Eco News from 4imprint
It’s often reported that consumers’ purchasing decisions are influenced by an organisation’s green credentials. If a firm can demonstrate it’s committed to operating sustainably and minimising its environmental impact, it can build a strong reputation among eco-conscious buyers who are keen to cut their own carbon footprints.

But do organisations also think what their staff want as well?

According to a study by facilities management specialist Direct365, 26% of workers would like to see their employers adopt more environmentally friendly processes. If consumers are basing their decisions on who to transact with on a firm’s green policies, it makes sense this will be in mind when people are choosing who they want to work for. The findings highlight another pressing reason why companies of all sizes must be proactive in going green. By failing to take environmental issues seriously, they could be potentially be missing out on top talent and pushing them towards another organisation.

So what could small businesses do to both reduce their impact on the planet and show their staff they are committed to doing so?

Identify where improvements can be made easily
If you’re a small business owner you could struggle to dedicate the time to a full audit of your operations or to measure your energy output and waste levels in detail. So don’t take on too much and concentrate on a few measures you can quickly and easily implement. For instance, order some extra bins and encourage your workforce to separate their waste, switch lights off in unoccupied rooms and don’t leave unused appliances on standby. If you have a vending machine or water cooler, get rid of the disposable cups and issue reusable mugs and encourage your team to refill a water bottle instead. These small changes in behaviour can easily be achieved – and are a start in showing existing and prospective employees that you consider the environment.

Equip office with recycled goods
Make a commitment to choose recycled products whenever possible. For instance opt for recycled letterhead next time you order, and consider items for meeting rooms such as coasters made from old CD cases – these are both eye-catching and quirky as well as genuinely useful! Photocopier paper (if printing is essential) and general office supplies such as notebooks, pens and pencils can all be ordered made from recycled materials – and they each offer a way of demonstrating your belief in helping the environment.

Become more energy-efficient
According to figures from the International Energy Agency, SMEs across the world waste almost a third of the energy they pay for because their processes and technology are inefficient. The group’s report suggests switching to more efficient alternatives – such as turning equipment off when not in use – could yield £billions in savings in the UK alone.

Purchasing more energy-efficient appliances could also be advantageous. For instance, many modern printers boast energy-saving and green functions, so replacing an old model with a newer alternative could yield significant savings and carbon reductions in a short time. Meanwhile, you can encourage your team to follow new printing guidelines, such as not using wasteful fonts, printing on both sides of the paper and not always printing documents that could be saved to a USB stick, a server or in the cloud.

A few small changes here and there can go a long way towards cutting your energy output and costs. But crucially, they could make a big difference in your efforts to both attract and retain staff at a time when the job market is getting highly competitive. Your people are your greatest asset – so you need to consider everything if you want to keep them on board and engaged.


Sources / Further Reading
British employees want firms to introduce more eco-friendly policies Training Journal
How the energy efficiency challenge continues to haunt small businesses Business Green
How to control print costs to save your business money Startups