Turn your business GREEN this year
How GREEN is the organisation you run or work in? Green businesses are the way forward, the way up and the way to get some serious karmic brownie points. The beginning of a new year provides the perfect opportunity to ask ourselves what negative (and positive effects) we are having on our local and global environment. It’s NEVER TOO LATE to become environmentally responsible and start actively implementing practices that nod to the continued existence of our bijou but perfectly formed planet.
Every business has a responsibility to protect our planet’s resources, and that includes the wellbeing of all its inhabitants too.
Is it time for you to revise your approach to sustainability and become more environmentally angelic? If so, here’s a starter for ten. Have a look through and see how inspired you feel to make change. In the words of Kermit himself, turning green is an ongoing commitment to excellence. You’re worth it.
- ANALYSE YOURSELF
Inevitably, the first step to becoming an environmental superstar involves understanding your current carbon and ecological footprint. Be honest!
- Your carbon footprint. Just as you can calculate your personal carbon footprint on the carbon calculator, you can also see just what effect your business is having on the environment.
- Your ecological footprint. Carry out an analysis with the Global Footprint Network.
- CUT DOWN ON WASTE
Again, start by actively observing what your business uses and wastes. Think energy usage as well as the supplies and materials you use. Importantly, make these observations available to everyone in the business, after all, you’re all in this together.
Provide help with reducing waste such as paper. The typical office disposes of obscene amounts of waste paper. Encourage switching from paper to digital or reusable procedures. Switch printers to double sided printing and use recycled PCW paper.
Keep your team in the know about what’s being consumed on a monthly basis, and consider trying to hit regular targets and be better with every month that passes.
- USE IT AGAIN (AND AGAIN)
Encourage your team to reduce waste by choosing reusable products instead of disposables. Provide reusable water bottles instead of disposable bottles or plastic cups.
Set the precedent by buying products with minimal packaging and offer incentives for buying green, whether that’s takeaway meals or recommending local, green retailers.
Make recycling easy. To make your business a greener place, put clearly labelled recycling bins next to ordinary bins.
Add extra recycling bins in break rooms, cafeterias or by the printer to encourage everyone to recycle rather than throw away.
Put handy notes above recycling bins explaining what items should go in them and think of creative ways to inspire recycling.
- USE LESS
Good insulation can reduce a heating bill by 25% – and reducing the energy needed to heat or cool an office can make dramatic changes to your carbon dioxide emissions. It’s a no-brainer.
Make sure that the appliances and machinery in the office are up to date and working properly in order to save energy. When buying new appliances, look for Energy Star labels that will help you gauge usage.
- RENEWABLE ENERGY
With so many businesses making public commitments about carbon reduction, renewable energy solutions are becoming increasingly accessible.
How about joining the renewable energy initiative and investing in a smarter and kinder alternative? You may even be able to benefit from a community shared solar energy project. Check out www.energysavingtrust.org.uk
- YOUR TRAVEL FOOTPRINT
Airline flights are one of the biggest causes of carbon emissions in the world. How can you implement more efficient travel into your company’s environmental ethics?
Less driving means fewer emissions and less money on fuel. Walking and biking are great ways to exercise. Explore how to encourage exercise, use of public transport or car-sharing. Encourage employees to buy green when they need a new car or other means of transport. Could you offer a green incentive?
- SOURCE GREEN
Green businesses will source their materials from likeminded suppliers and make use of natural products whenever possible. In addition to using this, they will also source locally whenever possible – even if cheaper materials are available elsewhere. Is that you?
- GET PLANTING
Encourage the planting and nurturing of plants. During photosynthesis, trees and other plants absorb carbon dioxide and give off oxygen. They are an integral part of the natural atmospheric exchange cycle here on Earth, but there are too few of them to fully counter the increases in carbon dioxide caused by traffic, manufacturing and other human activities.
A single tree will absorb approximately one ton of carbon dioxide, go on, plant it!
- SHARE THE GREEN MESSAGE
Share information about recycling and energy conservation with your friends, neighbours and co-workers, and take opportunities to encourage public officials to establish programs and policies that are good for the environment.
Consider creating a green team at work, encourage them to meet regularly to track progress, brainstorm ideas, discuss activities and rally support.
These 10 steps aren’t exhaustive, but will take you a long way towards reducing your energy use – and monthly costs too. Spend the money you save on incentives and the wellbeing and happiness of your team. Bask in the knowledge that you have a lowered dependence on the fossil fuels that create greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming. Well done you.