Running a business is stressful and hard at the best of times. Throw in words such as sustainability, ethical, and environmentally friendly, and it’s easy to feel overwhelmed, pretty quickly.
But going green isn’t only better for the environment. It could actually benefit your business by saving you money. Not only that but with more and more consumers looking to purchase from ethical brands, creating a sustainable and environmentally friendly business model could set you apart from your competition. It doesn’t have to be hard, either!
Here are some simple ways that you can easily reduce the carbon footprint of your business:
#1 Offer the option of flexible remote work
Now this one obviously depends on the type of business that you are running and won’t work for all, but if your employees can work from home then this is an area that should be taken into consideration.
Allowing your staff to have remote access once a week, or even just up to two times a month, not only benefits and makes them happier employees, but is also good from an environmental standpoint.
Working remotely means that less energy is being used in the workspace or office from appliances such as computers and laptops, but also lights, water, paper, kettles, etc. This saves you some money as a business, cuts down on your energy bills, and makes a small contribution to a slightly greener society.
Remote working also promotes cleaner air and cuts down on pollution as your employees won’t be using public transport or sitting in traffic driving to work every day.
#2 Go Paperless
While an obvious one, going paperless is probably one of the easiest and most impactful ways of making your business more sustainable. Paper is a massive waste of valuable environmental resources, trees, and storage space in your office.
In today’s digitized age, rely on emails and cloud software and applications for all of your correspondences and documents instead, and only print when it is absolutely necessary.
Not only will you be saving more trees but you’ll also save some money on all those reams of expensive paper.
#3 Use sustainable materials –
True sustainability covers the entire process of your product. This applies both to in-office materials and those used to create your products, as well as the packaging. Look into greener options and you will find that there are now eco-friendly alternatives for everything.
If you can’t go completely paperless, then you could try to buy recycled paper that requires fewer trees to be cut down and will be recyclable once again after using it.
Choose eco-friendly packaging when it comes to posting and sending products to customers and invest in plastic-free packing instead. You could also look into other alternatives made from natural ingredients, upcycled fabrics, and use reusable containers depending on what you are delivering.
Last but not least, check to see which office supplies could be replaced for more environmentally friendly options such as paper clips made from recycled metals, pencils made from responsibly sourced wood, and compostable notebooks from recycled paper.
Alternatively, if you can’t replace all of your office stationery, you can order from a brand that donates to environmental causes.
#4 Lower your energy use
When we are actually at work, we usually get so caught up and focused on what we are doing, that thinking about our daily energy use can naturally be completely forgotten about. There are some small things that you and your employees can do, though, every day that can ultimately make a significant impact.
Invest in some energy monitors to show you what appliances are using the most energy in your office. You can then come up with ways to reduce this, such as swapping to energy-efficient appliances and unplugging any electronic devices that aren’t currently being used.
Swap to energy-efficient light bulbs, and during the lighter months in spring and summer, turn them off altogether and make use of the natural light outside. Remember also to switch off all lights and electrical appliances at the end of the day.
While these changes may seem too small to make a difference, any decrease in energy usage will have a positive effect not only for the environment but also your business, saving you money due to lower energy bills.
#5 Green hosting
Did you know that the internet also consumes natural resources and places a strain on the environment? Internet activity has contributed to 2% of greenhouse gas emissions, and Greenpeace has been putting pressure on major internet companies to use renewable energy to power their centers instead.
Although individual internet usage doesn’t have a significant impact, you can make your business that extra little bit more eco-friendly by switching over to green web hosting to reduce your carbon footprint. You can also make the switch for your company’s website with the many affordable solutions currently available, such as GreenGeeks and iPage.
This leaves you free to worry about expanding your business with the peace of mind that you are helping to make the world a little greener.
#6 Encourage your staff
Probably one of the most important ways to make your business more sustainable and environmentally friendly is by encouraging and educating your staff while making them more accountable. Create enthusiasm for sharing ways and ideas on how to contribute to a greener society. Make fun and bright posters and dot them around the office space with reminders on how they can contribute.
Provide washable plates and cutlery instead of using disposables, and encourage your employees to bring lunches in reusable containers. You could even make a nice simple gesture and provide your employees with their own individual mugs, meaning that you can get rid of any one-use plastic or paper cups once and for all.
Remember that this shouldn’t be an extra burden for your team, so create a fun and open atmosphere when it comes to this topic and offer rewards and incentives, such as the ‘greenest team of the month,’ to boost their enthusiasm.
By setting an example, not only will you be contributing positively to the environment by making your business greener, but your employees are then likely to implement this into their own lives, which is even greater for our planet!
What are you doing to make your business greener?