Going green has in the past decade become almost like the new 'must-have' accessory for businesses; neglect to take action at your peril, as it can cost you vital public esteem and positive branding. But is it something that should really concern you for your business?
In truth, that's for you to decide. But the increasing urgency of protecting our planet is undeniable, and as we all live here, we should all be carrying our weight. Businesses contribute to mankind's carbon footprint in innumerable ways, and cutting back wherever you can could end up making a huge difference - particularly as it would encourage your competitors and the companies you work with to follow in your footsteps, and could lead to positive actions being taken in all sorts of areas!
Even if the environment isn't an issue you're passionate about, going greener can be purely practically and selfishly motivated. As mentioned, it can do a lot for your brand and mean people choose your company over your competitors', or see it as an added bonus of giving you their business. Another financial benefit is the fact that using up less carbon can mean slashing your bills massively, saving you money that can be put to much better use.
So, if you've decided that working to shrink your carbon footprint is worthwhile, what steps can you take? Here, we outline 5 simple things you can do to start on the path of going green.
1) Switch Stuff Off!
It's so perfectly simple. Think how many tools and gadgets and devices your business uses every day. Just making sure these are turned off when not in use could drastically reduce the amount of energy you consume. Make sure you remind people to turn everything off at the end of the day, and try and do a check yourself before you leave.
Remember it's not just the things you use for carrying out your business, all the appliances used in day to day office life; the kettle, the microwave, lights, all of these need to be completely off at the end of each day. Turning things off doesn't just mean hitting standby. You need to unplug things at the wall, or energy is still being used up! There's no need to have your kettle plugged in over night, and it's such an easy thing to do that if it will make a difference, there's no reason not to.
You should also try and make use of power-save modes on anything that has it. Monitors and computers should go to sleep when they've been left inactive for a certain period of time, brightnesses should be adjusted to the genuine necessities of your employees, and so on.
2) Protect Your Paper
Saving paper is a very tired piece of advice which has been hammered into us for years and years. But this is only because it's a truly useful action which is becoming increasingly easy to take as more and more is digitised.
An extremely telling statistic is that paper accounts for a whopping 35% of our waste stream, despite it being arguably the material that is most easily and most widely recycled. Clearly, protecting the planet is not being taken as seriously as it should be, and we are inexplicably lazy when it comes to doing our part to help.
Making use of emails, websites, digital filing, digital signatures and so on is a great way to cut down your paper usage massively. Make sure you keep everything safe by backing up all important documents and keeping copies on a separate drive. There's no need to have a hard copy of everything!
Use recycled paper whenever you can, and don't forget to print double-sided! Our trees are important for so many reasons, and they are literally absorbing the poisons that are destroying our planet. So do what you can to protect these marvels!
If things do need printing, make it easier to recycle them when they are no longer needed. If you have more recycling bins than normal bins, and placed in more convenient locations for your employees as they work, the amount of recycling your office does will undoubtedly multiply. Keep labelled bins for the different recyclable materials located in appropriate and convenient places around the office.
But it's not just cans, paper, and bottles you should be thinking about: e-waste is a big problem, being as it is so toxic for our environment and ever increasing in quantity. Make sure any company-owned electronic equipment is recycled, and encourage employees to recycle their own personal devices too.
4) Change Your Travel Habits
Try to minimise the amount of travelling you and your employees have to do. Consider holding a conference call instead of a meeting, for example. Not only will you potentially save on renting out a meeting area, keeping it warm, providing refreshments and so on, as well as making sure there are employees around to greet attendees, but you will also cut out the need for people to travel to the meeting. That way, a great deal of carbon emission will be saved, and people will find the meeting itself more comfortable and convenient.
You can even encourage people to work from home, whether only for a few days a week, or full-time. Working from home is growing in popularity thanks to technological advancements from conference calling to Dropbox and the countless other apps for working from home. The amount of pollution saved from cutting out commutes would grow to be monumental in just a few months!
There are many initiatives for greener travel as well. One of the most well known is the UK governments Cycle to Work scheme. This offers substantial discounts on bicycles in order to encourage more people to use pedal power to get to work. Not only does this help reduce pollution, it also has the benefit of being a great source of exercise.
5) Carbon Offsetting
This is a practice which has recently become extremely popular with individuals as well as businesses. It may be controversial, but carbon offsetting for businesses holds a great deal of potential to do huge amounts of good across the world, not only in terms of reducing our carbon footprint but also in humanitarian projects used to do it.
The way it works is simple: on the offsetting site, you calculate the amount of carbon emissions your company is responsible for, and then pay for the same amount of emissions to be saved somehow, via schemes that offsetting companies carry out. That way, you can achieve what is known as carbon-neutrality and prevent your company from doing more and more damage to the planet.
Helping multiple people communicate over distance is key to running a greener company. With conference calling which is included in most mobile minute bundles, WHYPAY? offers a solution which doesn't cost the Earth, or your business either.
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