Operating a business can be pretty complicated, even before considering the environmental impact of every decision. Sometimes it’s all too easy to think that eco concerns are someone else’s problem, especially if you’re keeping an eye on your balance sheets.
According to a House of Commons Library Briefing Paper (Business statistics, 06152, 12 Dec 2018) there were 5.7 million private sector businesses in the UK in 2018. Even if that figure were composed entirely of individuals running their own business, it’s enough to make a dent in the environment. The briefing paper, though, shows that around a quarter of those are actually employers, too. It’s a lot of people switching the lights on, driving to work, or always leaving a computer on standby.
Why make your business eco-friendly?
There are plenty of reasons why a business could and should go green. It might be from a sense of moral responsibility, or from industry requirements such as the proper disposal of certain items. What might not be obvious though, is that it’s not a bad way to save money.
There are lots of grants and schemes available to fund the purchase of equipment or the set up costs of systems which reduce environmental impact. You might even get relief or exemption from some taxes, depending on the nature of your business.
Be environmentally and business efficient
Electronic products have a carbon footprint like most things. But if your business requires printing reams of paper on a regular basis, the one-off financial and environmental costs of buying a tablet computer might be better.
This could also help staff completing paperwork on the move rather than waiting till they’re back at their desk; North Wales Police have recently introduced mobile computing to help officers stay up to date with paperwork. Cloud software (like Pandle!) can reduce paper usage, and keep you up to date wherever you go.
Where paper is required, use recycled for the day-to-day stuff. Find out how your confidential waste is disposed of too, it could make a big difference.
It’s green to clean
Choose cleaning products with natural, biodegradable ingredients. It will reduce everyone’s exposure to toxic chemicals, and kill off the bugs at the same time. There are eco-friendly alternatives to most products these days, even loo roll!
Sensors on lights mean that they can’t be left on accidentally, reducing the bill and the power usage. Encourage staff to switch everything off properly at the end of each shift, or set things up to power down after inactivity or on a timed schedule. Again, it reduces the power demand, brings the bill down, and will also improve the lifespan of your equipment surprisingly well.
Cycle-to-work or car share
Use public transport where possible, and see if more efficient models are available for company cars. The cycle-to-work scheme is a nice gesture for staff, and great for you too. Staff will be healthier, mood and productivity is boosted by exercise, and they won’t have to pay so much for travel costs if they’re powering the journey themselves. Offering staff incentives to car share could work, and might be pretty handy if parking is tricky.
Consider the long term
Shopping around will get you the best price, and the best environmentally conscious products. Buying cheaper options might seem appealing, but they can sometimes cost more money (and consume more resource) to run, so over a period of time they end up being more expensive.
Being energy efficient wherever possible almost always saves money over time, so swap out your light bulbs for starters.
Savings or schemes might be available for buying from certain energy sustainable suppliers. Green procurement reduces your carbon footprint, and promotes the future availability of resources – so the price shouldn’t rocket up one day.
Green web hosting is a thing, so find out where your provider hosts their servers, and even where your IT people are hosting all of your other data. Hosting green is usually the same price, or cheaper, as regular host companies.
Start your business eco-journey with cloud based software like Pandle to reduce printing costs, and improve efficiency.