This week Ethical Consumer launched the latest version of its flagship Ethical Consumer Markets Report, this year sponsored by Triodos Bank.
It was more good news for ethical markets with the value of all ethical spending in the UK growing to a robust £38 billion in 2015 up 8.5% from last year.
More ethical goods available
It was clear from the research that more companies, from small entrepreneurs to large multinationals, are bringing more ethical choices than ever before to modern consumer markets. These range from tiny, one person, operations making organic food products in their own kitchens, to Nissan’s latest range of electric cars.
This is the thirteenth consecutive year of growth for their Ethical Purchases section, reﬂecting the continued appeal of ethical markets in the UK.
This continued growth in ethical buying is also an encouraging trend at a point in time where global political developments, for those concerned about environmental and human rights issues, are not all that positive.
Key Trends from the report
1. Ethical Food bucking the trend. Strong sales of Organic and Freedom Food (RSPCA)-certified products helped Ethical Food & Drink sales grow by 5.3%, despite a 0.9% decline in the value of the overall UK food & drink market.
2. The Green Car revolution. The Green Car industry (which includes electric and hybrid cars, as well as cars that emit less than 100g of CO2 per km) continued to boom and is now worth £8.4 billion, owing to improvements to infrastructure and increased consumer awareness.
3. Local Shopping for ethical reasons grows significantly in 2015. Consumers increased ethical spending in their community by 11.7%.
The full Ethical Consumer Markets Report is available from their website.
As times change and we worry more about the environment, going green has become big business for industries of all sizes. From entrepreneurs that work from their homes to small businesses and major corporations, the desire to reduce our carbon footprint and appease our target audience is a top priority. Unfortunately, many business owners only scratch the surface of an eco-friendly workplace. Here are some green solutions you may not have considered for your business:
1. Choose an Energy Efficient Office Space
When shopping for a home, you check to ensure that the building is energy efficient. An inefficient residence would lead to a lot of energy being consumed and a ton of money wasted. The same is true for a commercial property. As you shop for the ideal location to start your business be sure to keep efficiency in mind. You want to find an eco-friendly property like steel buildings. Companies like Armstrong Steel facilitate eco-friendly design in steel manufacturing projects, which can be customised to meet the needs of your company without costing too much.
2. Consider Periodic Telecommuting
Whether you have a team of three employees or thirty, allowing them to work remotely on a regular basis can cut down on energy consumption and save your business money. There are tons of technologies out there you can invest in to make a remote workplace possible. VoIP phone services ensure that phone calls can be answered, email, cloud software and other applications make it easier for employees to interact and collaborate as if they were in the office.
Even if you need your staff to come in the office on occasion, allowing them to stay home even one or two days out of the week would be a few days out of the month that the office building is not consuming any energy thus reducing your carbon footprint.
3. B.Y.O.C. (Bring Your Own Cup)
Coffee and water supplies can really eat at a company’s bottom line. Not to mention the amount of waste that takes place on a daily basis. The average coffee drinker consumes about 2-3 cups of coffee at work per day. Multiply that by the number of employees you have in the office and you’re looking at hundreds of cups, and plastic utensils being thrown away each month. Having employees to bring their own mugs and water bottles to work can cut down on this waste.
4. Shut Down Daily
Do you know how much energy is wasted in an office on a daily basis simply due to devices that are turned off but plugged in? Leaving computers, printers, copiers, and other office equipment on sleep mode or turned off and plugged in can suck the energy like a vampire causing an increase in the energy bill and your carbon footprint. It is ideal to hook all of your devices up to a power strip so that you can turn them off completely and unplug them at the end of a day.
