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The Importance of being an Eco-Friendly Entrepreneur

Guest blog written by Cristina Carvajal, Executive Director of Wisconsin EcoLatinos

As we celebrate earth day and admire the beauty of our natural resources, I invite you to think of ways we can take action to reduce our environmental footprint and increase our ecological handprint as individuals and as entrepreneurs.

The Ecological Handprint builds on the concept of the Carbon Footprint. The Carbon Footprint was developed as a tool for individuals and communities to determine areas in which their actions impact the environment and to use their findings to find areas to reduce their impact.

In contrast, the focus of the handprint is to understand how individuals and communities can expand their ability to undertake actions that positively impact our planet. It is a symbol and a measurement of our commitment to positive actions that benefit the world in the present and the future.

Just like we have Ecological Handprints as individuals and communities, our businesses have them, too.

But why should we care about this as entrepreneurs?

There are many motivations for building an eco-friendly business – from pollution, global warming, and high energy prices to regulatory issues. These factors are having major effects on our planet, and small businesses and startups are no exception.

In addition, going green is an inspiration for innovation and increased efficiency, with the added benefit of expanding your customer base by attracting green customers.

Entrepreneurs have an excellent opportunity to start a green business from the beginning; incorporating a sustainability plan while designing your business plan can bring monetary savings. It will also enhance your business’s reputation as a responsible, sustainability-focused company with consumers, shareholders and employees alike, not to mention it is your chance to impact your community, and the world, positively.

But don’t just take my word for it. Here are the stats.

92% of consumers say they’re more likely to trust brands that are environmentally or socially conscious. – Forbes

Overall sales revenue can increase up to 20% due to corporate responsibility practices. – Harvard Business Review

38% of employees are more likely to be loyal to a company that prioritizes sustainability. – SHRM

How can you become a more eco-friendly founder?

You can start by assessing your environmental impact and evaluating environmental threats to your business. Would extreme weather affect your business? How is my business impacting the environment?

After identifying areas of your business that impact the environment, set goals to mitigate those risks. Every startup will have different goals based on its size and model. Even small acts and simple changes can add up to big results over time, but you have to start somewhere.

There are plenty of resources and tools business owners can tap into to become environmentally sustainable. If you want to go the extra mile, you may consider obtaining a zero-carbon or zero waste certification for your business.

There is a wealth of information on sustainability, and it is our mission at Wisconsin EcoLatinos to help our community find ways to increase their ecological handprint.

We all have a job to do in protecting the environment, but as entrepreneurs and innovators, we are uniquely positioned to find creative solutions to the environmental challenges we are facing.

About Wisconsin EcoLatinos

Wisconsin EcoLatinos is a nonprofit organization under fiscal sponsorship from the Center for Community Stewardship based in Madison Wisconsin. Our work is currently focused on South East Wisconsin.

We are working to raise equity and increase participation in environmental quality and conservation efforts by empowering Latino communities and minorities to take action against environmental hazards and reduce carbon emissions to mitigate global warming.

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