There’s no denying that we all have to take steps to cut down waste and reduce our burden on the environment. Even if you aren’t in an industry known for waste and pollution, there are ways your company will impact the wider world that you may never have thought about.
From the way your staff get to the office to the way you store your company files, there are so many different ways you can think about sustainability in your business. It’s no longer enough to follow the trends, you need to be setting the trends in order to make an impact.
If you’re thinking about how you can increase sustainability in your business, we have a few tips to help get you started. Here are five steps to take when you want to reduce your environmental impact.
Don’t wander into this blindly – always start with a plan. Assemble your team of eco-friendly workers and start brainstorming ways you can make your workplace more sustainable. Do your research and look for unexpected ways you might be impacting the planet.
For example, could you eliminate single-use plastics from your office? Or are there steps you could take to tackle your digital carbon footprint? There are so many ways we can make office life more sustainable, and many of them don’t require a huge amount of investment or drastic changes to the way we work.
For example, something as simple as switching to LED lights and linking lights to motion detectors can help to reduce the amount of energy you use in your office. And by involving the people that will be impacted by your policies, you can increase the chances that the changes will be welcomed.
Perhaps the simplest way to reduce your carbon footprint and make your business more sustainable is to allow and encourage flexible working. Flexible working will help to reduce your overhead costs by keeping energy consumption in your office down. It will also help your employees to skip the commute and could help to keep cars off the road.
The Covid-19 pandemic made it clear that many businesses are more than capable of adapting to change and enabling flexible working. Now is the time to make those changes permanent and make it easier for your staff to enjoy a more sustainable lifestyle. You may need to invest in home office equipment to make it possible for your staff to do their work from home.
While you are reviewing if it is necessary for staff to come into the office, you should also look at business travel by your employees. Ask yourself if the trips are really necessary, or if a video conference call would suffice. Employees might welcome a reduction in business travel as it means they get to spend more time at home. Events like conferences are increasingly offering an online attendance option, so you don’t have to miss out entirely.
As part of your sustainability plans, you could include criteria for travel to make it easier to decide. And when you decide a trip is required, think about how you travel and what steps you can take to make this as green as possible. For example, travelling by train would be better than travelling by car.
Your journey to become more sustainable could offer some much-needed inspiration to other businesses around you. Make sure you share your progress and developments in a meaningful way. Remember that individuals are clued up on what makes something sustainable, so you can’t throw around buzzwords and expect to be praised.
Be specific in your approach and make sure you back up any claims with data. And remember that it’s also perfectly fine to not have all of the answers. Provided you are open to learning new information and adjusting your path accordingly, you can still build a sustainable business. Being open and transparent about your journey to sustainability could help other businesses to follow suit.
These changes should all be long-term changes to the way you operate, not a temporary adjustment. Think long-term when you make these changes and ensure there isn’t an easy way to slip back into old habits. This could mean updating your company mission statement or including the information on your website for added accountability.
Once you start to think more sustainably, you’ll find new ways to reduce your carbon footprint and have a smaller impact on the world. Something as simple as removing printing facilities from your office and going paperless could make a huge impact.
And these changes aren’t only great for the environment, they’re also great for your profit margins. Many sustainability practices can save you money in the long term, so it makes good business sense to implement these changes.