Many of these initiatives don't require a lot of money or time.
Deciding where to begin, however, can be the hardest part. With so many ideas floating around, it can feel overwhelming to decide on the best place to start so we spoke to green business owners and consultants to get their favorite high-impact, low cost and easy-to-implement green initiatives.
Get a Baseline
"You can't reduce what you don't measure first," declares Allison Hannon, Midwestern regional manager for The Climate Group, a non-profit organization that helps companies and governments address global warming issues.
Measuring your carbon footprint may sound too complex to tackle, but there are many easy free tools available that companies can use to get a quick measure of their carbon emissions, says Tommy Linstroth, director of sustainability for Melavar, a sustainable real estate development company based in Savannah, Ga.
He suggests going to Climate Leaders, an EPA program for climate change initiatives that offers greenhouse gas emission tracking tools along with guidance on how to set carbon reduction goals.
"You don't need a dedicated climatologist to do this," Linstroth says. "If you can use an Excel spreadsheet, you can these tools. All you need is information on your gas, electricity and auto usage and it will convert the data for you."
Once you measure your carbon footprint, you can identify the areas with the greatest impact and biggest potential for change. Electricity use and employee commuting may represent the largest impacts and reduction opportunities in an office building, or landfill waste and freight for a factory operation.
"Then you can look for the quick hits -- those initiatives that take the shortest time and have a quick payback," Hannon says, "so people can see the results and get excited about what they are going to do next."