Good for the Earth and Good for Business
by Judy Martens

The modern organization seeks to incorporate green alternatives to existing strategies in order to grow in social responsibility and accountability to stakeholders.

Unfortunately, these more sustainable options often carry a premium. This may cause both businesses and charities to assume that caring for the environment is out of their reach. In the following paragraphs we will share sustainable practices that many organizations can embrace. In some cases, these practices reduce costs.

Recently, we were inspired by the article, “8 Sustainable Business Practices – Are you doing your part?” We were challenged to thoughtfully review our own practices.

Sustainability is about hope

Just as our bodies need nutrition and rest to be healthy and achieve equilibrium,

”The ecological systems on which we depend are naturally self-renewing. Schools of fish replenish themselves. Forests reseed themselves. Groundwater is renewed by the rain. Forests grow by absorbing carbon dioxide and giving off oxygen. We can use these systems in ways that allow them to regularly renew themselves. Humans and all living creatures can live sustainably on the earth…”

Stress can cause sickness and disease in the human body, which severely limits function. Likewise,

“… we can also put so much stress on these natural systems that they can no longer function as they should nor renew themselves adequately. The stress we put on the earth depends both on how we meet our needs, and on how much we use.” 1

Environmental contaminants cause stress and disease in our bodies. However, if we make changes and the environment has a chance to renew, our bodies will also have a chance to recover health. A healthier planet can potentially be a place of hope for our children and grandchildren.

Good for Business

Buying office equipment off lease, making digital copies instead of printing, installing LED bulbs and using timers for lights and temperature controls are sustainable practices that also reduce costs.

Higher costs associated with environmental products may be recovered with additional sales from customers that are passionate about caring for the earth.

A socially responsible organization gains credibility with customers or donors. Green business practices can bolster both customer loyalty and a sense of community.

Sustainability and environmental responsibility are becoming more important to all. A 2015 Global Corporate Sustainability Report indicated that 66% of consumers in the global market are willing to spend more on a sustainable brand. The Millennial generation participants surveyed responded with an even greater 73%. (

Sustainable organizations also attract and retain Millennial generation employees who want to work for an organization that makes a positive impact on the world around them.

Being environmentally responsible is planning for the long-term future of the organization. Visible changes can differentiate among competitors. It may be better to innovate before government regulations force changes upon organizations.

Our experience

We are a small business with fewer than ten staff. We do not have a central office and our staff work mostly from home or client offices.

Here are some of our sustainable practices:


  1. Scan documents to reduce paper usage.
  2. Buy recycled paper to use in office printer.
  3. Recycle paper waste– We donate paper from our shredder to our local church, which is then upcycled into fire-resistant fiber insulation for homes. Prairie Fibre Inc
  4. Pay most bills online using Plooto, an online payment processing service which integrates with Quick Books Online and our bank.
  5. Invite our customers to pay electronically.
  6. Use reusable alternatives to sticky notes in home office.


  1. Buy off-lease computers instead of new.
  2. Use cell phones beyond original contracts, then recycle them. Check out this neat program from Telus.
  3. Recycle devices, printers, computers whenever possible. Check out local recycling programs.
  4. Use online servers instead of own local servers. Examples are Microsoft SharePoint, Google Docs, OVH cloud servers, Digital Ocean…


  1. Drive a fuel-efficient vehicle or a hybrid, if possible, reducing fuel consumption and emissions.
  2. Book virtual meetings to reduce travel.
  3. Ride bicycle to local client offices.
  4. Encourage carpooling to client offices when multiple staff need to attend at the same location.
  5. Give employees flexible work from home options, so they commute less.


  1. Buy local, especially for staff events and gifts.
  2. Recycle beverage containers and use re-useable or compostable tableware and supplies for staff events.
  3. Schedule lighting and plugs based on time of day.
  4. Control temperature in our home office using a programmable thermostat, as well as opening windows or using alternate forms of heat.
  5. Use LED bulbs in home office to reduce energy.
  6. Decorate with live plants in home office for cleaner air.
  7. Use environmentally responsible cleaning supplies.
  8. Encourage staff to consider the environment, by offering LED bulbs, green cleaning supplies and recycling boxes for their home office space.
  9. Ensure paper generated in staff home offices are shredded for confidentiality and then recycled.

We are currently looking at questions like: How shall we dispose of our used computer equipment? Should we include a “consider the environment before printing this email” message on the bottom of emails?

Encourage connection

We encourage you to read the article which inspired us and try some of these ideas. We welcome your input/suggestions. If you work with a charity or not-for-profit, please share your stories of embracing environmental stewardship with us at We look forward to hearing from you.


1 Schrock-Shenk, D. (2002) Basic trek: venture into a world of enough. Waterloo, ON: Herald Press.

May 8, 2023

Written by the Plains Edge team

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