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How to set office environmental targets

Doing your part to help tackle climate change by making your office green and environmentally-friendly is great – but without measurable targets you won’t know if you’re making progress

Not only does going green mean you’re being a responsible employer, it also can save you money. Buck Consultants found that of the firms who’d adopted green measures, 78% saved money on electricity, 68% cut the cost of their paper and 60% reported savings in water costs.

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In fact, the opposite is also true – bad waste practices are costing the UK’s companies £15bn a year, according to Envirowise.

Here are 4 targets to hit on your way to a sustainable workplace.

Get recycling
Envirowise found 70% of all office waste is recyclable. But only 7.5% is actually recycled. So much can be saved from going into landfill:

• Paper: buy a shredder for vital documents
• Glass: from drinks bottle to broken drinking glasses, it can all go in the green bin
• Plastic: wrapping, plastic cups and so much more can be recycled

Get small recycling bins for each office or room, along with a general waste bin. After a week, go through the recycling and waste to show your staff how much there is of each – try and shift the balance over time.

The paperless office
A study by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency found 45% of the paper printed in offices ends up trashed by the end of the day.

One of the best ways to cut down on this waste is to aim for a paperless office. While there will always be the need for some paper, ask yourself if you really need a hard copy of a document before hitting the print button.

You could help cut down by giving people a set amount of paper for the year for printing and no more.

Switching off
The Federation of Small Businesses found its members spend on average over £4,200 a year on energy. This can be cut considerably with a few simple tasks like getting staff to:

• turn off lights when not using rooms
• switch off computers at the end of the day
• unplug chargers when not in use

An easy way to keep track of your electric usage is to get someone to take note of the meter readings at the end of every week. Create a chart showing how much you’re using and set reduction targets.

Cut the commute
Commuting by car or train adds to the UK’s CO2 emissions. You can introduce schemes like car share and Cycle to Work to reduce the number of journeys by car needed.

Make sure your staff are well aware of any schemes like these and also they you know who has taken them on. Try and increase the take up every year with a big awareness drive.

At Business Environment being green isn’t just something we add to our agenda, we have a dedicated in-house project team, The Green Group, challenged with making every one of our processes greener, more energy efficient and better for the environment. They monitor our green & energy KPIs and report on a monthly basis on Recycling performance, Waste & Energy consumption at every business centre and head office.