Running a profitable business is difficult but being profitable as well as being carbon accountable is even trickier. Whatever size your business, there are some great checks and changes you can make in order to cut your carbon footprint and make a big impact. Here we will explore these steps to inspire you to make your business greener.
What Steps Can You Take To Make Your Business Greener?
- Optimise Heating, Cooling & Lighting
Minimising overheating and cooling is vital in avoiding waste and ensuring that heating and air conditioning are not competing with each other. Either take away locally controlled thermostats and have them centrally controlled or ensure staff are aware that they need to avoid dramatic swings in temperature throughout the day. Another consideration is window film. This allows light in but reflects heat back out during the summer which reduces the need for air conditioning. This process can also be reversed in the winter, so that heat is reflected into the room.
When it comes to keeping an office light enough, natural light is always the best method as it saves energy. It has also been found to improve sleep and avoid health risks associated with unnatural lighting such as an elevated stress response.
But LED lighting is a highly efficient form of lighting when natural light is not adequate. LED bulbs use approximately 15 times less electricity than halogen lighting, significantly reducing a business’s carbon footprint. Dimmable lights and motion sensor lights are other ways to reduce the amount of light constantly in use.
- Waste Disposal
The well-known phrase ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ is a great mantra to follow when trying to become a greener business. Actions such as simply purchasing recycled paper or refurbished phones and IT equipment is an easy way to reduce your business’s carbon footprint. Moreover, having a variety of recycling units in your office kitchen will help ensure that waste is being properly disposed off and not just all being sent to landfill.
Minimising single use plastic is also a positive change to make in an office. Don’t purchase the plastic cups and straws for the kitchen cupboard, and instead stock the cupboards with glasses, mugs and metal straws.
Lastly, food waste can be overlooked but should be considered. As food takes a considerable amount of energy to produce and transport, food waste collection would be a great option to reduce your carbon footprint. In addition to this, the idea of ‘Meat-Free Mondays’ could be implemented into the office for packed lunches or the canteen to provide employees with a chance to reduce your businesses carbon footprint. Food preparation is also a factor to consider. Encouraging staff to cook and heat up food in a microwave at lunchtime instead of relying on a stove can also help to reduce your business’s carbon footprint.
- Cutting Business Travel Emissions
Be it air, car or trains, modern transportation modes are among the largest sources of greenhouse gas emissions. If possible, encourage employees to stop relying on cars to get to work. Cycling to make your daily commute will not only mean preventing emitting emissions into the atmosphere but it will also add great exercise into your working life.
If walking or cycling is not a viable option, facilitating carpooling among colleagues with incentives could be a great way to take the first step of reducing emissions. Namely, Barclays have a scheme whereby carpooling means you get priority parking.
- Opt For A Video Conference
Along the same lines, reducing emissions and expenses related to business travel can help to minimize your company's impact on the environment.
Why not conduct your monthly meetings via Skype? Video conferencing technology is becoming increasingly sophisticated, which means that frequent business travel is less imperative. You may consider having your monthly meeting via Skype and only annual meetings in person.
You could also reduce emissions by having a speaker come to your location for training as opposed to sending people offsite for training in multiple cars.
- Educating And Engaging Employees
Actively engaging employees in making the business more carbon accountable will be highly beneficial.
Empowering employees to see their own power to affect positive change is essential to making company-wide practises effective. This is because by helping employees to understand why they are being told to change long-time habits, they are less likely to resist new eco-conscious policies. Carbon tracking subscription services can also provide a way for everyone to witness the power of their own environmental impact first-hand.
- Digitise Documents
Many offices consume vast amounts of paper. Giving up paper in favour of digital files will make your office greener and also save you a lot of paperwork build-up in the office. You could also reduce the amount you print and if it is essential to print, then double-sided printing should be set as a default.
- An Office Garden
Not only will an office garden provide a place to unwind for employees and perhaps even a great team project, it will also positively impact our environment. Planting vegetation and growing produce helps to improve air quality by filtering out harmful pollutants from the atmosphere.
- Working From Home
Operating remotely can be a great office initiative for both the environment and employee wellbeing. An important environmental benefit of working from home is that each employee can eliminate carbon emissions from their commute. This could be impactful from each employee just working from home one day a week.
- Enable Power Save Mode & Switch Appliances Off At The End Of The Day
It has been estimated that up to 60% of the energy used by office equipment in the UK could be wasted because equipment is left on unnecessarily. Throughout the day, enabling ‘Power Safe Mode’ for appliances that are used intermittently, such as printers or photocopiers, will mean that they drain less energy when not in use. Switching off appliances at the end of the day will also help reduce your small business’s carbon footprint and save you money.
- Company Car Considerations
If your small business uses company cars, then opting for hybrid models, or even electric if possible, will mean your company is running cleaner as well as using less mileage.
These are but a few examples of how your company could become more environmentally friendly. By minimizing the carbon footprint of your business, you can cut costs, build your brand's environmental reputation and even increase your bottom line - all while helping our planet.
The most important step you can take is taking the time to analyse your business’s output and considering how best to make changes suited to your business. To do this, a business plan could be a fantastic place to start.
If you would like help with putting together your plan contact us online using the form on the right or call 01604 420 420.