Going green definitely has its advantages for business owners. Not only does it show that the business cares about the environment and their customer’s well-being, but it also saves them money. If you’ve been looking for ways to green your business, you should really consider the above four options as each of them can provide substantial savings and significantly reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
It’s unfortunate that sustainability plays second fiddle in business. The need for businesses to turn over a profit shouldn’t be at the expense of the environment. Businesses need to do more to minimize their contribution to landfill and carbon emissions. Rather than try to implement everything themselves, businesses can leverage technology and the help of sustainability partners in order to make their business more eco-friendly. Here are 5 ways businesses can do more to help the environment.
Correctly disposing printer cartridges.
Over 30 million printer cartridges are sent to landfill every year. The cartridges are harmful to the environment because inks and plastics that are in the cartridges can contaminate the ecosystem, making any contaminated water undrinkable and any contaminated soil unable to grow any agriculture.
Additionally, used printer cartridges can take anywhere from 400 to 1000 years to degrade.
Businesses can help to close the loop by participating in schemes where the original printer manufacturers ethically recycle used printer cartridges. Suppliers like Cartridges Direct have partnered with Cartridges for Planet Ark to help businesses implement a system where they can mail their used printer cartridges to be recycled at no cost to the business. The business only needs to implement a process where their staff will ethically dispose and dispatch the used cartridge so that it is received by the right recycler.
Setting up a stationery recycling station
Businesses waste a lot of money on buying new stationery rather than recycling unused stationery. Set up a stationery station such as a cupboard where employees can place any unused stationery items like pens, pads, books or staplers for other employers to use. This should cut down the business’s stationery expenses and minimise the amount of unused stationery that gets disposed.
Setup recycling categories and partner with organisations that can recycle the items ethically
It’s important that your business encourages its employees to recycle ethically. Make things easier for them by creating disposal boxes that give them the option to recycle items easily. Place bins around the office that give employees the option to dispose:
- General rubbish
Educate people within the business why and how they should dispose their items responsibly.
Minimise the building’s reliance on artificial lighting
Artificial lighting accounts for approximately 15% of businesses overhead expenses. Most businesses that consume electricity are on an electricity grid that generates power by burning fossil fuels such as oil and coal, which causes carbon emissions. Businesses should seek ways to improve the amount of natural light that is used within their business. This can be accomplished by installing skylights, solar tubes, large windows, mirrors and reflective glass and metals.
Additionally, if the business still needs to use artificial lighting, installing energy-efficient lightbulbs can significantly reduce the amount of energy consumption that the business uses. LED lightbulbs can save a business up to 60% on their annual energy bill due to the minimal energy consumption from the bulb’s technology.
Encourage employees to donate their items
A lot of electronics and clothes end up in landfill. Businesses can setup a donation area so that employees can donate any used items from their home to charities such as St. Vincent De Paul. This way, the items are recycled and it lowers the amount of waste going to landfill.
Saving the environment is almost starting to sound like a cliché, but it is more important than ever for the sake of future generations. If the human race wants to preserve the natural resources that we have today and enjoy a healthy quality of life in the future, it’s essential that we implement the necessary sustainable practices.
Sports Direct have hardly been out of the headlines in recent weeks due to its treatment of warehouse staff. But is Sports Direct the only sportswear retailer with a poor workers' rights record?
Ethical Consumer help answer this question in their new guide to sports and outdoor shops.
The guide rates and ranks 13 retailers, looking at their usual range of issues from toxic chemicals and environmental reporting to workers' rights and supply chain management policies.
As you will see from the statistic on the image above it's not a rosy picture. However, they also reveal their Best Buy recommendations showing that some options are better than others.
We hope you find the guide useful and informative.
These days, it's becoming more important than ever for companies to implement green measures. Going green in business is not only a necessity in order to help the environment, but it's also become a critical factor for their success.
There are many ways in which becoming more eco-friendly can benefit a business, from keeping employees happy and healthy, to improving sales and consumer loyalty. You don't have to make huge changes in order to see these benefits, just take a look at some of the suggestions below, and find out more about how going green can improve your business both internally and externally.
