My Sustainable Business Journey
December 10, 2020
Since I started my business in early 2017 I’ve been thinking about how to incorporate my passion for living a sustainable lifestyle into my work. Over the past year, I’ve dug deeper into the role of sustainability and ethics in business and my role as a designer to facilitate best practices.
I have spent a lot of time behind the scenes incorporating more sustainable and ethical choices into my business and while it’s very much a work in progress, I thought I’d *finally* share.
01. Working From Home
Working from home reduces my commute to nothing! Emissions from fuel are typically the biggest source of CO2 for individuals, so not having to use any transportation to get to work is fantastic.
While the majority of my clients are local, I still meet with them remotely. Unless there is a special need for a face-to-face meeting with a client or a printer I can easily accomplish all of my projects online.
02. Shutting Down My Laptop
Instead of leaving my computer in sleep mode, I’m in the habit of shutting it completely down after I’m done working. When your laptop or desktop computer is in sleep mode, it is still drawing power which ends up being wasted. This is a really easy thing to do and adds only 30 seconds to the process but can save a lot of energy in the long run.
03. Unplugging Electronics
Whenever I’m done charging my phone or other electronic gizmos I do my best to unplug it from the wall. Even if you’ve unplugged your device from the charging cable but leave your charging cable plugged into the wall, power is still being drawn down. There are products on the market that will automatically turn off the power to your charging cable once your device is fully charged, but I don’t own one and try not to buy more than I need.
04. Areas of Improvement
There are a few areas in my business where I know I could do better in terms of my environmental impact:
My web host claims they are doing good things for the environment, however since I’ve learned more about green web hosting this year I have not had the time to dedicate to researching their claims. I’ll be sure to do a full post about what I find out and if I decide to switch web hosts.
I’m also very interested in making my business carbon neutral through a third-party but have not found the right fit yet. More to come from this topic too!
Looking at the Bigger Picture
While I am a huge advocate for taking steps to reduce your own carbon footprint, there is only so much one person, design studio, or family can make.
We live in a society that doesn’t offer as many sustainable or ethical options for every product or service you might use in your everyday life. It was a crushing blow to learn that only 10% of all the plastic ever made has actually been recycled. Multinational corporations that promote and produce plastics, and other harmful products, should be held to a higher standard and take responsibility for the environmental damage they and their products have caused. In 2020 the top three corporations responsible for plastic pollution were Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Nestle. Big industry has done a great job at deflecting blame and responsibility to us the consumers, but we should not accept this narrative.
As a designer, I want to change the business industry to accept and embrace sustainable and ethical practices. By helping guide my clients to more sustainable paper stocks, web hosts, or even getting the conversation started is a big win in my book.
How did about you? Are there creative ways you are reducing your carbon emissions? I’d love to hear what steps you’re taking in your own business or personal life to reducing your environmental impact!
Calculating Carbon Emissions
Since I work from home it’s difficult for me to separate reducing my carbon footprint for my business from my personal life. Sustainability is a topic near and dear to my heart and I have been working at making more sustainable lifestyle choices for many years and is an ongoing process. I was curious to calculate the carbon emissions my family creates and used the CoolClimate carbon calculator to get a better idea. See how my business + family did:
If you’re curious to calculate your own carbon emissions check out http://coolclimate.org/calculator.