Being Green

The journey to be a Green Business


The decision to certify my Green Business

I have decided to begin the process to certify my business, Speaking Green Communications, as Certified Green Business in Alameda county in California.

I had not considered becoming certified before I attended the Earth Day in Cupertino a few weeks ago. I met with the person who takes care of certifying green businesses for Santa Clara county who put me in touch with the person who handles Alameda county, where I reside.

As a speaker on all things green why shouldn’t I be certified? If I were my prospective client I would expect me to practice what I preach. At this point moving forward with certification was a no-brainer.

Why Certify?

First of all, is the right thing to do. Secondly, if I am going to be speaking to people and companies about being “green” then I shouldn’t I be as green as possible myself? Any green practitioner would want to avoid getting the “Greenwashing” label on his/her products/services at all costs.

As an owner of a Green Business what should I be concerned about?

In my situation I will be conducting my business out of my home so many of the requirements which would apply to an office building would not be applicable. This does not mean there are things which folks with home-based businesses should be addressing. After reviewing materials of the green business website I determined the following factors will be of concern in regards to “greening” my business:

1. Use of Paper

The goal here is to go as paperless as possible. In my case I usually print out directions to the location of my business appointment and print them out before my trip. One way to reduce my carbon footprint is to download the directions on IPhone instead of printing and if my phone batteries is low and if I decide to print I would use only double sided paper manufactured from recycled materials.

Occasionally I am asked to bring paper handout which I will comply but I would prefer to email copies of the presentation to the attendees.

2. Traveling to meetings, events and conferences

Whenever I get the chance I use public transportation, for example, I attended the Central California Building Expo earlier this year I took the Altamont Commuter Express (ACE) train whose Livermore station was less than one mile from my house, directly to the event and avoid the 60 miles of Bay Area traffic which is as congested as it has been in the last 20 years which I have called the Silicon Valley home.

When the location I am traveling to is not accessible by public transportation I use my Hybrid vehicle as my primary mode of travel. The next step will be an Electric Vehicle which would fully eliminate the gasoline required for transportation.

3.  Electricity from the Outlet – Endgame: carbon emissions from fossil fuel sources of electricity
The large portion of the electricity I consume in my business is the power required for my IPhone, IPad and Laptop.  After adjusting the power settings on these devices One idea which came to mind was to purchase a small solar panel to top off the batteries in my laptop when I am in the satiation where I can use sunlight to reduce the amount of electricity I take form the grid.

4. Waste Products
The waste generated at home is nowhere near what would be created in a conventional office building.  An example of what could be achieved include recycling all junk mail received.

I used to drink bottled water which I made sure to recycle when I was thirsty but after learning the carbon footprint of plastic bottles and truly how small a percentage is recycled and winds up in our oceans suffocating sea life I now use an Eco-friendly stainless steel mug to hold my Brita filtered tap water.

5. Sustainable Sourcing
I try to order supplies on line whenever possible and receive things by snail mail except only when it cannot be helped. One example was my business cards which I hand out to prospect clients. I felt a little better by making sure all of the cards were produced from 100% recycled materials.

Stay Tuned

At some point I will go through the checklist and see how many things I comply and what I will need to do to become certified as a Green Business. I will post updates as I make the journey to becoming a green business. The journey will contain many valuable lessons for everyone which I would be happy to share when the time comes.