Will County's Step-by-Step Guide to "Greening" a Business

If you're reading this, then you must be interested in starting or expanding "green" efforts at your organization.

Step 1 - Gather Support.  Regardless of your position, you are going to need help to make a true and lasting impact.  Top management needs the cooperation and buy-in of all levels of the staff.  Middle and lower level positions need management support for policy changes. Consequently, your first step is to make a list of current "best green practices" and form a GREEN TEAM.

Step 2 - Pull the bills together. Establish a baseline of your current usage levels by pulling the past 12 months of bills together and putting the information into a spreadsheet. 

Bills/Data Needed:
Water Bill - cost per unit - number of units
Electric Bill
Natural Gas Bill or Heating Oil Bill
Vehicle Fuel Bill
Garbage Bill
Recycling Bill/Revenue (you will need to learn the size of your dumpsters and the number of times per week they are emptied to determine unit data)

This data becomes your benchmark data, to measure your future usage against.

Step 3 - Goal Setting.  Brainstorm with the team, and determine goals for the organization. Such goals may be to reduce waste, to lower our water usage, to lower energy use. Determine what the goal translates into for the organization. For example,  if we cut water use by 10% we will save $ over a year.  There are calculators on the website if you want to translate actual therm, kwh, gallons of water or yards of garbage into their greenhouse gas emission equivalants.

Step 4 - Involve Everyone.  Share the goals with all the employees.  Ask them to submit ideas.  Most companies are creating waste without realizing it through practices and procedures that have become outdated or simply aren't relevant anymore.  Everyone from clerks to custodians may see such waste, but have felt powerless to change it.

Step 5 - Implement Ideas. The Green Team should create an action plan to implement employee ideas that make sense.  Common ideas include changes in purchasing policies to buy recycled-content and energy efficient items, lighting upgrades, paperless transactions and record keeping.

Step 6 - Review Progress. Compare utility bills to the previous year, share positive results with all employees. Consider incentives such as treating everyone to lunch or offering a share in financial rewards.  Alter goals as necessary. 

Step 7 - Go Up the Chain. Your supply chain may be another way to reduce waste and save energy.  Maybe items could be delivered with less packaging, in fewer trips, etc.  Consider meeting with your suppliers and sharing your goals to learn what they may be able to offer.    
Step 8 - Share Your Success.  Let your customers know how you are improving. Consider adding information to your website, marketing materials and doing press releases.  If you are a member of a chamber of commerce or professional group, speak at a meeting about your efforts.

Step 9 - Apply for the Will County Green Business Hero program.

Final Step - Repeat! Repeat previous steps to continuously improve!

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