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As global warming becomes a bigger concern, Canadians are changing the way they live and work to help reduce greenhouse emissions. Today's consumers are choosing to buy from environmentally friendly businesses. Therefore, by reducing your consumption of energy, water and materials, you can improve your business operations, and your reputation.

Below are five tips to help your business incorporate environmentally friendly practices and help combat global warming. All of these tips are based on reducing, reusing and recycling.

1. Minimize business travel

There are a number of ways you can reduce travel to conserve energy, and reduce emissions that contribute to global warming. To start with, for every 1.6 km. you don't drive, you prevent 1 lb. of carbon dioxide from being created. Consider car pooling with colleagues and using public transit. During nicer weather this summer, you may want to try walking and biking. Buying locally from other businesses in your community can help reduce travel further. When you do drive, take steps to increase your fuel efficiency.

Managing your business telecommunication and IT accounts electronically can reduce trips to the bank or post office, and give you more time to focus on your business. Online Bill Manager service from Bell allows you to view bills and make payments online, and it provides detailed record keeping for your business. You can even integrate these records with your accounting system to save more time and effort.

Reduce customer travel

To further reduce travel, you can offer online ordering on your Web site. This will reduce the need for sales calls, and make it more convenient for customers to order from their business location or from home. Bell provides a complete range of services, from Web site hosting, ecommerce and Web site design services — everything you need to prepare your Web site for increased traffic and sales.

Allow staff to work remotely

Another way to help conserve energy is to reduce staff travel by hiring teleworkers or giving employees the flexibility to work remotely on occasion. Bell offers technology that makes it easier for you and your staff to stay in touch. Services such as Business IP Voice from Bell make it possible to be available to customers and suppliers by phone any time, anywhere.

Bell offers several flexible Internet solutions for employees working at a customer location, or from home. They can access all the information they need over a high speed Internet connection by using Business Internet Unplugged service from Bell, with no hot spot or phone line needed.

And if you need to bring team members together from different locations, you can use Audio and Web conferencing solutions from Bell to hold productive meetings without the need for travel.

2. Conserve power

Saving energy can be as simple as replacing incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs. The Canadian government recently announced a plan to introduce national standards for lighting efficiency and phase out incandescent bulbs by the year 2012. Turn off your lights, computer and monitor when they are not in use, and adjust your thermostat by a few degrees. This can make a big difference in your annual consumption, and save you money.

Update electronics and machinery with more energy-efficient models, and use multi-purpose devices such as all-in-one print/fax/copiers. Reduce power use further by outsourcing telecommunication and IT services. For instance, you could use a Bell hosted server to reduce onsite electrical use. Outsourced services from Bell share resources among multiple businesses to use power more efficiently.

3. Be conscious of water consumption

To reduce water consumption, consider outfitting staff kitchens and washrooms with energy-efficient taps and toilets. Even purchasing recycled paper products can help; these products require 90% less water during manufacturing. Also consider how your manufacturing processes can be improved — water consumption can be further reduced by using chlorine-free processes and by recycling wastewater.

4. Aim for a paperless office

While you may not be able to eliminate paper completely, you can find ways to reduce use of it. After all, trees are a vital resource and an important feature of the Canadian landscape. They also counteract the effects of greenhouse emissions by replenishing our breathable air supply.

The beauty of electronic devices and technology is that they make it easier for business people to share information without using paper. You can read documents on-screen at your PC, or on your cell phone or PDA, and share information over the Internet using services such as Bell Hosted Windows® SharePoint Services™. You can also be selective about what you print, and when you do need to print, use both sides of the paper.

5. Recycle

Set up a recycling centre for paper, bottles and cans and encourage staff and customers to use it. In addition, reduce the amount of paper in your blue bin by affixing new labels to reusable envelopes. Donate your old computers to local schools, and old cell phones and rechargeable batteries to Mobile Take-Back Program.

If you want to give back to the environment, plant a tree outside your business. With this simple act, you can help offset greenhouse emissions, recycle water, provide shelter for animals and beautify your business neighbourhood.

Find out more about what your business can do for the environment at Industry Canada's Web site. And visit bell.ca, to learn more about our commitment towards reducing global warming.

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