Where do a startup’s responsibilities lie? First and foremost, they lie with their customers. Without them, the startup ceases to exist. But the startup’s responsibilities don’t end there. It is also responsible to its employees, to its community, and ultimately, to the environment. These heavy responsibilities might seem burdensome, but they are simply part of the cost of doing business.
How can a startup balance its responsibilities to customers and employees with its responsibility to the environment? By taking green initiatives. While that might seem like a tall task, many startups can take very simple steps to fulfill their environmental obligations. In fact, there is one program that can help any startup increase its green quotient.
When you ship products to your customers, you are impacting the environment. Many startups and executives might not see this, or even think of this. It’s a standard part of doing business, and it is done by another company. Yet it is still part of the startup’s process. By taking on projects that help offset the carbon footprint of shipping, UPS has created a carbon-neutral program that every startup can take advantage of.
In addition, UPS also takes advantage of alternative fuels with its fleets. This makes us feel even better about shipping with them. Not only are we funding environmental projects, but we’re also supporting the use of more environmentally friendly fuels.
Two staples of any startup are paper and ink. Some startups, such as my own, use them more heavily than others. But nearly every startup relies on them heavily, whether for in-office use, product creation, or both. By switching to recycled paper and non-hazardous ink, startup executives can rest easier knowing they’re minimizing their environmental impact.
At Ticket Printing we use paper from New Leaf, which is 100 percent recycled. We also use Xerox’s dry ink toner cartridges, which are non-toxic. Understanding that some customers would like to avoid paper and ink altogether, we’ve also created digital products, which create almost no negative environmental effects.
Even after cutting down on environmental impact with shipping and material improvements, startups might still feel a further obligation to the environment. This is a good thing. The best startup founders I know not only want to do well, as in succeed, but also to do good, like Superman. One way to do this is to donate to conservation organizations.
A donation as little as 1 percent of net income can make a difference. Combined with the other initiatives, it can have a real impact on our environment.
While entrepreneurs place a high priority on responsibilities to customers, sometimes other responsibilities are placed on the back burner. But that doesn’t mean they cease to exist. We all have our obligations to create a healthier environment, and startups have great opportunities to do their parts. With just a few small adjustments, any startup can play a role in improving our environment.
Lance Trebesch is the CEO of TicketPrinting.com & Ticket River which offers a variety of event products and ticketing services. After nineteen years of Silicon Valley experience, Lance found the key to happiness is helping customers worldwide beautify and monetize their events with brilliant print products and event services. Listening to his customers and learning about how they plan their events – ranging from concerts to fundraisers has helped him gain insight and expertise on how to host a successful event that he is always eager to share.
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