  • Support services, such as bookkeeping and insurance brokers
  • Unique gifts for clients and colleagues

Give Back

Since small business owners tend to donate more of their income to charity, you may already be doing this.

Donating to larger non-profits with an environmental focus is a great idea, however, choosing a local organization will have a more direct impact on your community both environmentally and economically. Consider finding a local organization that plants trees or finds other ways to help the local environment. If there’s a beautification project happening nearby, look into helping them and find out what, if any, plans they have to include environmental initiatives.

Another option you may not have considered is donating your used phones, computer, or even cars to local charities who can reuse these items to keep their operations running, or help someone who is struggling locally.

How do you and your business help the environment?