As of 2020, it was estimated that the world was emitting around 50 billion tons of greenhouse gases each year, with businesses contributing to the lion’s share of this. These worrying statistics prove just how important it is for businesses to take responsibility for their impact on this planet and to take more steps towards being environmentally friendly.
Thankfully, lots of businesses have already begun this journey, with many big brands already carbon neutral and others making big pledges to change for the better.
So, if you’re a business owner – no matter how big or small – and you want to do your part to protect our planet, we can help. In this guide, we’ll look at five ways you can make your business greener this year.
1. Save energy where possible
The amount of energy you use will depend on the type of business you run; however, there are lots of ways that you can save energy no matter what you do. To avoid wasting power, some simple solutions include:
- Activating power management modes on all your devices, this way they will put the device into reduced-power mode after a period of inactivity.
- Encouraging everyone to shut down their tech and devices at night
- Maximizing natural light, so you don’t need to have as many lights on in the workplace
- For areas without much natural light or those that aren’t used very often, consider motion sensor lights
- Turning all the lights off at night
- Letting the fresh air in with open windows rather than relying on air conditioning all the time
These might only seem like small steps, but together they can help to save a huge amount of energy – and money – and instantly make your business greener.
2. Choose greener partners and suppliers
A relatively easy way to improve your company’s carbon footprint is to think carefully about the partners and suppliers you work with. By choosing energy suppliers, manufacturers, couriers, etc., that are taking active steps to reduce their carbon footprint, you can automatically reduce yours.
And there are lots of brands out there who pride themselves on using power from sustainable, renewable sources, cutting out unnecessary travel and choosing sustainable manufacturing processes.
So, each time you plan to sign up with a new supplier or third party, take a look at their environmental practices and ask what they’re doing to be more sustainable. That way, you can choose to work with those who share your values and who are also committed to being more green.
3. Make business travel greener
When it comes to business travel, there are lots of ways you can plan and make your trip as smooth and effective as possible. For example, packing light, getting detailed itineraries in place and sending luggage ahead.
However, lots of businesses forget that frequent travel, even for work, can negatively impact the planet.
So, if your business relies on a lot of travel and business trips, then it’s a good idea to make your travel processes as green as possible. The good news is that there are lots of ways you can do this, including:
- Choosing the most environmentally friendly form of transport for your destination. For example, getting the train rather than flying or using car shares
- Not printing out your travel documents and having them on your phone or device instead
- Being sensible in hotels by taking your own towel, not using theirs and having them washed every day
- Avoiding single-use plastics, such as not buying multiple bottles of water throughout your journey/weekend. Take a reusable bottle with you
- Shopping and eating locally when you’re away
You should also only travel for business when it’s absolutely necessary. This means if you must attend events or meet someone in person. If, however, you can speak with international clients or employees via video conference, this could save a lot of time, money and is far better for the planet.
4. Go paperless
In 2022, there really isn’t much need to be printing out hundreds of pages each day like there once was. After all, most filing can now be done online, and businesses can use techniques like e-bills, app notifications and internet banking for lots of the functions that used to be very paper-reliant.
So, where possible, you need to encourage the workforce to avoid printing things out. Instead, encourage them to send emails and PDFs or use other tools that help cut down on paper. And, if they really must print something out to use during the working day, you should consider having a tray of scrap paper available to them.
5. Recycling and use
Finally, and again, your ability to do this will depend on the business, but recycling and reusing materials and products as much as possible can be a hugely important way to go greener. However, it’s a good idea to think about what your teams can be doing to reduce their impact on the planet. Some examples might be:
- Adding recycling bins around the office or workplace rather than only offering general waste
- Recycling or reusing packaging wherever possible
- Encouraging employees to use reusable lunch boxes, coffee cups and water bottles
- Stocking reusable products in a retail environment that encourages other to be more eco-friendly
- Borrow or rent items such as tools and equipment instead of buying
- Buy computers and devices that can be easily upgraded rather than replaced
- Do what you can to reduce waste and always comply with waste regulations
- Ensure that materials are recycled or disposed of accordingly, for example, getting in specialist bins for ink cartridges, batteries, cables, scrap metal, etc.
- Whether in catering, events or just in the office, reduce food waste by only buying what’s needed, rather than over ordering
It’s important to ingrain a ‘reduce, reuse or recycle’ culture within your business, encouraging employees to do their bit as much as possible. By providing your teams with access to the bins, contacts, or products they need to be more eco-friendly, you make it much easier for them to do so.
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