The negative impact we have on the environment is never far from the headlines. And nor should it be. Each year we create a staggering amount of rubbish and waste unnecessary energy through irresponsible practices. It falls to everyone to take responsibility, individuals and businesses alike.
Indeed for businesses the call to action is loud and clear and for many becoming sustainable is already viewed as an investment rather than a cost. There’s also a strong business case for going green: green practices not only build positive reputations but can also have a financial benefit. But going green isn’t as simple as switching off at the plug; other more practical adaptations will be needed to secure a significant impact.
Reducing waste should be top of the list on a company’s green agenda. At Business Environment, we’ve not only gone ‘paperless’ (something that saved us £3,500 in just four months) but also ‘binless’. To do this, personal bins need to be removed and space created for central recycling points that can be easily accessed by all employees. Recyclable rubbish and electrical waste such as old computers and toners, can also be sold and the revenue from which can be put into other initiatives such as charitable donations.
Energy consumption is also central to green policy. For example, AgreenerOffice predicts that by switching workstations off overnight and at the weekend a company can save as much as half the amount of energy used, which equates to £63 a year for each workstation. Lighting is also key – do you really need the lights on? Selecting an office with plenty of natural light or putting desks near windows may mean you can switch off. Equally installing green energy equipment such as lighting and heating/cooling systems can reduce energy consumption – good for the environment and keeping costs down.
Cycle-to-work schemes that aim to reduce employees’ carbon footprint are also great green initiatives that encourage employee engagement. Companies considering implementing this also need to consider the practical issues. Is there somewhere to lock up bikes? Are there lockers where employees can leave their gear? By adding something as simple as a bike rack, more employees might be encouraged to participate.
There’s not only the immediate environmental and cost-saving benefits that make ‘going green’ good for business. Our comprehensive environmental policies have also led us to win important new business contracts. In a recent pitch, our green credentials set us apart from the competition and ultimately won us the three-figure contract.
Of course there are many ways companies can adapt property to become greener: installing green toilets or switching to green tariffs for example. Importantly, green policy must be achievable and long-term. By creating a roadmap that can be built on year-by-year, a company can improve its green credentials, reduce costs, win business and most importantly help save the environment.