Although most people acknowledge its importance, the notion of eco-friendliness remains under-used in the business world. Most companies see it as a daunting or unattainable thing, reserved for larger names and entities who have the ‘resources’ to implement it. Despite this belief though, the true fact of the matter is that environmentalism in business is very much attainable across the board, and in reality is a tangible goal all organisations can work towards. In this article, we’ll discuss the topic of eco-friendliness in business and how it may be easier than you think to apply it to your own operations.
The Drive For Change
We’ve seen many major companies adopt environmentalism and sustainability practices over the years. From Apple’s carbon-neutral pledge to Amazon’s massive investments in green tech, there’s a growing consensus and precedent that businesses should be striving for more planet-conscious operations. And there’s more urgency behind it than ever.
Consumers are aware and alarmed by the climate crisis, and they want to see the businesses they frequent reflect that same level of concern. In fact, a recent independent study from SmartestEnergy found that 81% of people prefer to choose a brand that takes a positive approach to environmentalism.
Making Your Business Eco-Friendly
Despite common misconceptions, you don’t have to be an industry-heavy-hitter like Amazon to implement some valuable environmental practices into your business operations and make a difference. There are in fact a number of simple ways any company can reduce their impact on the planet, like the following.
1. Go Paperless
It’s the twenty-first century, and we have all of the technology and resources to go paperless. So why haven’t we? Although a simple item, paper has a surprisingly large impact on the environment. Not only does it require trees to be cut down in order to be produced, but it also uses up an ungodly amount of other resources in the process – 10 litres of water are needed to make a single A4 paper.
Switching your business to a paperless model is one of the most eco-friendly things you can do, and it’s also easier than ever. With cloud storage options, online document sharing, and digital signatures, there’s really no excuse not to make the jump. Not only is it good for the environment, but it can also be more efficient and cost-effective for your business in the long run.
2. Mind Your Energy
If you’re looking for a slightly more involved way to make your business eco-friendly, energy consumption is a really good place to start. Nearly everything we do in business occupies energy in some way, so there’s always room for improvement and optimization.
Although some cases will involve different factors than others, there are a few key ways any business can effectively reduce its energy consumption.
The first is addressing what are perhaps the biggest uses of power in office environments – namely lighting, heating and electrical appliances. You don’t have to go without them, but there are definitely some adjustments you can make to use them more efficiently. For example, natural light from windows is a great way to reduce dependence on artificial lighting, and in cases where you do need it, making the switch to LED lighting can reduce your electricity consumption by as much as 80%.
As for heating, by improving insulation in your office space you can better economise the heat you do use and reduce your energy consumption. Even a change of a couple of degrees can have a major impact – turning down your thermostat by one degree reduces your carbon pollution by as much as 340kg.
Finally, when it comes to electrical appliances, simply being mindful of which ones you’re using and when can make a big difference. Power strips and other devices that help you easily manage and shut off electronics when they’re not in use can be a big help, as can unplugging appliances that don’t need to be constantly plugged in.
3. Opt For Green Supplies And Suppliers
Think about all of the materials your company pays for every year. Are they sustainable? If not, making the switch to greener options is a great way to reduce your business’s environmental impact.
From the food you serve in your café to the pens you use in your office, there are sustainable alternatives for just about everything these days. Do some research and look for ways to incorporate them into your business model – your wallet and the planet will thank you.
In addition to the materials you use, it’s also important to consider the sustainable practices of the companies you do business with. When possible, choose suppliers that have eco-friendly policies and procedures in place. This is a great way to support other businesses that are working to make a difference and help reduce your company’s carbon footprint in the process.
4. Implement A Recycling Program
One of the simplest and most effective ways to make your business eco-friendly is to start recycling.
Recycling programs can be easy to implement and don’t have to cost much – in many cases, your local recycling centre will even pick up materials from your office for free.
And, of course, the benefits of recycling are huge. Not only does it reduce the amount of waste going into landfills, but it also conserves valuable resources and can even be used to create new products.
If you’re not sure where to start, begin by identifying the materials that your business uses that produce the most waste. Once you know what you’re dealing with, you can research the best way to recycle those materials and get started on making your business a little bit greener.
As we’ve already covered, there are tons of ways businesses both big and small can make a valuable impact in the fight against climate change. By taking a purposeful and targeted approach to assessing and addressing the environmental habits of your company, you can become part of the solution to creating a healthier and more sustainable world for all.