If there’s one thing that goes hand-in-hand with going local, it’s going green. If you’re already using fresh ingredients and working with local farmers and suppliers, go the extra mile and reduce your ecological footprint even further by becoming as green as possible. It’s a win-win situation for the planet and for your business.
Modern shoppers and consumers care a great deal about the environment. A whopping 71 percent of Americans consider the environment when they spend money. In order to attract the tidal wave of eco-conscious consumers to your establishment, you need to be deliberate and consistent with your green efforts, and it needs to be the real deal. Environmentally aware customers can tell the difference between a superficial effort for marketing purposes and an honest commitment to going green.
On a recent trip to the Rocky Mountains, we stumbled upon the coolest coffee shop that’s clearly on the greenest end of the eco-spectrum. Kicking Horse Coffee is a two-decades old coffee company that won the title of 2015 Fairtrade Favourite product. Though their coffee is available all over Canada, their chill, cozy cafe is situated beneath towering mountain peaks at the company headquarters. During our visit we noticed that the cafe was not only serving up perfect lattes, sweet treats and the best hot chocolate ever, but displayed a deep commitment to sustainability.
Here are the 5 ways your establishment can go green, inspired by Kicking Horse Coffee.
1. Choose Eco-Friendly Packaging
Kicking Horse Coffee offers their yummy hot beverages in “ecotainer” cups, which are made from renewable resources, and are actually compostable.
Choosing environmentally friendly packaging products show your customers that you practice what you preach, and that you really give a hoot about the earth. Take-out coffee cups, doggie-bags, to-go cutlery and sandwich wraps, all have low-impact options. Think of all of the packaging that your restaurant produces and source green alternatives.
Encourage customers to bring their own bags, reusable coffee mugs, and drink containers, or brand your own and sell them at your establishment.
2. Support Local Environmental Initiatives
Kicking Horse Coffee supports green initiatives in their neighborhood. They support non-profit organizations that they believe in, contribute financially to conservation projects in their region, and have lent their voice to an “Anti-Idling” project in their community.
By getting involved in these initiatives, they are supporting worthwhile causes, and expressing their company values to their customers. This type of meaningful commitment provides an opportunity for brand visibility and aligns them with their target demographic.
3. Encourage Alternate Transportation to Your Venue
Ensure that bike racks are close by and that there are enough spots to handle your client level. If your business is on a public transit route, make that clear on your website and in-house. If you’re hosting an event, consider arranging rideshare, renting a van or bus, or organizing a group walk to your venue.
Kicking Horse has gone so far as to install two vehicle charging stations which provide free electric car charging. By showcasing this type of option for green-friendly transportation, the company is sending a clear message to customers.
4. Use Renewable Energy Sources
As a business owner, making sure that your energy choices are economic is not only appealing to your customers, but can make an impact on your bottom line.
Kicking Horse uses solar panels on top of their cafe to power their latté machines, showing that solar panels, wind energy, and other alternative options are a great way to power your business and demonstrate your commitment to the planet.
5. Encourage Customers to Recycle your Products
In order to demonstrate a real commitment to sustainability, be sure to provide options for your customers to recycle. In addition to garbage sorting, show customers where things go. Is the plastic lid on your company’s coffee cup to be disposed of with the plastic recyclables, but the cup and cardboard sleeve goes in with paper products? Help them out. Provide accurate signage, or print the disposal info on the packaging.
If you offer items in your retail area like bottles of beer or glass juice bottles, set up an in-house recycling rewards program, where customers can return bottles for credits toward new products.
As well, make sure that you are recycling your own waste in the most responsible ways to ensure that your ecological footprint is as small as possible.
When you take your environmental impact seriously, you appeal to customers that care, improve your bottom line, and make a difference in the world. Everybody wins!
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