Your startups’s ecological responsibility – it’s time to go green

By Varsha Roysam|29th Nov 2016
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The United Nations’ newly appointed messenger of peace, Leonardo DiCaprio, recently sent out a message to the entire world – if we want to save the world, now is the time to act. There are many government policies to bring about changes in the way we’re consuming the planet’s resources, but we cannot, and should not, forget that the responsibility falls on our shoulders too.

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A startup is an organisation that, like any other, comes with a large carbon-footprint. Your startup is responsible for enforcing changes in the ways your employees use its resources. Going green will, in a larger picture, help the planet. But your immediate gains are these: relieved pressure on your finances and your appeal to an environmentally conscious customer base. These are advantages that your startup will undeniable benefit from – and the results are quick. Here are some ways in which you can put this into action today.

Green-web hosting

Every website that is launched is hosted on a server at a data centre which ensures that information is secure at all times. But these data centres have to be running 24/7 in order sustain this virtual system. So you can imagine the power that these servers require to maintain unrestricted functioning. Green-web hosting is a solution to this power consumption problem. There are many web-hosting companies that power their servers with renewable energy so that the carbon-foot print of your company can be drastically reduced. Some use energy efficient hardware or run their generators on propane gas instead of diesel fuel. Some even plant trees for every deal made to counter the emissions. Tying up with these green web-hosting websites will significantly reduce the unsustainable power consumption of your startup.

Reduce energy consumption at all levels

Investing in renewable energy is the best way to make your startup eco-friendly. India is blessed with abundant solar energy that is completely renewable and clean. Many buildings in India, like the Indira Paryavaran Bhawan in Delhi, are 100 percent solar powered. All electrical appliances like lights, air conditioning and lifts are powered completely by solar energy. Although solar panels and batteries have a high initial investment, you will be compensated when you pay significantly lower electricity bills. If a complete dependence on solar power is not in your current budget, you can still set up panels that power basic electricals like lights, if not air conditioning.

If not solar energy, there are other ways in which you can still reduce your energy consumption. Appliances like ACs, refrigerators, and computers have to be constantly running. By ensuring that these appliances are energy efficient, you will be cutting down energy consumption significantly, even if they have to be running all day. Buy appliances that have an energy star rating as they are more efficient in their power usage than their counterparts.

Incentives for eco-friendly transportation

Simply encouraging your employees to adopt eco-friendly transportation is never enough. Not all will be environmentally conscious, and since you can’t force anyone to change their lifestyle, the only other way is to give them incentives to do so. This way, your employees will be more encouraged to carpool, cycle, or opt for public transport.

Reuse or recycle

Every office has plenty of opportunities to alter its consumption of products simply because there is a lot that is consumed. There are many products that employees use such as papers, notebooks, printers, cups, bottles, tissues, etc. The rule is to reuse instead of recycle and recycle instead of dispose.

Reusable coffee mugs can be used in place of disposable cups. Recycled paper can be used instead of regular paper. In fact an office can go completely paperless by shifting to digital and cloud data storage systems. Ink cartridges, which are used and disposed in bucketloads, can also be recycled. These are non-biodegradable and contaminate water and soil at the disposal sites. Recycling them is similar to the recycling of e-waste, so you can find organisations that collect them for the purpose.

Hire an environmental consultant

There are many experts in the field of renewable energy that can guide your startup towards a more sustainable setup. Environmental consultants are trained to recognise high consumption sectors and devise economical ways to reduce them. After having recycled and reused, if you want your startup to be part of a large scale sustainable development, hiring a consultant should be your immediate next step.

Making your startup environmentally conscious not only reduces the burden on the planet but also attracts customers that are environmentally conscious. Your customers are evolving into more informed beings, so if you want to keep up with their demand of eco-friendly products and services, you will want to start taking these steps today.