The modern world of doing business is a very different beast. With consumers and companies alike increasingly aware of the world’s environmental problems and the need to take action to protect the it, choices made on both sides are now more keenly informed by green considerations than ever before.
And not a moment too soon. Reassuringly, it seems as though the majority of reputable businesses are taking measures to protect the environment by being sustainable in the way they produce and distribute their products, and the manner they go about their business.
As well as it, quite simply, being the right thing to do, being eco-friendly can also help your business’ bottom line. Research shows that 55% of consumers are prepared to pay more for products and services that are more ethical or eco-friendly. There really is no reason not to. With that in mind, here are 6 IDEAL ways your business can reduce its impact on the environment.
It used to be that offices and other businesses needed to use large volumes of paper for correspondence, reports, research, and other essential processes. This excessive demand for paper and its production is a primary cause of deforestation, as well as chemical pollution associated with making office-grade paper. With the ease of modern communication channels, you can – and should – eliminate your business’ use of paper entirely.
Correspondence can be completely replaced with emails, including invoicing. Cloud storage allows your business to safely and securely store documents, replacing the need for paper-based storage, including backup storage. Virtually every process, from meeting minutes to internal communications, can be effectively carried out electronically, eliminating the need for any paper at all. Now, where did I jot down my pin number?
IMPROVE ENERGY EFFICIENCY
Every business needs to use energy in some way, whether that’s in the form of lighting, heating, computers, machinery, or vehicles. Although these processes are essential to being able to run your business, you can reduce their environmental impact by making your energy use more efficient. Greater energy efficiency ultimately equates to using less energy and therefore reducing greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental impacts. As an extra bonus, this will also reduce your energy bills, saving you on expenses.
But how to go about becoming a more energy efficient business? Well, for a start, installing energy efficient lighting can significantly reduce your company’s energy usage, particularly if you have a larger site. Better insulation also helps to reduce the amount of energy needed to heat and cool your premises.
Water usage is also important, so take care to install water efficient equipment in your bathrooms and other plumbing systems. If you have landscaping, replacing the plants with those that need less water can reduce your water usage and protect precious resources.
And finally, commit to good energy-saving practice with electricity. Make sure lights, computers and other devices, and plug switches are all turned off at the end of the day. Every little helps, as they say!
The good news is that there are government incentives to make your business more energy efficient, with energy saving support schemes in place to encourage your company to go green.
Many businesses have parking facilities onsite, whether exclusively for staff or to accommodate clients and visitors. Although largely essential, parking facilities can have a significant impact on the environment. Unused parking space has an unnecessary environmental footprint, and inefficient parking systems generate more greenhouse gases.
You can reduce this impact through more efficient parking systems. Inefficient parking systems mean drivers spend more time driving around looking for parking spaces, or standing with the engine running to wait for a parking spot, contributing more to greenhouse gas emissions. Parking management systems like those from Nortechcontrol can help you to make your parking systems more efficient and reduce your carbon footprint.
Implementing effective recycling systems in your business is essential to ensure your business keeps its environmental impact to a minimum. Single-use plastics, in particular, are a major environmental issue, contributing to overflowing landfill and polluting our rivers and oceans. Effective recycling of plastic waste helps to reduce this problem.
Recycling is not only related to how you use your waste, but also making sure that you only source products and supplies that are recycled. If you have to use paper, make sure it is certified recycled. For one tonne of recycled paper, this will save 7,000 gallons of water and 3 cubic yards of landfill. Make sure your office products, toilet paper, packaging and all other supplies are made from recycled or recyclable materials. Once you’ve eliminated all single use items from your supply chain, you’ll realise how superfluous they were in the first place.
Along with reducing your energy usage, your business can also make sure that the energy it does use is green and sustainable. Solar is arguably one of the most environmentally-friendly kinds of energy there is, so consider installing panels on the exterior building of your company to reap the benefits of their received energy.
For some businesses, it may be possible to install solar panels on your premises to cover some or all of your energy needs. If this is an unaffordable investment or not possible for other reasons, you can at least make sure your energy is sustainable by sourcing your business’ electricity from energy providers who use renewable energy sources.
Traditionally, a large amount of a business’ greenhouse gas contribution comes from their worker’s commutes and any business travel required for various roles within the company. Reducing your business’ carbon footprint means cutting down on this transport as much as possible, and as a responsible employer, there are things you can do to encourage this.
Incentivise your staff to carpool or come to work using sustainable transport methods such as public transport, walking, or cycling. Better still, you may be able to reduce your staff’s need to commute at all by opening up the possibility for remote work part or all of the time. Technology can also be used to replace in-person meetings with virtual meetings, reducing the need to travel, too.