Running a green business isn’t just good for the environment, it can be good for your bottom line too. In the process of reducing your carbon footprint, you will save a lot of money and generate goodwill in the local community. Many consumers consider the environmental policies of companies when deciding who they want to give their custom to, so sustainable policies are a good thing to have.
If you’re not sure where to start when putting together a sustainable business, consider the following:
Do you really need to print out every single document you receive? The answer is probably “no”. Instead of posting out contracts and marketing materials consider using email instead. There are some great green apps for getting people to electronically sign contracts and other important documents; these apps don’t just save the planet, they save time and make it easier to keep records too!
Even older offices can save a lot of power by making use of “smart” monitoring equipment. If your employees are always forgetting to turn out the lights, install motion detectors and hook the lights up to them. If the office is always too hot or too cold, use monitoring equipment to manage the air conditioning and central heating. You can program those systems to ensure that your office is heated periodically during the night to prevent burst pipes and other problems.
Don’t underestimate the amount of water wasted by dripping taps, or excessively large toilet reservoirs. Toilet dams are inexpensive (some water companies will even provide them for free), and a quick and easy way to save a few litres of water per flush. If your water usage is metered, that saving can quickly add up.
When you’re looking for suppliers, choose ones that have sound green policies. If that means you have to stop using one of your current suppliers then write them a letter and explain your decision. If enough people write letters to less environmentally-conscious companies to tell them that they need to change, then change may eventually happen.
Recycling waste paper and cardboard should already be a habit, but have you looked at other recycling possibilities? Consider fitting an insinkerator and turning canteen waste into compost. See if there are green apps for your mobile that can help you to find local places to recycle batteries, cartridges, Tetra-Pak cartons and other harder-to recycle products.
There are lots of things that a small business can do to reduce the impact that they have on the environment. You may not be able to implement every eco-friendly idea right now, but even little changes to your energy usage habits are positive steps.
If you are based in a relatively old office building and aren’t allowed to install fancy monitoring equipment, then work with the building owner to see what changes you can make. Using energy saving light bulbs, fitting draft excluders, or putting toilet reservoirs in the office toilets can still have a big impact on your long term energy usage. Don’t underestimate the power of small changes.