Speak, Write, Eat Green

In the fall, a case study submitted by Charles Communications will be part of a Green Business Case Study book, more details forthcoming. As Charles Communications Associates continues to hone its speciality in helping businesses, here's a small essay on helping small businesses take the first step to go and grow green... Even Small Companies Can Make BIG Change

As a small business, CCA believes in the mantra, “Even small business can think big and make big changes. As a smaller group, decisions can be made and implemented immediately. While Charles commends businesses of all sizes that join the green wagon, she believes that smaller companies like hers have some major advantages. “Changes made today can be seen tomorrow,” says Charles, “which is instant gratification for the team, and instant gratification for the company as a whole.”

A perfect example of this happened three years ago when Charles moved into a new office space. The building did not support a recycling program, so Charles initiated one on the floor she shares with two other businesses. The building now provides bins in the basement for the entire building to recycle paper and cardboard materials. As a small business owner, Charles has the ability to decide where financial investments are placed. All CCA investments are assigned to socially conscious stock.

The Value of a Mentor

A piece of advice Charles passes on to other business owners (or anyone attempting to conduct greener business practices) is to garner a mentor. “Having someone as a mentor or inspiration was pivotal in my development as a small business owner moving into the green space,” says the communications company owner, referring to longtime friend and colleague, Susan Holden Walsh. Walsh, who currently works as CCA’s Senior Public Relations Advisor, encouraged Charles to pursue her goals of creating a sustainable business. Walsh was an early advocate of a socially responsible lifestyle with her move to Boulder, CO. “She represented many cool natural products in Colorado, and for me, her friend, still stuck in Manhattan, talking to Susan was like aromatherapy,” Charles reminisces. “I envisioned a world and purpose beyond my scope. When I moved to California I would call Susan during road trips and talk about best practices and the burgeoning green movement that we witnessed in the early 90s in pockets of the U.S. I credit her with inspiring me to think ahead of the curve when it came to my life practices as well as business practices that would flourish once I started my own business...and here we are today, witnessing a dramatically changed world with lots of awareness and dialogue about the environment. We all still have lots to learn, but at least we're collectively talking.”

Looking ahead, Charles is hoping to truly author the green movement in her company literature and establish a more formal manifesto to relay to current and future clients. One way she plans on tackling this in the short-term is to dedicate an upcoming quarterly newsletter (electronic, of course) to CCA and its clients’ green efforts. “The ultimate goal is to be a completely green business,” Charles says. This would include making CCA’s office space green certified. “Ideally, we’d like to see all of our clients making some effort to be socially responsible, whether in their farming practices or supporting a cause. We hope that our clients, present and future, will recognize our leadership as a socially responsible business and join us in our efforts.”