1. Think of waste as an opportunity. By it’s very nature the grocery business is wasteful. Expired food gets tossed, refrigerators suck up energy, and there’s always packaging galore to get rid of. But rather than view these as problems, consider waste an opportunity to trim the fat in your business. Take Louis-Martin Racicot, for instance. The owner of Metro Lussier in Waterloo, Que., hated paying a trucking company $15,000 a year to haul away his organic waste. So he invested in a composter and now is saving $15,000 by composting organic waste behind his store.
2. Create a green team. The smartest way to build successful sustainability initiatives is to involve employees who are motivated by environmental issues. Jennifer Kaplan, author of “Greening Your Small Business”, says that creating a green team of employees to lead sustainability initiatives is an easy way to start making your business green.
3. Give sustainability a balance sheet. Doing something good for the environment won’t work in the long run if it’s not good for your business too. At Walmart Canada, company president David Cheesewright says he doesn’t sign off on any initiative if there isn’t a payback. You should do the same, and don’t forget to track the savings. Walmart, for instance, expects to save $140 million over the next five years through its environmental initiatives.
4. Have fun going green. Who says doing something good for the environment has to be a chore. Last winter, Loblaw’s corporate stores held Sweater Day in which the temperature in stores was turned down three degrees. Staff wore sweaters to work to help promote the event to customers.