In 2020, the world was estimated to emit around 50 billion tonnes of greenhouse gases each year, with businesses contributing the lion’s share. These disturbing statistics prove how important it is for businesses to take responsibility for their impact on this planet and take more steps to be environmentally responsible.
Fortunately, many companies have already started this journey, with many big brands already carbon neutral and others committing to change for the better.
So if you’re a business owner of any size and want to do your part to protect our planet, we can help. In this guide, we’ll look at five ways to make your business greener this year.
1. Save energy where possible
The amount of energy you use depends on the type of business you run. However, there are plenty of ways to save energy no matter what you’re doing. To avoid wasting energy, here are some simple solutions:
- By enabling power saving modes on all your devices, they will thus put the device into low power mode after a period of inactivity.
- Encourage everyone to turn off their technology and devices at night
- Maximize natural light, so you don’t need to have as many lights on in the workplace
- For areas without a lot of natural light or those that aren’t used very often, consider motion sensor lights
- Turn off all the lights at night
- Let fresh air in with windows open rather than relying on air conditioning all the time
It may seem like small steps, but together they can help save a huge amount of energy – and money – and instantly make your business greener.
2. Choose greener partners and suppliers
A relatively simple way to improve your company’s carbon footprint is to think carefully about the partners and suppliers you work with. By choosing energy suppliers, manufacturers, couriers, etc., that take active steps to reduce their carbon footprint, you can automatically reduce yours.
And there are many brands that pride themselves on using energy from sustainable and renewable sources, reducing unnecessary travel, and choosing sustainable manufacturing processes.
So whenever you consider signing up with a new supplier or third party, take a look at their environmental practices and ask them what they are doing to be more sustainable. This way you can choose to work with those who share your values and are also committed to being greener.
3. Make business travel greener
When it comes to business travel, there are plenty of ways to plan and make your trip as smooth and efficient as possible. For example, pack light, set up detailed itineraries, and send luggage ahead of time.
However, many companies forget that frequent travel, even for work, can have a negative impact on the planet.
So if your business depends on a lot of travel and business travel, it’s a good idea to make your travel processes as green as possible. The good news is that there are many ways to do this, including:
- Choose the most ecological means of transport for your destination. For example, taking the train instead of the plane or using carpooling
- Not printing out your travel documents and having them on your phone or device instead
- Be reasonable in hotels by taking your own towel, not using theirs, and having it washed daily
- Avoiding single-use plastics, such as not buying multiple water bottles throughout your trip/weekend. Take a reusable bottle with you
- Shop and eat locally when you’re away
You should also only travel for business when absolutely necessary. This means attending events or meeting someone in person. If, however, you can talk with international customers or employees via video conference, it could save a lot of time, money and it’s better for the planet.
4. Go paperless
In 2022, it is no longer really necessary to print hundreds of pages every day as before. After all, most tax returns can now be done online, and businesses can use techniques such as e-invoices, app notifications and internet banking for many functions that were previously heavily paper-dependent.
So where possible you should encourage the workforce to avoid printing things. Instead, encourage them to send emails and PDFs or use other tools that help reduce paper. And, if they really need to print out something to use during the workday, you should consider having a scrap paper bin available for them.
5. Recycling and use
Finally, and again, your ability to do this will depend on the business, but recycling and reusing materials and products as much as possible can be a hugely important way to become greener. However, it’s a good idea to think about what your teams can do to reduce their impact on the planet. Here are some examples :
- Add recycling bins around the office or workplace rather than just offering general waste
- Recycle or reuse packaging whenever possible
- Encourage employees to use reusable lunch boxes, coffee mugs and water bottles
- Store reusable products in a retail environment that encourages others to be kinder to the environment
- Borrow or rent items such as tools and equipment instead of buying
- Buy computers and devices that can be easily upgraded rather than replaced
- Do what you can to reduce waste and always comply with waste regulations
- Ensure materials are recycled or disposed of accordingly, for example by putting them in specialist bins for ink cartridges, batteries, cables, scrap metal, etc.
- Whether in catering, events or just in the office, reduce food waste by buying only what you need, rather than over-ordering
It’s important to instill a ‘reduce, reuse or recycle’ culture within your company, encouraging employees to do their part as much as possible. By giving your teams access to the bins, contacts or products they need to be more eco-responsible, you make their job much easier.