The first Earth Day was celebrated in 1970, and the day is now recognized around the globe as Earth Day. This year’s theme is “Invest in Our Planet,” which asks people to plant 7.8 billion trees to help fight climate change. But how are small businesses supposed to help?

Smart companies are discovering that it is no longer a choice between going green and growing long-term profits — sustainability is the path to prosperity. So for both humanitarian and business reasons, it is imperative that companies of all sizes take action and embrace the benefits of a green economy.

While we definitely need to continue working on the big issues that impact our worlds, such as climate change, food waste, and water scarcity, small companies can also make a difference.

You know your company is small, but that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t strive to be a good corporate citizen. Here are 5 easy ways to help the planet this Earth Day… and every day:

1) Use reusable bags for shipping. If you’re like most small businesses, you’re shipping packages all the time. Plastic bags might be convenient, but they’re not great for the environment.

2) Go paperless. Customers are more than satisfied with PDF invoices these days, so there’s no longer an excuse for wasting paper in your business.

3) Switch to digital files. Digital documents take up much less space than physical ones, which means less clutter around the office and less potential waste down the line when you need to get rid of those documents.

4) Use recycled materials for packaging. Whether you’re using cardboard boxes or packing peanuts, you should try to go with recycled materials whenever possible. It will cost a margin of the pricing and you might be able to surprise the customer or retain a conscious one.

5) Use natural light instead of artificial lighting when possible

When you step into the office, you will be greeted by the smell of fresh coffee and samosa. As you settle in for a morning meeting, your coworkers greet you with a smile and cheerful “good morning.” You love working at this company even more, where every employee is valued for their talents and contributions, treated like family, and given opportunities to grow.

A small business with an open door policy, this dreamy work environment is something that many strive to find. A small business can be more than just a business — it can be a family away from home.

Thus, to proposer this kind of a culture inwards, you do have a responsibility as a small business owner towards your community and bigger responsibility to our mother earth.

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