If you’re not attempting to become a more eco-friendly business, you may be losing out.
Corporate responsibility now includes environmental responsibility, as more people look to companies and their impact on the planet. As enterprises and industries are among the biggest polluters — from the energy sector to transportation, agriculture and many more — ethically minded consumers want firms to reduce their environmental impact, so their carbon footprint is lower.
Collectively, we’re all using way too much fossil fuel. We discard countless tons of plastic into landfills, (where it takes centuries to degrade), while great clouds of toxic emissions are belched into the atmosphere by industrial processes. We also allow streams of chemical-laden effluent to enter our equally precious and imperilled rivers and lakes. Consumers, increasingly, want this to stop and the companies they buy from to go green — or at least several shades closer to that desired ecological hue.
Here are some ways every company can become a more eco-friendly business.
1. Conduct an Energy Audit
From leaving lights running all day to having the heating on when you don’t need it — and windows open when it’s on — there’s a lot of energy wastage at companies and organisations. And then there’s all the computers and other machines running during working hours, and often all night too.
Energy is costly to produce, and the environment pays a heavy price. So companies looking to reduce the amount they use — as well as their energy bills — can benefit from carrying out an energy audit to see where they can cut their usage.
As part of an energy audit, companies can introduce a policy whereby staff are instructed to try and lower their energy use — turn off lights and other facilities when not necessary. Companies can also explore ways to use green energy sources such as solar panels and wind turbines.
2. Scrap Paper
We may live in a digital world and economy, but there’s still a large amount of paper manufactured, bought and used — close to half a billion tons every year. Do we really need it all? Businesses use the bulk of paper production, for everything from invoices to contracts and a whole lot more, including staff notes and memos.
Consider doing everything electronically. Instead of sending out paper invoices, email them. Include a note explaining you’re doing so to reduce your environmental impact and get some extra kudos — plus, email is a lot faster and invoices are less likely to get “lost in the mail.” Taking simple yet highly effective, steps like this goes a long way towards protecting our invaluable trees, which are vital for soaking up excess carbon dioxide and giving us more clean oxygen.
3. Allow Remote and Flexible Working
Getting to and from the office every day is not just a headache and misery for many millions of commuters; it is also bad for the environment, with all those carbon emissions from cars, trains and buses. At a time when remote working is on the rise and necessary because of coronavirus lockdowns, permitting staff to work from home some or all of the time has a direct impact on the environment. Remote working instantly slashes the overall carbon footprint of both staff and the company. If employees have to attend the office, it may be possible to allow some flexibility, so that they can work from home some days of the week. And staff that need to drive to work can carpool.
4. Choose Eco-Friendly Suppliers
Just as your company is making strides to go greener, many others are too, and those that seemingly are not may lose out. Appraise the companies you deal with and look for signs that they are attempting to become more eco-friendly enterprises. They may have recycling and other symbols on their materials and website and they may be writing blogs about their efforts to be cleaner and greener. Their communications will also be a good clue — because if they’re still sending you lots of paper-based materials, including invoices, the chances are they’re a bit stuck in the past.
5. Use Your Own, Eco-Friendly Drinking Water
Finally, in our list of ways that companies can become greener, look at how your employees quench their thirst while at the office. Are they bringing in lots of plastic water bottles or drinking from a plastic-based watercooler? Why not consider getting water from air by using an atmospheric water generator and cut out all that plastic — as if by magic!