It makes no bearing what industry you operate in—introducing a sustainability policy and keeping your carbon footprint to a minimum is crucial nowadays. Indeed, 4 out of 5 businesses are putting increased importance on the source of the energy used in their offices. Whether you know it or not, the day-to-day operation of your office is likely contributing in some way to the overall emission of carbon dioxide into the ozone layer.
Taking steps, no matter how minor, to address the way your business responds to environmental concerns is beneficial not only to the world at large, but is also something which your customers will respond to positively. A study by Unilever from 2017 showed that 33% of consumers are actively choosing brands who take an interest in their sustainability, and take this information into consideration when making purchase decisions.
So no matter the size of your business, reducing your carbon footprint is good for business. Here are five easy steps you can take today to lower the emissions your business produces on a daily basis
1. Consider your energy use (and your energy provider)
As a business owner, it’s your responsibility to encourage your staff to do their part. The easiest way to begin this is by ensuring to be mindful of energy usage on a day-to-day basis. From turning out lights, computers, and fans at night to replacing single-use batteries with rechargeable ones—crucial for keeping your arsenal of wireless keyboards and mouses in use with minimal waste—there are plenty of small steps to take.
Beyond what your staff themselves can do, you can make some infrastructural changes to how your office uses energy. For example, replacing regular bulbs with energy efficient ones can save up to 80% of the energy you would have otherwise used, and also cut out the waste you would have created by throwing away so many dead bulbs. Likewise, switching to a green energy provider, whose electricity is generated through completely renewable means, may be a slightly more expensive proposition than other energy companies, but the benefits will make themselves evident pretty quickly.
2. Go green for the big things
It isn’t just the day to day elements of office life which can be greened up; major events can also be made more environmentally friendly. Moving offices, for example, may seem fraught with the risk of unwanted office equipment going to landfill, but there are plenty of companies who offer sustainable office moves. These firms will do all the recycling for you, donating any desks, chairs, or computer equipment to charitable causes, and restoring or upcycling any furniture which could still be used elsewhere.
3. Take part in schemes which reward your staff
Encouraging a little friendly competition between your employees might also be a positive way to get them to buck up their ideas about lowering their own carbon footprint, as well as that of your company at large. Engaging with a cycle-to-work scheme where you hire bikes from a central provider to loan out to your staff can not only reduce your carbon footprint by reducing public transport or car use, but promote exercise within your corporate culture. Likewise, if your staff need their daily caffeine fix to get through the day, offer them keep cups, rather than letting them contribute to masses of over 2.5 billion non-compostable takeaway cups that are discarded each year.
4. Compost when you can
Whilst composting may seem like a tricky proposition from the vantage point of a high-rise office block in the middle of a city centre, it’s far easier than you would imagine to get started. Food waste recycling, for example, can be done as part of your regular office recycling program. This allows you to turn the old fruit peel, coffee grounds and other organic matter which would have otherwise gone straight to landfill into compost. This allows it to decompose in a controlled setting, reducing CO2 and methane emissions, and lowering the negative impact on the environment.
5. Introduce meat-free Mondays
Another scheme you can introduce within the office is Meat Free Mondays. Formally launched in 2009 by former Beatle and current activist Sir Paul McCartney, the scheme has gained ground in homes and offices around the world as an effort to cut down on the 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions caused by the livestock industry. Instituting a no-meat policy one day a week can go some way to helping cut down on this high level of emissions, though for the truly committed, you could take a leaf out of WeWork’s book.
The co-working office provider recently caused controversy by removing meat products from the cafes at their 200-plus locations worldwide, and banning staff from expensing meat to the company. Whilst they still allow workers to bring in meat-based meals from home, the move may be one of the highest-profile moves any company has taken to lower their carbon footprint.