In recent years, there has been an increasing focus on making businesses more environmentally sustainable. Worldwide, governments are implementing regulations aimed at making businesses greener as they are the largest consumers of electricity and the biggest producers of waste. Consumers want to see companies doing their bit for the environment too. According to a recent survey by Futerra, 88% of respondents want businesses to help them make a difference and to become more environmentally friendly.
If increasing regulations and consumer demand aren’t enough to persuade you to green your business, there’s also research that shows employees at companies with sustainable practices are 16 per cent more productive. Improving the sustainability of a business can take considerable time, money and effort. However, there are some simple steps you can take to make your business greener in 2020.
1.Encourage Remote Working
Remote working has obvious benefits for the environment. Employees working from home do not need to get in their cars and make the daily commute, reducing gas emissions and decreasing consumption of fossil fuels. Companies that operate without a physical office also consume less electricity, water and other resources such as stationery.
A virtual office is quick, easy and cost-effective to set up. It’s a collection of services, which may include a business phone system, a postal address and perhaps a virtual assistant. Allowing staff to work from home is a simple and highly effective way to boost employee morale and make your business greener.
2.Partner with Green Businesses
Few businesses operate in isolation. They require a solid network of partners, suppliers and contractors to achieve business goals and success. An easy way to make your business more eco-friendly is to choose your partners with care. Look for companies that are committed to sustainable working practices. Does your courier service use energy-efficient vehicles? Is the printer paper you use recyclable?
Sustainable working practices require little effort and yet they can have a big impact on your company’s carbon footprint. Ask existing partners what their sustainability policy is. If they don’t have one or it is unsatisfactory, switch suppliers.
3.Switch to Environmentally Friendly Office Supplies
If your business has a physical office, conduct an audit of the resources used regularly. Are they eco-friendly and ethical? Making small changes can collectively make a big difference.
Switch old light bulbs for LED versions that use less energy and do not contain toxic gases. Ditch plastic bottles and install a water filtration system instead. Replace toxic cleaning products with supplies from green brands. Make sure your employees are aware of the company’s stance on environmentally-friendly working and encourage them to play their part.
4.Implement a Recycling System
Provide recycling bins throughout your business premises and make sure there is no excuse for employees to throw away recyclable materials. Circulate emails and put up posters about the new system to make sure everybody is on board.
In addition to recycling materials used in the office, purchase recycled supplies where possible. Many companies sell recycled printer paper and ink cartridges. In fact, anything from the chairs your staff sit on to the cutlery they eat their lunch with can be recycled!
Raise Awareness and Funds
A business owner cannot make their business green simply by wishing it so and writing a few policies. Improving the sustainability of a company requires cultural change as well as new systems, processes and working practices.
Involve as many employees as possible in drawing up an environmental sustainability policy and creating new ways of working. Make sure information is circulated to everyone in the company to ensure expectations are clear.
Fundraising events are a great way to raise awareness and funds for the cause. They will also enhance the brand’s reputation, encourage team working and boost staff morale.
You can’t make your business green overnight, but many simple changes could make a real difference. Start with an audit of the company’s current green status and identify four or five actions you can implement quickly and easily. Then plan progressive steps that can be taken in the long-term to continually improve sustainability. Make 2020 the year your business gets greener by the day.