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NYC Climate Emergency & Small Business

On June 26, New York City Council passed legislation calling residents to mobilize against climate change and recognize the urgency of the warming climate. New York City is the largest city in America to do so, joining likeminded cities in recognizing climate change’s impact on its’ residents. Because the United States government won’t act on climate change, the actions of cities and towns to embrace the cause and fight the warming climate is a big deal.

Bravo to all businesses and residents that pushed for this change and made their voices heard. Business owners have an important role to play in the city’s declaration. Business is responsible for significant energy use and waste within the city limits. As a small business owner in New York City, you can take the following actions to create a safer environment for everyone. 

Knowledge is Power

Spread the news about climate change far and wide. One way to normalize sustainability, waste reduction and climate change is to talk about it. Talk about it with employees, customers, and investors. 

Use social media to share that your business stands against climate change and is working to fight it. Even if you are at the very beginning of your sustainability journey, your community will benefit from hearing about climate change and it’s threat. Use your platforms to share news articles or even just a short sentence about why you are fighting climate change for your business. The more people know about climate change, the better off we all are. 

Utilize Employees

Share your climate change learnings and interests with employees. Ask employees for suggestions on how to reduce carbon emissions within your business. Employees are hands-on in processes daily and know exactly what is being used. They are essential resources in reducing waste and finding environmental alternatives. 

You can involve employees through surveys, meetings, or one-on-one conversations. However you communicate and work best in your business works best for this conversation. Communication should be cross- department and team, not just top-down. Employees can be working with each other to determine the best environmental strategies. 

Use employees ideas to try out new environmental initiatives and create interest around saving the planet. See how employee ideas help reduction efforts. 

Pick reduction methods related to your business

In business activities, we create waste. Whether you create excess electricity, food waste, product or water, take a look at where you can reduce. Small reductions can impact your local landfill or air and water quality. 

Find one thing that you can reduce and start with that. If you are a restaurant, look at food waste pickup options. If you make and ship products, consider alternate packaging. All of these changes help the earth. Start small and see what happens. The planet will thank you.

Use Government Resources

In the city’s announcement to combat climate change, they called on a variety of industries to change. The city’s website has numerous pages to help you learn about climate change, actions to take, and why it matters. Look here and here for more. 

Use your reduction area as a guideline to see what resources apply to your business. If you are looking for waste reduction methods, contact your waste provider. Businesses trying to lower electricity or gas use should contact their providers. Other government sources to check out include the Environmental Protection Agency Archives or Energy Star. And don’t forget about the good ol’ Google search.

Did New York declaring a climate emergency affect how you do business? Why or why not? Share in the comments below.

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