5 quick wins to make your business more eco-friendly
If you haven't already looked at how your business could be operating in a greener, more sustainable way, it's time to start. Global warming isn't something that's lurking in the far-flung future, it's happening now, and we all have a responsibility to change how we operate to reduce our impact on climate change.
Mon 19 Mar 2018
If you're a business owner, it's well worth looking at how your company could be operating in a more eco-conscious way.
Not only will you be doing your bit for the environment but it could also have a positive effect on your bottom line.
According to a report published by Unilever last year, a third of consumers prefer to buy from businesses that are "doing social or environmental good".
This percentage is set to rise as more people become aware of the effect their purchases are having on the environment and a more conscious form of consumerism (in short, buy less and/or buy better) spreads.
B Corps (businesses set up to protect the planet as well as create profit) are also recording surges in interest from their consumers, because they are B Corp certified (click here for more info on what B Corps do).
In short, reviewing some different ways to be more eco-friendly in business will help you to stay ahead of the game.
So let's get this green party started.
5 quick wins to make your business more eco-friendly
Reduce your plastic waste
It's no secret that we should all be buying less bottled water, drinking fewer coffees in disposable cups and refusing straws in bars. But have you thought about how your business could be contributing to the huge amount of plastic waste we create every year?
Do you have a water cooler that's typically be equipped with a sleeve of plastic disposable cups. Could you ask staff to bring reusable cups? How about gifting them a reusable water bottle each? Or swap to proper glasses?
If you regularly host meetings and provide lunch, there's plastic waste to cut back on here. Sandwich platters often come with a lot of plastic packaging, as do biscuit tubs and doughnut trays.
Can you find a company that serves food in biodegradable packaging, or buy from a local business that will allow you to use your own reusable plates, trays and so on?
Transport emissions are responsible for around 25% of the UK's carbon footprint, according to the UK government
Promote your business with eco-friendly products
If you attend trade shows or industry conferences, you might have a range of promotional items for your business. At the very least you'll have business cards.
Notebooks, pens, and highlighters that are printed or embossed with your logo aren't often made in a green and sustainable way. However, it is possible to find manufacturers that can offer eco-friendly products.
Custom Planet is a printing and branding specialist that offers a selection of environmentally friendly promotional products, which have been manufactured using natural or recycled materials. They won't increase your carbon footprint but are ideal for increasing brand awareness. Plus recycled or upcycled material provides a positive talking point that shows you're in step with wider consumer change.
Swap to renewable energy sources
More businesses are powering their premises and digital platforms using renewable energy (including pebble), which is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only can this help to improve your green credentials, but it can save you money and reduce how much you rely on the world's dwindling supply of fossil fuels.
Consider using green website hosting, switching to a renewable energy provider or even installing solar panels, if you own your workspace.
If you aren't totally sold on the idea of switching to renewable energy, it's well worth looking into the benefits. Conserve Energy Future has a list of nine ways businesses can benefit from renewable energy, which can give you more insight into why you should take advantage of this option.
Encourage your staff to use greener forms of transport
Transport emissions are responsible for around 25% of the UK's carbon footprint, according to the UK government. If you can encourage staff to use greener forms of public transport, this could have a massive effect on the environmental impact of your business (Absolut Vodka even made this a key part of its new 'Nothing to Hide' campaign to promote the sustainable values of its business).
There are a number of ways in which you can approach this. If your business offers company cars as a perk, you could look into offering electric options.
You could also provide incentives for your employees to carpool, or even cycle or walk to work. The Cycle to Work scheme can help employees save up to 39% on the cost of a bike and accessories.
Perhaps you could set up a prize draw for employees if they travel on an emission-free form of transport so many times a month.
Flexible working hours can also help to reduce the carbon footprint of your employees' commute. If they miss rush hour, they'll spend far less time sitting in idle traffic. And if people are working from home, there's no transport emissions at all.
Recycle your electronics
We all have a printer that never works or mobile phones that look like ancient bricks but instead of throwing them in the bin, it might be worth looking at a more eco-friendly solution especially as the UK's E-waste will hit 50 million tonnes by the end of 2018.
Recycle Now can point you in the direction of a local recycling centre that will happily accept a lot of your electronics or you could donate them to a local Repair Cafe, which helps people to mend electronics instead of throwing them away.
All of these points might seem like small changes but together they can lead to big differences and a different mindset, where we don't just throw things away but think about our actions as part of a interconnected, greener world.