A New Perspective on Going Green

The Business of Living & Working Green

I attended a seminar on October 1 titled “The Business of Living and Working Green”. It was put on by a local group called Chix in Business and hosted at McKinney, a world-class creative agency headquartered in Durham, NC. My friend, business associate, and former coach, Susan Maravetz is in charge of special events and Anna’s Gourmet Goodies was again happy to sponsor a door prize at this event. We have always incorporated elements of ‘green’ into our company and I must admit, I walked out of this seminar with a renewed interest in making sure that Anna’s Gourmet Goodies does everything we can to conduct business in a manner that demonstrates respect for the world in which we live.

There were three presentations on the agenda; Renee Jarvis, Office Services Manager at McKinney, Jane Norton of ReSourcing Solutions, and Greg Messer, founder of Palladium Homes along with Marsha Burger from the Green Building Council.

McKinney’s office is in the restored tobacco district in Durham and is absolutely one of the coolest offices I have ever visited. Their ‘green’ initiative runs throughout the company and touches many areas of the business. From the selection of their facility, to the products they consume, McKinney has been thoughtful in looking at how they conduct their business.

I think that many times when business people initially think about the word ‘green’, they may think first of increased costs. From Renee’s presentation and the other panelists comments, it was clear that being ‘green’ does not always mean higher costs and totally changing your business. It is really more about having an awareness of what you do, how it affects our environment and a willingness to look for ways to make better use of our resources. While some products may have a higher initial cost, savings and other benefits often offset the cost and are worth the investment.

As this movement enters the next phase of going beyond a fad or buzzword, I see it opening up a new opportunity to connect with businesses and customers. Tim Sanders has a new book, “Saving the World at Work”, and is coming to the Cary, NC on October 29 to speak on the topic of how to make a difference, not just a profit. If you think about it, wouldn’t it be more enjoyable to do business with people and companies that have a increased level of respect for the world around them? Absolutely.

So the green movement is not necessarily about spending lots of money or totally overhauling your business. It is about taking small steps to look at how you operate and what can be done to lessen the impact on our supply of natural resources. There are things that each of us can do, today, that collectively will make an impact.

Here is a list of ideas to help get you started (mostly from Renee’s presentation – thank you McKinney):

    1. Start by doing research. Sit down with your favorite search engine and use the power of the Internet to educate yourself. (Google is my friend)
    2. Make a list of things can do. Prioritize the list by what is most feasible right now and the cost to implement.
    3. Talk to your suppliers. Find out what they are doing to lessen their impact on the environment. (Our vanilla supplier just switched to using 100% recycled cardboard for their shipping boxes!)
    4. Have your home or office audited by a Member of the Green Building Council. Visit their website to find someone in your area who can make suggestions on how to improve the efficiency of your building.

Here’s a list of websites to visit:
www.seventhgeneration.com (we use their plant based dish washing soap)

Here are a few simple things we do at Anna’s Gourmet Goodies:
1. Use biodegradable packing peanuts in all our boxes. Made from starch and completely biodegradable.
2. Switched to CFL lights in our production area.
3. Use gift boxes made from recycled materials.
4. Electronic billing and receipts – we don’t print packing slips or send out paper invoices.
5. Re-use paper. For all our internal notes, we use the back of paper for notepads whenever possible.
6. Our website is our catalog. We ask our vendors not to send us catalogs when we can easily find what we need on their website.

Hopefully this has given you an idea or two about things you can do to make a difference at home and at work. More ideas? Please leave your comments below!

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