Small Business BC honours five Climate Smart businesses
On March 29, 2011, Small Business BC’s Successful You Awards will select BC’s “Best Green Business”. The top ten finalists were announced this week, and guess what? Fully half of them are Climate Smart businesses! Congratulations to Digitech Renewable Printer Cartridges, The Car Co-op, Saul Good Gift Co., FROGBOX Inc., and Westcoast Sightseeing!
We asked these five awesome green businesses to share their thoughts and experiences in the field, and this is what they had to say…
What’s one obstacle you’ve had to overcome in maintaining your green mandate?
How did you overcome it?
Doug Burgoyne, FROGBOX: There are so many products and services that we are approached with that it’s overwhelming. At first we would blindly try to justify all of them. Now we use what we learned in Climate Smart to truly understand the footprint reduction benefit and make informed decisions on what initiatives are worthwhile.
Aaron Pante, Digitech Renewable Printer Cartridges: Now that we’ve already invested in the big ticket changes (converting our fleet to hybrids), our biggest challenge was educating our team to help them understand that it is the small day-to-day behaviours that make the most impact on our carbon footprint, like bringing a sweater to work rather than turning up the heat. These behavioural changes not only result in a reduction in our carbon footprint, but also in a significant cost saving to the company. We engaged our team by investing the savings into corporate fun days.
Andreas Tize, West Coast Sightseeing: From the get-go, we had to figure out what the best option was to green our fleet. There are many options out there. We decided to offset our emissions and go carbon neutral. You can read our full explanation at http://www.vancouversightseeing.com/aboutus/carbon-neutral/
How do you keep staff engaged with your green mandate?
Bernice Paul, The Car Co-op: Our staff stays engaged because we know that for every member we sign up, we are likely taking a privately owned vehicle off the road thereby reducing congestion on roads and reducing overall greenhouse gas emissions. And every time we help someone (on the phone or email) we know that they’re getting around multi-modal, which reduces overall greenhouse gas emissions. That’s a huge morale boost!
DB: This has never been a problem for FROGBOX as we make commitment to reducing our footprint a large part of the screening process during hiring. Since we’ve been focused on this since the beginning, our green mandate is ingrained in the business.
AT: We update them regularly, make it part of our new hiring practices and celebrate Earth Day on April 22nd.
What would you say to a business owner who doesn’t think adopting a green mandate is “worth it”? (A naysayer, if you will…)
Saul Brown, Saul Good Gift Co.: Every entrepreneur has to make decisions that are best for their business. We’ve created a lot of value at Saul Good by integrating sustainability into what we do and how we do it. It’s given us competitive advantage, helped us develop new markets, reduce costs associated with packaging and has attracted passionate employees. By taking into account the social and environmental impacts of our decisions we’ve been able to create considerable goodwill with our clients, employees and the community. It’s just good business.
AT: Apart from the obvious long-term savings, especially in tourism you have to take into consideration that if you’re not going green, you’re going to see your numbers shrink.
DB: If done properly it will,
1. Save you money in the long run
2. Make your customers respect you more
3. Make your employees respect you more
We couldn’t have said it better! Thanks to Aaron, Andreas, Doug, Bernice, and Saul for taking the time to answer our questions. Congratulations and good luck to you all!