World Environment Day is a day to celebrate nature and bring awareness and action to protect our surrounding environment. With the theme of ‘connecting people to nature,’ the desire is for everyone to get outside and appreciate the wildlife and natural beauty available to us daily.
For those of us that live in Jordan, appreciating nature is a 30-minute drive or a walk from our doorstep. The issue here in Jordan is how to go about protecting the fragile environment when the government and local authorities have been slow in setting up the necessary laws and infrastructure to do so.
For many corporations, there may be some frustrations in becoming environmentally friendly as government-ran recycling facilities do not exist, public transportation is scarcely available, and the costs of obtaining greener alternatives may outweigh the benefits. However, this does not have to be a grandiose undertaking.
Anyone from small businesses to large corporations can take these simple steps in reducing their ecological footprint. For cheaper and cost saving alternatives:
- Use biodegradable cleaners; these products do not contain harmful toxins. These green alternatives prevent chemicals from being introduced into the surrounding environment.
- Use compact-fluorescent (CFL) or LED lights; even though these bulbs cost more upfront, they last significantly longer and use a fraction of energy of normal light bulbs.
- Think of recycling in a different way; when going to buy or replace office furniture, think vintage. Barely used furniture is readily available and is at a fraction of the cost. Get creative.
- Encourage carpooling; there are enough cars on the road in Jordan. Encourage employees to carpool once, twice or every day to work. Provide incentives and take part in it yourself. Be the catalyst in your efforts to go green.
- Turn off Equipment when it is not being used; according to the Green Business Bureau, by turning off all computers at the end of the day can save 50 percent of energy used.
- Print double-sided documents; it takes no effort and saves the company money when needing to purchase printing paper.
- Take back packaging for reuse; it may sound strange but if you are a supplier, create a system where your customers can give you back your packaging for you to reuse. It is a significant money saver and green alternative.
- Install displacement toilet dams in toilet reservoirs; by putting one to two plastic containers filled with stones in the toilet’s reservoir, you will save 4 liters of water per flush.
- Go paperless; this might not be possible for all areas of business but request paperless statements from banks and service providers, get rid of physically signing printed documents by using electronic signatures, use Google Docs and/or Evernote for sharing documents, use PDF forms instead of fax, and reduce access to printers.
- Telecommute; allow employees to occasionally work from home. In addition to reducing the energy used when commuting, it saves the employee time and the expense of having to come into work.
For those with the extra cash and the goodwill to do more, there are further steps that businesses can take that greatly impact the reduction of their ecological footprint:
- Install solar panels; Jordan has the perfect weather for solar panels. They may be a bit pricy, but they are nowhere near the cost they were 10 years ago. Fortunately, they will also slash the cost of your future electric bills and save you money in the long run.
- Build and renovate green; having lots of windows in your office space allows for greater use of natural light instead of artificial light—consider skylights. Use eco-friendly flooring alternatives and sustainable fabrics wherever you can.
- Install motion sensors; how many times do you walk around and see empty rooms with the lights on? Motion sensors will turn off lights after a certain period of time of inactivity within a designated space.
- Use multi-purpose machines; not only will you save space, but having multiple machines plugged in at once is just wasteful. Purchasing an all-in-one option will save energy and be more efficient.
- Think smart travel; purchase videoconferencing and other useful technologies that allow you to reduce the amount your employees have to travel. When they do travel, make it a policy that employees are required to rent hybrid or high-mpg vehicles.