As Earth day moves closer this week, it reminds us why protecting the environment is essential. Our planet Earth never stops giving to us; it’s the thing keeping us alive. We sometimes forget how amazing this planet is with scenic nature and fascinating animals.
Especially in Hong Kong, most of us work in the city and then, over the weekend, find a way to connect with nature. We love our hikes, beaches and anywhere with a good scenic view. However, do you think you are doing enough to give back? Earth is our only home, and the least we can do is be more environmentally friendly.
A small change can go very far, especially if you start with turning your business green. All companies must take steps towards being more environmentally friendly. As a small business, you might think your environmental impact is inconsequential, but every effort counts. Your small change can inspire others, and the change may spread from the office to homes, clients, and customers.
So, let’s talk about the changes you and your business can make. These changes don’t have to be extravagant or completely business changing. This article will explain simple steps to being a green business in Hong Kong. Additionally, how purchasing environmental insurance could help you if your company has even the slightest chance of causing environmental damage.
What Is a Green Business?
A green business is a company that does its best to make as little or no negative impact on the environment and community. Any business can be a green business, no matter the size. Even if you are a startup, SME, or international company, turning into a green business can help the environment and positively impact clients and customer relationships.
In fact, in 2021, United Nations Climate Change conducted a major study of more than 10,000 people across 17 countries, which showed that a business’s sustainability and eco-friendly approach is an increasing factor in customers purchasing decisions.
Hence, the following tips are simple and easy for you to proudly say you work at or run a green business in Hong Kong or anywhere. It is time to make the change and contribute to protecting the Earth-it’s never too late.
What Can You Do to Be a Green Business in Hong Kong?
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
We see these three R’s everywhere, but what do they mean for a business. Each R is important for a reason and allows people and businesses to be sustainable.
Reduce– Businesses should reduce as much waste or harmful materials as possible. Such as reducing the use of paper, unneeded plastic, and waste. Reducing can be done easily by just being aware, turning into a fully digital company and using fabric bags instead of plastic.
Reuse– It is hard to cut out everything all together. Therefore, it is essential to reuse materials. Reusing can help you be green and cut costs too. For example, a manufacturing company can reuse scrap material, or an office can reuse paper (print on both sides).
Recycle– Don’t just throw away waste in any bin. First, make sure you separate paper, plastic, and metal. Then find the nearest recycle bin or recycling company that will eliminate the materials in the safest way to reduce CO2 emissions. Hong Kong is full of recycling bins; you won’t need to walk too long to find one.
Following these three R’s in order can be the best step in your green business journey. It is essential to discuss this with the business team and determine how the three R’s will play a part in the business model.
Use Sustainable Packaging
If your business provides products to the public, you automatically have an option on how you will affect the environment. As all products use some materials, even restaurants use various materials for their takeaway boxes and bags. The material used to produce, package, or even ship the product can affect the environment significantly.
For example, plastic takes many years to decompose and releases toxic substances when burned or exposed to sunlight. As a result, the material is the biggest taboo in the eco-friendly industry, and it can cause air, and waste pollution. In addition, plastic has known to harm millions of animals daily.
For this exact reason, a business should use as little plastic as possible in their business activities. Additionally, companies can replace plastic with recycled environmentally friendly material or biodegradable packaging-such as recycled paper and cardboard. The restaurant industry is an excellent example of turning sustainable with paper straws, paper bags, etc. However, any industry can join this trend and turn into a green business. A sustainable change can also help your business reach more customers and broaden your target market.
Turn Into a Green Office
Even if your business mainly operates in the office, there are still many things your office can do to become a green business. In addition, there are many small changes offices can take and supervise to be a successful green office.
Some examples include:
Going Paperless– reduce or cut out as much paper use as your business can. Going paperless helps to reduce C02 (carbon dioxide) emissions. Sadly, turning a single tree into paper results in around 110 lbs of C02 being released into the atmosphere. Furthermore, reducing paper is easy now with the digital world we live in. Instead of handing over a paper report, send the E-document instead.
Eco-friendly Lights: LED lights use 80% less energy than traditional lights while producing the same bright light. LED light lasts longer, reducing waste and saving money in the long term. Additionally, turn lights off and all electrical sources when the room is not used.
Plastic Use Penalty- why not turn being environmentally friendly into a productive game. By turning the office into a non-plastic office and fining employees (something minimal) when they bring in or use plastic in the office.
These small changes are easy and won’t need a big force to follow. For example, in Red Asia Insurance, we try to print on both sides (when we must print) and use reusable ceramic mugs (to avoid plastic or disposable paper cups). A green office is the biggest step in being a green business.
Donate and Participate with Environment Protection Charities
Another change your business could make this year is investing in green charities. Doing your part is always great and donating to expert environmental charities is the extra push. These charities use their expert skills to clean the environment as much as possible.
Many environmental charities in Hong Kong try their best to do their part but don’t have the fund or staff. Another great way is to work with these charities as a team-building exercise. For example, a business team beach clean-up is a great way to give back to the environment and grow the team’s relationship.
Donations and sponsorships to these charities are a big deal. It can help increase your green business brand while doing something environmentally effective. Business doing their part is encouraging, and more customers will be ready to create relationships with green businesses in Hong Kong. Being green might be the changing factor to up your competition and help the planet simultaneously.
Work With Green Eco-Friendly Partners
Being a green business yourself sometimes is just not enough. To be genuinely an eco-friendly business in Hong Kong, you must work with the right partners to ensure sustainable processes. Working with an eco-conscious company can reduce your carbon footprint from start to the end; there is no point in being green if your supplier’s carbon footprint grows more when you work with them.
For example, if you are working in the product industry, it is your duty to understand how the manufacturer creates your product. In addition, it is crucial to know if the process is eco-friendly and if no toxic chemicals are being used.
You grow your green business brand and reputation when working with the right partners. In addition, it can help avoid harmful damage to the environment or end consumers. Therefore, it is time to do your research on your supply chain and make sure everyone is doing their part for the environment.
Why Can Purchasing Environmental Insurance Help Being a Green Business?
Environmental insurance may be something that could also help your journey to a green business. The insurance is the perfect financial cover when your business activities affect the environment and people around you.
Environmental insurance, also known as pollution liability insurance, protects the business from claims and lawsuits due to the pollution caused while operating the business.
The insurance will also help businesses clean up the pollution or waste created. It benefits the firm and the environment around them. As pollution accidents can happen, there should always be protection to deal with the outcome and help the parties affected.
It is never too late to take action and become a green business in Hong Kong, so act now and help the environment.