Archive for the ‘Environmental Awareness’ Category

Addressing Environmental Concerns for Businesses

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:

Reducing Waste

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.

Waste Paper

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.

Fuel Pump

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.

Solar Panels

Appliance Efficiency

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.

Turn off COmputers

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.

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How to Make Your Marketing Greener

With environmental concerns taking an ever higher priority with both businesses and consumers, it’s vital that companies ensure that every aspect of their business is green at heart. This must include marketing; not only using your marketing campaigns to convey your eco-credentials to the customer, but also ensuring that your marketing campaigns are not themselves damaging to the environment.

green business

For many businesses, one of the areas which creates a significant environmental impact is attendance at trade shows, conferences and exhibitions. When you start to examine them, the environmental costs quickly stack up; travel to the event, the construction of the exhibition stand or booth itself (which is too often created for a single use), stacks of leaflets and brochures and giveaway items that may well be destined for the nearest bin… However, there are solutions and ways to reduce your impact on all these fronts.

It’s easy to reduce the carbon footprint of your travel simply by using public transport instead of private cars, or by car-sharing. You can compare the difference and find the most eco-friendly option using the carbon emissions calculator at TransportDirect.info.

When it comes to the construction of an exhibition stand, you can also seek out eco-friendly options by comparing different providers. Skyline Whitespace exhibition stands, for example, are designed to reduce environmental impact through a lighter construction (using up to a third less materials than a comparable alternative) and by providing plenty of options for re-use and recycling.

Modern technology provides great alternatives to the traditional leaflets and brochures; these days, almost everybody has a smartphone, so you can leverage the abilities of these devices to replace traditional print. A simple QR code on your display can lead the user to a digital version of your leaflet, brochure or catalogue, which they can access at their leisure without the need for print or paper wastage.

Finally, the simple solution to avoid filling your clients’ pockets with giveaway items that are destined for landfill is purely common sense: choose something that they will actually want to keep and use. A high quality item that will be retained is not only better for the planet, but better for business too, as they’ll be reminded of your company for longer. You can take this one step further by choosing eco-friendly promotional gifts – thus also handily illustrating your company’s solid environmental ethics.

Whilst we have focussed here on only one marketing activity, the process is one that can be related to any activity in your industry; identify the aspects which may cause an environmental impact, and seek an alternative to reduce that impact for each aspect. Just as small impacts add up, so do small changes – and by using this process for every activity in your business, you can make not only your marketing but every aspect of your business greener.

 

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Re-Using is Key to Eco Renovation

Humans all over the world are waking up to the fact that, as a species, we live in an unsustainable manner. The vast dependence on finite resources, the throw-away culture; none of it can be sustained permanently, and a breaking point is sure to come at some point in the not-so-far off future. Now this is no harbinger of the end of the world, but simply the world as we know it. Humans are incredibly resourceful, and many are already working on ways to rid us of our dependence on fossil fuels.

land fillOne factor that remains though is the throw away culture in which an item is disposed of, not because it is broken, but simply because it is not needed right now. One way in which we can all individually combat this is to re-use and re-purpose those things that would otherwise be thrown away. Furniture is one of the most expensive items that we buy, and yet many still see them as disposable items and regularly replace them. There are several ways to repurpose your fittings and ensure that less of it finds its way to a landfill.

A great way is to simply spruce it up; whether it’s a loose table leg or a tattered chair, it is a simple and rewarding undertaking to fix this furniture yourself. Simply tightening the fixings or replacing them is a cheap way to get them back to working condition. If it is the aesthetic of these items that is worse for wear, or they are simply no longer attractive, then why not re-finish or recover them? Purchasing a vibrant and fun replacement fabric from Sew Scrumptious can give those old fashioned chairs a new lease of life and make them a real design feature.

If you are looking to buy new furniture rather than replace it, then there are several suppliers out there that are committed to responsibly sourcing the materials they use. This approach creates some truly interesting pieces. For example, www.freerangedesigns.co.uk create beautiful pieces such as their storytelling chairs. With hugely attractive pieces being made from 100% reclaimed and repurposed materials, it helps you to know that you are doing your part to lessen waste.recycled table

For those that are not overly practical, the idea of rejuvenating their furnishings can be daunting; and indeed there are some jobs that are best left to the professionals. Repair specialists and French polishers will be able to breathe fresh life into your ageing and damaged items. Many will even help to customise your furnishings, and work with you to get something truly special from those items that have lost their appeal.

When you next come to renovate your home why not try to re-purpose old stuff and buy from responsible suppliers? This will ensure that you can rest easy in the knowledge that your home is that little bit more friendly to its surroundings.

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Environmentally Friendly Farming

In the UK farming takes up to 74% of land and has a massive impact on the environment each year. Britain’s beautiful farmland has shaped the landscape making it picturesque. Unfortunately, industrial agriculture on large scales has also caused a substantial amount of damage to the British countryside such as water pollution, soil erosion and, the habitats of wildlife. The cause of most of these problems has been the overuse of poisonous pesticides and incredibly intensive farming techniques. As a farmer it is important to be as environmentally friendly as possible, here are a couple of aspects to take into consideration. So how can you ensure an environmentally friendly farm?