Manufacturing forms one of the major pillars of the economy. This sector produces goods that you need almost every day and generates thousands of jobs. However, despite the good, this very industry is guilty of causing damage to the environment. Luckily, changes are being made and the negative impact on the environment is reducing as compared to yesteryears. If you are into manufacturing, these are four ways you can make your processes eco-friendly.
Conduct Regular Energy Audits
Every process in the manufacturing unit will consume lots of energy. While there is no way to completely eliminate this need, you can definitely adopt practices that are energy-efficient. One of the best ways to minimize the usage of energy is to understand and know the percentage of energy that different equipment and processes consume. Once you have a fair idea of this, you can make the necessary changes. Conduct regular energy audits to find out where the energy is being expended, figure out the different ways you can make improvements. For example, switch incandescent bulbs with CFL, replace HVAC filters, opt for programmable thermostats to reduce energy waste. Bring in an expert if required.
Utilize Renewable Energy
Factories and manufacturing units consume a considerable amount of energy. Even if you take steps to minimize the consumption, you won’t be able to reduce it beyond a point. However, you can tap into renewable energy sources such as the wind, sunlight, rain, etc. Using a combination of two or more sources will ensure that even when one element is absent, the others can cover the energy requirements.
Reuse and Recycle Waste
Encourage the use of recycled materials within your facility. Whatever waste is produced in the unit, try to recycle whatever is possible. If you don’t have the capacity to do cardboard recycling or glass recycling, send the recyclable material to a recycling company. It wouldn’t be a bad idea to invest in a recycling machine if you produce large amounts of recyclable waste material regularly. If you have aluminum or wood as your by-products, you can donate the sawdust to farms around you. They can use it for landscaping and bedding for their animals. Discarded paper or cardboard can be used for packaging. Keep a check on your waste and inspect on how you can re-use or recycle it.
It would be wise to implement a water-efficiency program in manufacturing facilities. This would help in conserving large amounts of water and saving money on buying, heating, treating and disposing of water. Call in a local water company to audit your unit. They can devise strategies and methods that will help you in conserving water. Additionally, it will also assist you in minimizing discharges to sewers and waste water. Invest in water-saving products and you will reap positive results in the long run.
Look for alternative methods of making your processes eco-friendly. Implement the techniques that have been proven successful. Don’t be afraid to experiment or try out something new.
Erich Lawson is passionate about saving environment by effective recycling. He has written a wide array of articles on how modern recycling equipments can be used by industries to reduce monthly garbage bills and increase recycling revenue. You can learn more about environment savings techniques by visiting Northern California Compactors, Inc blog
Since Ethical Consumer published their recent guide to ethical money and finance they have added some great new content to their website that we thought you'd like to know about.
Firstly they've used their subscriber tools to take a dive into some of the data behind the recent guide to Savings Accounts.
They focus on two brands – Nationwide building society and The Co-operative Bank.
Both are well-known high street brands that promote their ethics to customers.
They investigate how their claims stack up, and what the differences are between them?
New ethical banking video
They have also produced a new video in which co-editor Rob Harrison, talks about how to choose an ethical bank account and introduces the new carbon divestment campaign.
This video is also on their new YouTube channel. Please check it out and share it with friends.
We hope you find the content useful and informative.
Nowadays, more and more companies are getting in the green wagon, following the steps of two big whales like Google and Siemens. Global warming is a reality that is affecting us deeply each day that passes and even more when we do not do anything to change the situation. Going green is something anyone can do, it can go from completely starting a company from scratch and investing in an eco-friendly structure, to the simple actions listed in this article. Employees can really make the difference in helping the companies during this initiative. So let’s get on that green path following these simple steps!
- 40-50% of the carbon emissions from a company are due to the telecommuting of their employees. This percentage could be significantly decreased by simply carpooling to work with some coworkers or using public transportation or, if you are not too far from the office, you can even take a bike. A little effort goes a long way. Some companies have also implemented a day in which their employees can work from home, giving them the chance to be more comfortable and even save a little on gas.
