Today is Earth Day and we here at GTS Financial are pretty excited about it. After all, environmental responsibility is an integral part of our goal to have a big impact not only on the lives of our clients but our community as well.
We are so committed to using everything we do as a vehicle for good that GTS Financial is a pending B Corp. What is that, might you ask?
B Corps are businesses that meet the highest verified standard of social and environmental performance, transparency, and accountability. It involves a vigorous assessment that only one other advisory firm in the state of Minnesota has met.
As a business, here are some of the ways we prioritize our planet:
• We strive to be a paperless work environment, leveraging technology to collect e-signatures for paperwork whenever possible, and using 90% post-consumer recycled paper for printing and copying.
• We minimize car trips where we can by encouraging videoconferencing for both internal and client meetings, allowing for a remote work environment, and carpooling to company outings.
• On sunny days, we leave the lights off! Our big windows on the 15th floor are an excellent source of natural light.
Everyone has already heard to plant a tree, recycle, and take shorter showers to be gentler to Mother Earth, so we thought it might be fun to share some out-of-the-box, lesser-discussed eco-friendly tips to challenge you to find new ways to shrink your carbon footprint this Earth Day (and beyond!)
Meatless Mondays - Not everyone may feel they are made for a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle, but who says you have to go all or nothing? According to a European Parliament study, the average vegetarian is responsible for half the greenhouse gas emissions of the average meat-eater.1 Using that logic, eating meat even one less day per week could reduce emissions by 7%, and if more omnivorous eaters got on board for this small change in their diet, it could still make a big impact! "Convincing meat substitutes like Impossible Burger and Beyond Meat are easy ways to replace your favorite cheeseburger without giving up that taste you love," says Shel Horowitz, author of Painless Green.2
Stop Watching the Pot - That electric kettle isn't just for making tea in the morning. You can use it to pre-boil water for pasta or rice to jumpstart the process. It's twice as efficient at boiling water and saves you time too!5
Surf the Web, Plant Trees on Land - Have you ever heard of Ecosia? It is an internet search engine that plants trees with its ad revenue.5 To date, they have already planted more than 146 million trees! Why not check it out the next time you need to look up the name of that actor who played in that one movie, or what it would look like if a Pomeranian and a Pug had puppies (hint, cute!)
Tool-Pool - Whether you are in the middle of major renovations or just need to fix a minor plumbing problem, it is unnecessary to purchase every single tool you'll ever use once. Borrowing not only saves you money, but reduces packaging waste in landfills and shipping emissions.2 If you can borrow a cup of sugar from a neighbor, hopefully you could also borrow a hacksaw. Not friendly with your neighbors? There's an app called Sparetoolz for peer-to-peer tool rental you could check out!
Eating Good From Your Neighborhood - Beyond the obvious economic benefits to small businesses in your community, when you eat local, you are caring for the planet well beyond your neighborhood. "Food miles" is the term used to calculate how far food items travel from farm to table, and as you can probably guess, the farther the journey, the more fossil fuels are used and air pollution created. Additionally, farms that go out of business tend to sell to commercial developers, so sourcing your foods locally keeps the farms near you from becoming the parking lot near you.1
Ditch Plastics with Shampoo Bars and Beeswax Wrap - In 2016, experts predicted there will be more plastic than sea life in the ocean by 2050 if nothing changes in our consumer habits.3 Thankfully, there are functional new alternatives bubbling up (pun intended) every day to combat this crisis. Take shampoo, for example. Plastics have been the go-to for shower-safe packaging for the longest time, but now you can buy a bar of shampoo, lather up your hair, and rinse. Bar shampoo is plastic-free, a 2-3oz bar should last through 50+ washes and you won't be paying to ship the 80% water inside a traditional liquid shampoo bottle.2
In the kitchen, consider beeswax wrap as an alternative to plastic cling wrap. Made with a piece of cotton fabric that is coated with a mixture of (you guessed it) beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin- this new alternative is reusable, antimicrobial, and actually keeps food fresh longer because it is more breathable than plastic.4 All you have to do is warm the wrap with your hands to shape around the other half of your avocado, cucumber, or brick of cheese, then wash in cold water and mild soap between uses. When they eventually reach the end of their lifespan, you could literally bury them in your backyard to dispose of them because they are biodegradable. I think I hear Mother Earth, and she's saying, "That's the bee's knees!"
Footnotes and Sources
1. Goodwall.io, April 19, 2020
2. BestLifeOnline.com, February 27, 2020
3. PlasticSoupFoundation.org, March 2022
4. TheHonestConsumer.com, October 5, 2020