Avoid Pesticides

Pesticides can cause a great amount of problems for wildlife that live naturally in the countryside. You can prevent this problem by ‘going organic’ and avoiding using artificial chemical fertilisers. Not only will this work to protect the environment, your produce will be of a much higher value. To legally become an ‘organic farmer’ you need to be certified by organic inspection and certification bodies. The Soil Association can provide you with all the information you need to know about how to become an organic farmer.

Keeping Live Stock

One of the largest problems for farmers is keeping their animals well fed throughout winter. Buying produce to feed livestock when plants and crops are not in abundance can be incredibly expensive and also cause a lot of refuse. Farmers can avoid this by using and creating their own silage; this is a natural product that is created in essence by pickling grass. RE Buildings are leading providers of agricultural buildings including both open and closed silage clamps.

Specialists such as BCW Agriculture, have seen a rise in farmers taking advantage of their services throughout Wales. Farm specialists can assist you if you want to maximise the potential of your farm with advice on crop production and animal health. Keep your animals in good health with dairy hygiene products.

Eco-friendly Equipment

Another way to ensure that your farm is eco friendly is by using certified, environmentally friendly farmland equipment such as the Grassland Aerators that require minimum horsepower from Ritchie Agricultural. Where possible you should always try to use eco friendly fuel, understandably as a farmer you need your machinery to be as efficient and cost effective as possible.

If you’re farming on a budget, you can always choose to purchase used farm machinery. This decreases the demand for new machines to be made, therefore saving energy, and it means that older or unwanted machines are re-used instead of being scrapped or left to degrade. Cornthwaite Agricultural source and supply used tractors and combine harvesters in good condition. If you have a used combine that you wish to get rid of, instead of scrapping it, Cornthwaite can purchase it off you and therefore the vehicle parts aren’t wasted or damage the environment during decomposition.

Going green is incredibly important to modern day farming; it not only keeps Britain’s picturesque aesthetic, it provides high quality produce that has a higher value – especially of you choose to go organic.

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The Future of the Green Economy in the UK

Green EconomyThe global food economy is one of the most complex systems in the world in spite of its primary importance to our existence. The green economy in the UK includes not only farming but forestry projects and natural redevelopment. British farmers are frequently struggling to obtain fair prices for the products.

As a result, UK farmers often wind up dependent on European subsidies but potentially this only compounds the problem by failing to deal with underlying causes. To create a sustainable green economy, we must look to several sectors at once. As is often the case, a hybrid approach may work more effectively than a drive towards a single response.

Modern Farming

From farming associations putting pressure on big supermarkets to trade fairs attempting to drum up fresh interest in farming, the UK industry has a vibrant and dynamic culture. For the latest in farming news and a welcome chance to meet other farmers and agricultural suppliers, the Great Yorkshire Show is a great place to go. In its 155th year, the festival covers everything from clothing to conservation, machinery to market stalls. For many farmers, this is a place only to browse as their methods do not necessitate new tractors or the latest in country fashion. Frugal farmers should look at the used tractors offered by Cornthwaite AG for the same performance with a recession-friendly price tag.

The Independent reports how organic farming in the UK fell to its lowest level in the last year as the financial crisis meant that consumers bought less organic crops and farmers set aside less hectares of land for organic produce. For those thinking in environmental terms, this is bad news as non-organic produce puts pollutants into our streams and rivers and degrades the soil. Nonetheless, many would argue that agriculture is still at the root of a green economy as this video shows: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=twGev010Zwc

The Other Pieces of the Puzzle

In an effort to protect the natural world for future generations, the EU earmarks subsidies for protecting wild spaces. The BBC reports how the Commission incentivises farmers who protect wildlife and aims to give them 30% of their subsidy for safeguarding pastureland. However, both in the UK and throughout Europe, groups have complained that such a one-size-fits-all approach is unworkable and unjust. Be that as it may, the implication is that our green economy is more multi-faceted than farming. The Forestry Commission has information about grants and funding opportunities for forest maintenance and expansion. Environmentalists often aim to create revenue through wildlife protection by using the spaces as educational centres. With several species of birds, insects and animals at risk through the destruction of habitat, the issue of preservation must be give some priority. This video by the UK’s beloved David Attenborough runs counter in many ways to the video above as both lobbies for the primacy of their given concern to the green economy: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIknTqWNy9Y

When it comes to environmental policy making, the difficulty always comes from assessing long and short term gains against one another. With the immediate concerns of ensuring global food security and supporting existing farmers, it can be difficult to make concessions towards the future-proofing of our landscape. The loss of a species from our ecosystem is keenly felt across the board but it is difficult for us to give as much importance to this as we do to the issue of food supply for our own species. Environmentalists in the UK tend to have as many different perspectives as we have species of birds, the challenge for policy-makers is to work out which ones to listen to most keenly.

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