Nowadays many businesses decide to put sustainability first. This can be in response to a changing landscape in consumer priorities or out of a desire to ensure future generations inherit a planet with a stable climate and thriving wildlife.
Your business can become more environmentally friendly by considering:
- Carbon neutral
- Go paperless
Your business’ consumption of electricity plays a vital role in your environmental impact.
For your business to minimise its environmental impact, ensure that you are using as little energy as possible.
There are plenty of ways you can do this:
- Turning off standby equipment (at the plug).
- Turn lights off when you leave a room.
- Switch to energy-saving light bulbs.
- Insulate your office with double glazing (you can use less heating).
- Use appliances with good energy ratings (the best would be rated A+++ by the EU.
- Install a smart metre (it can tell you where you are using the most energy).
Where you get your energy could minimise your environmental impact further. You can switch to energy suppliers that only use renewables to produce electricity.
Alternatively, you can install your own sources of energy. For example, you can have solar panels fitted to the roof of your office. By having your own source of renewable energy, you cut out the carbon emissions of transporting energy in addition to producing it.
Using excessive water means that you could be creating the need for more energy and chemicals to pump and clean it. Many places in the world suffer water shortages that affect the habitats of animals and the availability of food. Being efficient with water is a great way to keep these effects to a minimum.
Some ways that your business can conserve more water are:
- Checking the toilets for leaks (put food colouring in the tank, if the bowl appears to colour without flushing, you have a leak).
- Check pipes and faucets for leaks regularly.
- Refrigerate water (instead of running the tap for drinking water).
- Wash up all together in the office kitchen sink (instead of washing up one thing at a time, wash it all at the end of the day to save on water).
The ways you can reduce your wastage depend on the nature of your business. If you sell products, your packaging could be the first thing to improve. Use as many recycled materials as possible for your packaging and avoid using excessive amounts of plastics. For example, if you run a coffee shop, offer reusable cups for customers to purchase, and refill them for a discounted price.
This wastage approach can also be extended to the manufacturing of your products or how you carry out your services. Constantly look for new ways to reduce your waste, reuse things whenever you can and always recycle what you can. Make sure that your business has the appropriate recycling bins, depending on your local council and make a point to sort them properly.
You can take the recycling initiatives further by accepting old products that you can recycle into new ones, for example. If you serve food, think about food waste by putting it into compost bins. They can plant vegetables, meaning you have a renewable source for more ingredients. Another example is if you run a local store, you could ask your customers to bring back glass milk bottles so you can reuse them.
Many businesses aim for carbon neutrality. Saying that your business is carbon neutral allows you to attract more customers with environmental priorities. Meaning you could have a competitive advantage over other companies.
It is likely more difficult for larger businesses to reach carbon neutrality as they often need to change different large-scale processes, so this could be advantageous for your smaller business. To become carbon neutral, firstly, you have to calculate your emissions. This is done by looking at every aspect of the company, then finding out the carbon footprint of each. You can do this by using this online calculator.
After finding out how much of a footprint your business has, you can start to put ways of offsetting your emissions. These are practices that take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere. You can use carbon capture technology, but it is expensive, especially for small businesses. Fortunately, there is one proven way for you to help take carbon out of the atmosphere: planting trees.
Trees naturally take carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and replace it with oxygen which is not a greenhouse gas. Suppose your business takes part in initiatives to plant trees in addition to cutting down on water and energy. In that case, you could be quickly on your way to becoming an environmentally friendly business.
Purchasing carbon offsets is another option for your business to go towards becoming carbon neutral. This involves your business paying for what is known as ‘carbon credits’, which means that you are funding projects that remove carbon to offset your own use. There are a variety of organisations that allow you to buy into these projects, some even help tackle global poverty at the same time like Southpole.
With trees playing a considerable part in tackling climate change, deforestation is also crucial. With this, many businesses decide to make their operations paperless. One easy way for you to do that is to use an app for sending invoices and taking care of all of your accounts.
As a result, you will no longer have to keep mountains of paper that contribute to more carbon converting trees.
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