Running a green business means implementing many small changes. Few businesses instantly begin on an environmentally-friendly pathway, and most proceed to do so in stages. Naturally, being environmentally-friendly can encompass many ideas and concepts, largely dependent on the exact nature of the business in question, so there is no ‘catch-all tick-list’ that you need to check off. There is an awful lot of common ground though, so here are a few individual concerns that tend to crop up:
One of the most basic of steps, and still one of the most neglected, is reducing paper usage. This is probably one of the biggest environmental issues facing offices, but that doesn’t mean it can’t become a factor for other businesses too; such as self-employed people carrying out accounts. You can reduce waste paper by encouraging email communication over printed alternatives, using double sided printing, utilising paper with recycled content, or even running a paperless office that takes advantage of a cloud-based system, such as JustCloud, for organisation. Of course, paper is only one sort of potential waste, and each business will have something relevant. Recently, waterproofing company Nikwax have won an environmental award for leading the way when it comes to reducing chemical usage and waste, so there are many ways that waste can be cut from your business. Whatever you elect to do, it all helps.
Transport and Haulage
If your business dealings involve the use of vehicles –whether that’s a few company cars or a large transport fleet – then this can be an environmental problem waiting to happen. Actually, an environmental problem in this area will probably also be an efficiency problem, so putting it right is in your own best interests. Common solutions to mainstay issues include better and more economic driving techniques, keeping your vehicles regularly maintained, and using fuel-management companies like Fueltek to make your fuel go as far as possible. Improperly used vehicles can cost your purse and the environment an awful lot, so keep on top of what you can.
Power and Energy Usage
Nearly everything your business needs to buy will necessitate the use of energy, so simply hunting down sustainable purchases is a great way to reduce your impact on the environment. Likewise, the simple expedient of good eco-friendly insulation would mean that you’d need to use your heaters far less; a notable and environmentally-friendly contribution. Going even further, you might be able to fit things like solar panels from EvoEnergy into your business model; the list of things you can do is truly endless. To give a real life example, Yorkshire-based firm Airedale Springs have recently won an award for reducing lighting energy costs by three-quarters, and also utilising solar power to slash energy usage, so this is a prime indicator of the sort of steps that are being taken. Sometimes, the solution to balancing energy usage and environmental issues can be unclear, so don’t be afraid to consult an analyst like Verdantix to help you make the right decision. Remember, every step, however small, is an important one nonetheless.
Show us a business that doesn’t use an appliance of some description and we’ll be very surprised. Many businesses also waste a lot of energy through such devices as well, and the fact is that it really doesn’t take a substantial reformation to yield huge results from an environmental perspective. An office could turn off computers at the end of the day to reduce its energy wastage by as much as 50%, and any establishment can reduce water consumption by using toilet dams or turning off dripping taps. Whilst we can’t refer to furniture as an ‘appliance’, we could also advise refurbishment rather than the instant replacement of old, but perfectly serviceable, products; it’s all the same principle, and it’s all worthwhile.
Most businesses like the idea of environmentally-friendly practises in theory, and you really don’t have to do all that much to make a noteworthy impact. Anything you elect to do is a plus, and the side-effect of being eco-friendly is normally an increase in the perceived integrity of your business, which can’t hurt! Coupled with the fact that many eco-friendly steps are also energy efficient –thereby saving you money – you really shouldn’t need any further incentive to start prioritising the environment within your business dealings.