We all need to do more to protect the environment and reduce our carbon emissions, but as a digital business, it can be tough to know how to make a difference.
If you don’t have an office, then you can’t save the world by going paperless or asking staff to work from home – so you must try different ideas in order to reduce your impact and keep the planet green.
Below, we’ve rounded up five of the best ways to make your online business environmentally friendly, whether you run an e-commerce store or a social media management firm like ours.
Switch to a green web host
When you decide to launch a website for your business, you’ll first need to choose the right web hosting provider for your needs.
Most are the same, and UK businesses tend to stick to sites like GoDaddy, 123-Reg and Heart Internet – but there are greener, cleaner alternatives.
99social is powered by 100% renewable and clean energy, and this helps us to do our bit for the environment without spending a fortune.
There are lots of green hosting providers in the UK, so shop around and find one that suits your needs and your wallet.
Most web hosting providers offer eco-friendly hosting for no additional fee, so you don’t need to cough up lots of money.
Optimise your site
Every time someone logs on to your website, their internet browser downloads files like your images, CSS and HTML files to their computer from your server.
The more complex your site is, the more of those files users have to download – requiring more data and power to do so.
In the grand scheme of things, shaving a megabyte off of the size of your website isn’t going to change the world, but if every website and piece of software was properly optimised, we’d all use less power and data and make a difference.
There’s also the added benefit of SEO – search engines like Google favour websites that load faster, which will help you rank higher.
Use WordPress plugins like WP Super Cache and a content delivery network like Cloudflare to cut down the size of your website files, and you’ll help to save the planet in the process.
Talk about the environment
As a digital business, there’s only so much that you can do to show clients that you care about the environment.
One of those things is talking and spreading the word about green initiatives and charities.
You could set up a page on your website where you talk about your company ethos and environmental policy, or you could even start a fundraising campaign for a good cause, which will also serve as great PR for your organisation.
The possibilities are endless.
Doing something is better than nothing; don’t bury your head in the sand or think you can’t make a difference just because you’re an online business without a physical store.
Encourage customers to be conscious
Another way to make your business more environmentally friendly is to encourage your customers to be conscious of the environment.
If you offer resources for download, then add a request that they think before they print, and encourage them to send via email instead.
If you sell gift cards for your business, then an e-card alternative can help to reduce waste.
Rather than meeting your customers or clients face to face, suggest phone or Skype calls to reduce emissions from cars and trains.
Simple things like this can quickly add up – and they often help you to save money as well as protect the environment.
Put your money where your mouth is
If you really want to protect the environment and become a ‘green business’, then put your money where your mouth is and invest in eco-friendly charities or initiatives in your local area.
It’s no good just talking about it – make it part of your company mantra and give back to the environment, either with every sale or by making a one-off donation on behalf of your company.
Again, pledging your support to an environmental group can do wonders in terms of PR, so send out press releases and use social media to spread the news.
In time, you’ll become known as the ‘green X provider’ in your niche, and find new customers as a result.
There are so many things that you can do to protect the environment, but you have to start somewhere.
This year, make a pledge to change the world and put your business at the forefront. Whatever you decide to do, let us know on social media using @99socialUK!