In a world where the younger generation are leading the way for change, we all need to listen and start reflecting on what changes we can make now no matter how small they may seem, to make a greater positive impact on our environment.
Whether it is shaking up your supply chain or going paperless, this article looks to offer advice on how you can make your business better right now, and more sustainable in the future.
Small businesses which embrace environmental sustainability, will not only reduce the long-term overall costs, but will also see their reputations improve in areas that are becoming increasingly important… politics and ‘public image’.
What exactly does ‘making your business green’ mean?
This is when you are conscious of both the ecological and social impact your business has, and you are considering the following factors:
- Your company’s environmental footprint
- Whether your suppliers aware of the impacts their production may have, and taking necessary steps to improve this
- Actively looking to find more sustainable technology
- Conserving employees’ energy to allow them to be more productive
Being ‘green’ also entails communication with other stakeholders of your organisation so that all ideas and visions are aligned. It is important to get your employees involved in helping the company achieve this however, it might also mean reaching out to members of the community and encouraging them to play their part.
Your offices are the first stage of ensuring your business can operate in an environmentally friendly manor. It’s the place where you and your staff spend most of your time and, depending on your sector, it’s likely to be the place where maintaining energy levels is crucial.
Businesses are increasingly embracing sustainability because not only does it boost your “green” credentials, and consequently impacts your reputation, but it can significantly decrease overall costs.
To improve your office efficiency, you might seek to utilise as much natural light as possible; a more open-plan office will allow for more natural light. This will reduce your need for interior lighting however, when illumination is needed, low energy LEDs offer a substantial reduction in running costs over a standard bulb.
Compliment these efforts with improving insulation to reduce the amount of heating required to maintain the temperature within the office space. Consider individual heating and cooling units to ensure any empty rooms are not wasting energy.
A sustainable supply chain
As well as taking care of your companies’ approach to sustainability, to further exhibit environmentally friendly practices, you can also start to address your entire supply chain. This alone will help to move your company to a point where you are continuously considering your actions and effects on the environment, with the aim to eventually becoming a fully ‘eco-friendly business’.
You’ll want to take a deep look at your suppliers and make sure that they are following the standards that are important to you and the ethics of your company.
Introducing improved technology
There is an abundance of renewable energy technologies that your business can make use of to improve its green credentials.
Although buying energy through green suppliers is slightly more expensive than fossil-fuel based energy, a recent study by the ‘Department of Energy & Climate Change’ states that “80% of UK residents support renewable sources”. This means that promoting your business as one which uses renewable sources, will likely boost reputation.
Workforce and culture
Encouraging staff to turn off the lights at the end of a day’s work might seem like a simple thing, but it can reduce your business’ energy bills significantly over the course of just 1 year. It sets into motion a change of attitude, encouraging the workforce to “think green”.
As well as small measures like this, you can build sustainability into your work-place culture by adopting measures such as encouraging car sharing to reduce the use of single-occupant vehicles and therefore helping to limit the polluting impact of cars.
There are some basic things you can do to around the office get started.
- LED Bulbs – this is one of the most basic things you can do to get started. They last much longer and can be up to 80% cheaper to run
- Going Paperless – Offices are going increasingly paperless, but paper is still a major cause of concern for any business committed to becoming fully sustainable. Only print things when necessary and also try to print double-sided pages. Try to use recycled paper if you do need to print something.
- Install hand driers – Get rid of those paper towels!
- Stop supplying disposable utensils – You do not need paper coffee cups, use this opportunity to either get branded mugs or tell everyone to bring their own.
- Use whiteboards – Stop using posters, boards or paper during meetings and presentations
- Ensure sustainability is engrained in your core values – your core values determine your priorities, they support the vision of the company and are the essence of your company identity. If you are genuine about making a more sustainable business, then having it as one of your core values will ensure it stays in the fore-front of your minds.
Advantages to your reputation are one thing, but a business with sustainability built-in, can have a positive impact on the workforce, and crucially reduce costs over the long term.
By Roy Butcher
To ensure you are running the most efficient and sustainable business, we can review all of your processes and suggest improvements to make them more effective. We also help businesses to develop their core values, which help to align a teams thinking and build a better working culture.
If you would like any more information regarding the above, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org