Summary: Environmental sustainability is a key issue for all organisations. Fortunately, there are many things that can help reduce your organisation’s carbon footprint.
‘Going green’ can boost revenues, strengthen customer loyalty, improve efficiency and help organisations meet various environmental regulations. Research by Nielsen found that 66 per cent of global consumers – and 73 per cent of millennials – are willing to pay extra for sustainable products and services.
Here are eight ways your firm could become greener, from small and simple changes to larger commitments …
Replace inefficient appliances
One of the quickest and easiest changes for any business to make is replacing old, inefficient appliances with newer ones that use less energy. As well as being good for the environment, this can help your firm reduce its overheads.
You could start by replacing old-fashioned light bulbs with newer alternatives such as LED bulbs, before moving on to other appliances that don’t make efficient use of electricity, such as outdated computers and old microwaves, dishwashers and refrigerators in the office kitchen.
Recycling is not a new idea, of course, but it’s all too easy for people to fall into bad habits of putting recyclable waste in ordinary rubbish bins if it’s the quickest and easiest option. Make sure your office is well-supplied with recycling bins that make it clear what materials should go in what receptacle.
It’s also important to remember that recycling doesn’t only apply to commonly used workplace items such as office paper and plastic bottles. When you come to dispose of old electrical appliances, make sure they are taken to the right place to be properly recycled, and not simply sent to landfill.
Rethink how you use products and materials
There are many essential workplace items and materials that don’t have to be acquired brand new. Second-hand chairs and desks that are still perfectly usable, office supplies made from recycled or sustainable materials and furniture made from recycled rubber are just a few examples.
By taking full advantage of recycled, refurbished and second-hand supplies, you can do your bit for sustainability and reduce costs in the process.
Furthermore, you can improve environmental performance by only using eco-friendly cleaning products.
Encourage eco-friendly travel
Employee journeys to work are likely to be a big part of your company’s overall carbon footprint. Various initiatives can help your staff reduce the impact they are having on the environment, such as a ‘walk/cycle to work’ competition that rewards people who clock up the most miles travelling to work on foot or by bicycle.
Even people who have to take the bus or train to work can be encouraged to get off a few stops earlier and walk some of the way, while drivers could start a car pool scheme to limit their exhaust emissions.
Don’t think old business practices can’t be changed
Your business may have been doing things a certain way for many years, but that doesn’t mean those processes can’t be changed, particularly if they are having a big impact on the environment.
One of the strongest examples of this is travelling to meetings. Modern videoconferencing technologies (many of which are free) make it easier than ever for colleagues to keep in touch, or for salespeople to meet with clients, without travelling away from the office.
This could be particularly beneficial – for the environment and your bottom line – if you have clients based a long way away or overseas.
Use sustainable suppliers
Your sustainability performance as a company isn’t just about your internal practices and business methods; it also extends to the suppliers, service providers and external organisations you work with.
Make sure your green focus reaches beyond the business by only dealing with sustainable, eco-friendly partners.
Many big businesses ensure their environmental efforts start with their supply chain. IKEA, for example, sources much of its wood from sustainable foresters, and all of its cotton from farms that meet Better Cotton standards.
Turning to on-site renewable resources is one of the biggest changes that could drastically reduce your carbon footprint and, ultimately, cut expenses for the business by lowering your reliance on external energy and utilities suppliers.
Solar power is one option that is proving highly attractive to some of the world’s biggest and most successful businesses, such as Amazon, Apple and IKEA. As well as generating electricity, solar energy can be used to provide hot water.
Rainwater harvesting systems are another effective way for your firm to make the best possible use of natural resources.
Support green causes
By supporting sustainability charities and campaign groups, you can show your company’s commitment to achieving the sort of large-scale, international change required to protect the environment in the long term.
As well as contributing to their efforts, supporting environmental groups can help you strengthen relationships with customers who care about sustainability and green issues.
Find out how important an eco-friendly company ethos is to employees according to our latest research.