“The environmental crisis is a global problem, and only global action will resolve it” – Barry Commoner
Environmental sustainability is all about managing and taking actions on matters which have a lasting impact on the environment. Companies of all sizes and sectors should be fully aware of the impact their business is having and what can be done to be more sustainable. Implementing an eco-friendly strategy is an important part of business and can help companies assess how viable their green practices are.
Awareness of your impact on the environment makes good business sense. Not only are consumers more likely to buy products and services from companies that are eco-friendly, but businesses themselves also stand to save money and boost morale by going green. It is relatively simple and economical to ensure your business is operating in a sustainable manner; here are a few simple ways that businesses of all sizes can do their part to help the environment:
1. Turn everything off at the end of the day
This is probably the most obvious and easily attainable tip. We assume you are already shutting down your computers (if not, then you should!), but what about the printers? There are many electrical appliances in the workplace, some you might not even think of, such as the radio or coffee machine; turning these off at the end of the day can save energy and money.
2. Let there be light
Did you know that 30% of a business’ utility spend is lighting? Good lighting is essential to workplace productivity, but the type of lighting you have can make a huge difference to your carbon emissions and expenditure. If you are lucky enough to have access to natural daylight, make use of this and you won’t need to waste unnecessary energy on extra lighting. If you do need extra lighting, invest in LED lights which last longer, have no toxic elements and are energy efficient. Read more about LED lighting in the workplace here.
3. Think before you print
Hands up if you are guilty of unnecessarily printing a document you could have easily read on your screen? If this is the case, stop and think; not only will you be saving energy, you are also saving paper and ink. You should also consider using refillable ink cartridges or implementing a Managed Print Service – two strategies which have a less damaging effect on the environment and expenditure. Learn more about sustainable printing here.
4. Get a desk plant
We all know office plants add a bit personality to the workplace and literally make the place look greener but, did you know, they also have environmentally friendly benefits such as helping to purify the air within office. Further to this, plants also help to improve productivity; all offices should have them!
Hopefully your office should already have recycling bins in place to separate paper from general waste but, if not, you should certainly suggest them. Offices go through a lot of paper and recycling it can make an enormous difference. It doesn’t just stop at paper; did you know around 70% of office waste is recyclable? Consider plastics, empty ink cartridges and electronics etc. Find out how OfficeTeam can help with your recycling here.
6. Think about your mode of transport
If you live near a colleague, or pass their house on your route to work, consider car sharing. How about public transport? Why not catch the train or the bus to work? This will help the environment massively and help to decrease pollution. If you’re lucky enough to live close to your workplace, you could even consider cycling to work – your journey would emit zero pollution and you’d get much healthier while you’re at it! You could also actively promote cycling by suggesting a Cycle to Work scheme.
7. Use environmentally friendly products
In addition to recycling materials in the office, you could use eco-friendly products wherever possible. For example notepads, recycled printer paper and pens. Not only will this help our planet, but it will set a fantastic example throughout the office.
8. Consider a casual dress code
In the summer months, wearing a suit can be uncomfortable and hot, requiring the use of air-con or fans which use up energy. By introducing a casual dress code, employees can dress more appropriately for the hotter climate.
9. Use green cleaning products
You may not be in charge of cleaning your office, but using green cleaning products is certainly worth your attention. Green cleaning eliminates the use of toxic ingredients – leading to a safer and more eco-friendly office and environment.
Exactly what it says on the tin; just re-use any items that you can. Can you use the other side of the paper you have just thrown in the bin to write down your notes? Do you really need to drink water from disposable cups? Can you keep the packaging of the parcel you have just received and re-use it to send something yourself?