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Global warming and climate change are on an all-time high, with temperatures set to soar in the coming years and plastic to dominate the seas and oceans by 2050 and now most recently our stools (human waste). The term “I’m here for a good time, not a long time” just doesn’t cut it anymore, with the direction in which the planet is going and all the pollution that is going on, I don’t think we’ll be having a good time or a long time for that matter.  Did you know that as of 2017, Bahrain was ranked 9th as the most polluted urban area, with a fine particulate matter concentration of 56.1.

It’s every single person’s responsibility to make the environment a better place, if not for us then for the future generation. Even businesses and industries have taken it upon themselves to improve their sustainability and the environment, some like Zain Bahrain are even adopting Corporate Social Responsibilities (CSR) – whether it is a gimmick or not, that’s another topic up for discussion. Now the question is, should startups be doing the same?

Sustainability isn’t a hot topic, especially here in the region, and that needs to change. As more companies in the west are on the lookout to reduce their carbon and eco-footprint, and with green business trends on the rise, even cash-strapped businesses are keen to get in on all the action, and are adopting green business ideas into their profit motives. Businesses like Lego, Starbucks, Unilever (there are others too) are lighting the way for sustainable business initiatives. Also, who said that going green and moving towards sustainability is going to cost you more? Au contraire, evidence suggests that the relationship between ecology and economy is not as competitive as one might assume – if done well, both will be able to strive and advance simultaneously.

I know, old habits die hard, and people are pretty iffy when it comes to change. There are even the “but we’re doing great right now, we don’t need to change…” – WRONG. We have to change and for the better. The goal right now is to make Earth a better place, so here are five ways your startup can go green:

  1. Host your website the green way. This one is actually a pretty cool one. So, your company has a site, and it’s hosted on some server somewhere in the world and runs 24/7 – are the power and electricity generated from coal-fired plants, solar power plants, or even wind power plants? That is entirely up for you to choose. There are several web hosting companies that offer green web hosting and for the same cost as fossil fueled powered web hosting such as: DreamHost, iPage, A2 Hosting, and much more. Go green!
  2. Work from home. An office is a staple for any company, but having your employees and coworkers commuting to and fro the workplace every day by car can be quite harmful and increases CO2 emissions your company is causing. Instead have your workers stay at home and work from there instead, besides maybe they prefer working from home, there’s even a study supporting that people prefer working from home.
  3. Green Commuting. Alright, maybe it is required that you have your employees in the office to get work done, and that’s okay, there still are other ways in which you can make that less environmentally impactful. Such as incentivizing public transport, or carpooling/car sharing, invest in a hybrid or electric cars, or use ride-hailing apps like Uber and Careem so that there are fewer cars on the road.
  4. Befriend and partner with eco-friendly companies. You may not always have a choice on who you decide to partner up with, but if you do get the chance, do not opt out of those eco-friendly companies, whether it be a vendor, manufacturer, or even a contractor. Your startup can reduce environmental impact by partnering up with companies that have eco-friendly policies.
  5. Recycle, recycle, recycle. Use recycled products and encourage recycling in the workplace, it can be as easy as that! There are several recycling bins around the country so let’s start using that more often.

Now onto the more interesting part, how going green can actually benefit your startup:

  1. Say hello to new markets. The green revolution is coming, and it’s developing new markets and expanding old ones, creating new opportunities for your startup to go and tackle.
  2. More investors will be interested in you. You’ll be the belle of the ball, and everyone will hopefully be interested in investing in your green startup, besides a lot of investors are eager to support businesses who are more sustainable focused.
  3. You’re ahead of the game. Regulations who? If you adopt a more green approach, the chances are that you will be way ahead of any environmental regulations that may take place in the future. Saving you the cost and consequences of reacting to those regulation changes.
  4. Open to innovation. Going green means you’ll have to carefully scrutinize everything that goes on in your company as well as do most of your auditing in-house, and that opens doors for numerous opportunities for innovation.
  5. Lower costs and increased profitability. Serious adoption of sustainability practices means less waste and less cost, which gives you more opportunities to grow and bring in the cash.

Reminder, it’s each and everyone’s responsibility to make the world – our home, a better and cleaner place to live in. Besides who would like to live in a toxic wasteland? No one. Think of all the benefits that come along in living in a cleaner environment, fresher air to breathe, cooler bearable weather, more nature, your favorite animal not going extinct, more money, there’s so much more to it. So, the next time you decide to throw waste on the street, ocean or anywhere, always remember, what would your mother think if she saw you doing that in her own house.