Taking into account a business’s environmental impact has become an increasingly important consideration for business owners over the past decade. You may be aware of a report recently published by the UN Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, revealing how the world has only 12 years to limit the potentially irreversible impact humans are having on the planet.
And yet aside from these apocalyptic predictions, many businesses are becoming much more aware of their environmental footprint. In a similar vein, this article will look at the how your business can become more environmentally friendly, without affecting your service.
How can your business reduce waste?
One primary element of a business’s environmental footprint is the waste it throws away. What type of waste this may be is dependent entirely on the type of business which is being run, but needless to say there are common examples through all business. A typical case is that of the office environment and the office supplies which are disposed of. How are you disposing of your office supplies? Are your employees in the habit of turning to single-use products- if pens run out are they then thrown away? How is paper disposed of- does the office have a recycling bin? This can also extend to the staff canteen: is there an office trend of buying a coffee each morning for example?
These are but a few examples of how your business is disposing of waste in the wrong way; stuck in practices of chucking away rather than recycling. A great place to start could be conducting a waste review, taking a more detailed look at where certain office supplies are disposed. Your business could also assign an employee to monitor the supplies cupboard to ensure they are not misused. In addition, your company could also address the office culture itself: encouraging employees to bring in refillable water bottles, or even creating a compost for kitchen waste. If you throw away electronics, have you considered instead to send them off to be recycled? Large manufactures tend to have recycle schemes for their old electronics.
What is green procurement?
Regardless of your business type, obtaining good quality supplies at the best price is an essential aspect of a successful business. In the cases where suppliers come from further afield however, your company is having a larger environmental impact than may be necessary. Green procurement concerns the sourcing of goods and services which are supplied in a sustainable way. This may involve sourcing from local companies or investing in supplies which are made from recycled materials.
By reviewing your procurement policies your business can make a substantial stride towards reducing their impact on the climate. Have you taken time to consider whether the supplies you are buying arrive with excessive packaging? Do you know whether any of the supplies contain substances which may be harmful to the environment? By establishing your approach to procurement early on in your business’s process, potentially in your business plan, you are a step closer to running a more environmentally friendly company.
Have you considered your energy footprint?
Reducing energy use is the holy grail of creating a more environmentally friendly business. Many companies don’t take their energy use into serious consideration, or lack the ambition to search for a more sustainable source. This point can be taken from two perspectives. If you happen to be a business which plans to build its own premises of work, have you considered utilising more environmentally friendly building methods? If you are moving into a building, have you considered powering the office with a renewable energy source? It may also be useful to consider what elements of the office are using the majority of the energy. Web hosting requires a constant source of energy to maintain your online presence. Have you considered green hosting- ensuring part of the energy required comes from a renewable energy source?
These are but a few examples of how your company could become more environmentally friendly. The most important step is taking the time to analyse your business’s output and considering how best to make changes. A business plan could be a fantastic place to start. If you would like help with putting together your plan, get in touch today!
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