- Take advantage of sunny days. Pull up those blinds and soak up the sun! By doing so, you can decrease your energy consumption up to 75%.
- Recycling is probably one of the most popular initiatives in any office. Just make sure to duly identify each bin (bright colors work great), and put them in a visible place where people cannot miss them.
- Purchasing furniture and decorations made from recyclable materials is very in right now. Vegan leather, recycled plastic, and even cardboard can be used to make eco-friendly furniture –and it looks great-. You can also purchase green materials for the office. Nowadays, you can find just about anything in a green store: pencils, pens, recycled paper, notebooks, you just need to fill the cart!
- The greenest thing you can do is stop using paper. The digital era implies that everything should be digitalized. Not only do we help save the planet, but we also save on toner, paper, energy, and even time.
These eco-friendly initiatives not only help the environment, but they also influence the employees’ well-being when they know they are contributing with our beautiful planet.
Contetn by Vanessa Fardi / NEUVOO
Team Leader US/CA/LATAM
While the economy requires the building of office buildings, the world requires the human race to cut down on the pressures it places on the environment. These conflicting needs are being resolved by the building of some very innovative, and very green, office buildings. These buildings are using new technologies create offices that are carbon neutral and, in some cases, actually able to produce more energy than they use.
This infographic showcases numerous examples of green architecture that have been used to stop commercial real estate being such a drain on the environment. From the giant atrium of the visually stunning ACROS building in Japan, to the super smart Edge building in Amsterdam, to buildings that combine power generation methods that go beyond ‘simple' solar panels; these buildings break the mould for office buildings and in doing so are helping make the world a greener place.
If you are an eco-friendly oriented person, you have undoubtedly taken steps to turn your home into a green heaven. Often times, however, this might not be the case in your office. It seems that no matter how environmentally cautious we are, it’s always someone else’s job to implement the green solutions at work.
This is partly true, as obviously you work with what you are given. You are not responsible for the electrical appliances and machinery used in the office and the fact that they are not energy efficient. You also have nothing to do with the fact that someone has decided to stock the office with dangerous commercial cleaners, instead of green office cleaning recipes. Still, there are some things and changes of habit that you can follow to make the office a better and greener place.
Since you are most likely using a computer or another electronic device in your work, you must make sure that it doesn't consume more electricity than it should. This means shutting down and turning off the device till the next time you need it. Everything left on standby consumes electricity, even when the device itself is not in use. That said, you will be able to save some money on electricity if you don’t leave printers, fax machines, computers and monitors on standby mode till you next return to them.
Don’t use too much paper
We live in a digital age, and yet still use tons of paper coming from trees. It sounds absurd, but is in fact true. Ask yourself before you print any information if you really need it on paper. Can’t you store it on your computer for future reference instead?
Resort to recycled materials
You are going to need some paper for printing, but at least you can ensure that it is recycled. Replace the disposable with refillable, the plastic with biodegradable and the traditional commercial cleaning product with a green recipe one.
No plastic for your food
If your office has a dedicated kitchen space, make sure that it is equipped with no plastic containers and cutlery. Invest in solid glass containers, which are not only a better eco-friendly option in the long run, but also provide for easy cleaning service. Consider the fact that plastic can be really bad for your health when heated directly in contact with food.
Green your travelling to the office
It is best if you walk to work, or use other means of transportation different from driving your personal vehicle there. See if there are any co-workers in your area that you can share a vehicle with. Car pool is great, because it will reduce the cost of travelling, since you share the expenses for fuel and things like cleaning service for the vehicle.
Share these tips
One thing you can do is share your green way of living with your co-workers. Discuss these topics with them and get them to join you in protecting the environment through such simple changes. The more people that are in on the act, the better.
Going green at work is often a question of changing your habits and paying more attention to how you can improve your routine. It is such steps that make a difference and contribute to a greener future.