It’s not easy being green, but it sure is important. People are being advised to reduce waste, save electricity and water, make sure their homes are heated efficiently… and the same goes for businesses. Consumers and clients like to know that their favorite businesses are doing everything right, too, so what can you do to make sure your business is as environmentally friendly as possible?
If you have an office:
- Reduce the number of electronic devices. You can give employees a desktop, a laptop and a tablet, to suit all occasions – or you can go for a combination device like Lenovo’s tablet-laptop combos. That means half as much to power and charge, and it reduces the use of the toxic and polluting compounds used in building electronic devices.
- Make sure you’ve got up to date, serviced equipment. Outdated equipment uses more energy – and not only does that impact your environment, but it impacts your operating costs. Efficiency is good for you in more than one way.
- Turn everything off overnight and over the weekend. An idle computer still uses some power, and leaving the lights on does too. Shut down the air conditioning or the heating, turn the computers off, and save some energy and the environment too. If you have an IT specialist who needs the computers on to do updates, get them to arrange a set day for it so you can turn things off when they’re not busy doing maintenance overnight.
- Make your office energy efficient. If you’ve got air conditioning, don’t open the windows – that just leaves the unit trying to air condition the whole world! But if it’s not too warm, maybe you should open the windows instead of using the air conditioning. You can cover windows in reflective film so they reflect heat, as well. In winter, make sure the level of heating is appropriate and that heat isn’t being wasted – insulation in the walls and double-glazing is important for this, as well as just making sure nobody leaves a window open for no good reason.
- Don’t have an automatic door. They’re always opening and closing for no reason! You should probably have an assist button for people with disabilities, but the door shouldn’t automatically open because a dog sprinted past or a leaf blew up to the camera. This will help keep heat in or keep things cool, too!
- Use recycled paper products and packaging. If you’re doing anything to do with shipping, printing, etc, you can look for recycled products. Sometimes there’s incentives for using them, and if it’s already been recycled once, it can probably be recycled again once it’s been used.
- Have a dedicated bin for recyclables. It’s easier to remember to recycle if you set aside a bin for paper, a bin for plastic bottles, etc. Sometimes you can even get an incentive from local companies or government for your recycling – check it out and see if there’s something on offer in your area.
- Recycle old devices. Look for local recycling programs especially, or call up local schools to see if they could use the equipment. Even when your devices are too old to be useful to you, they could be a godsend to a library or school or teaching course.
- Eco-friendly packaging. Look for stuff that degrades or can be recycled, instead of using things that will hang around in landfills for years on end.
- Look into bicycle couriers. Whether you subsidize employees with bikes or just use a delivery company like the UK’s Deliveroo, avoiding gas guzzling delivery vans and even motorbikes is a saving.
- Electric cars and hybrids. If you really need a fleet, look into one of the environmentally friendly options like a hybrid or an electric car.
- Don’t print your emails automatically. Sometimes you will need to print an email so you can show it to someone or refer to it outside the office, but if you don’t need to print, don’t! And if you have a tablet, remember you can just display the email on that.
- Add a signature to your emails asking people not to print them. Sometimes, people need the reminder, especially older people who just aren’t used to handling everything online – and even better, this is a way other people will see you being environmentally conscious.
- Go paperless! Paperless billing, paperless memos (that’s what email is for!), paperless record keeping. It’s easier to organize anyway, and it won’t take up any space. It’s a saving in more than one way.
- Go local. Don’t order things from other countries – find a local company! It might be a little more expensive, but you can probably work out a deal, and shipping can be a big pollutant. This is an excellent way to reduce your carbon footprint.
- Educate employees. Let your employees know what they can do – or even better, make a company policy of environmental friendliness that they need to stick to.
A nice touch:
- Have plants in the office, or planted outside. It doesn’t make a huge difference to the world in the grand scheme of things, but studies show that even a little nature can help people’s mood and thought processes. They can freshen up the office – and it doesn’t hurt to have a little more greenery.
- Donate to or fundraise for local environmental/sustainability charities. This shows you’re engaged with your local community, gives you a chance to support environmentally friendly practices in the area, and can help get employees or clients engaged in environmental friendliness too!
It’s important to remember that you don’t need to do anything dramatic to start making a difference. Just ensuring you get supplies from companies that recycle or otherwise have sustainable practices is a start. Likewise, asking your landlord to put some extra insulation in the walls can be a big help – both to the environment and to your power bills.