As climate change continues to dominate the headlines as we head into 2020, many business owners will be thinking of ways to make their company ‘greener’ next year.
While at first, this may be daunting, it’s never been easier to make small and simple changes that can radically improve your company’s negative impact on the environment. Fear of climate change and the demand from authorities all over the world has opened up the market for green initiatives, technologies, and ideas business owners can take advantage of.
1. Green Thinking
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This is the most important change you can make to your business and it doesn’t cost a single cent. Simply breeding a ‘green state of mind’ amongst your staff can significantly help your business run more efficiently.
To do this, create energy efficiency goals for the company and support your employees in reaching them. Set up a meeting with your staff and ask them for their ideas on how they think the company can go greener.
2. Ban Plastic
Plastic pollution is spiraling out of control, building up in huge patches within the Pacific ocean, clogging our rivers and lakes. It’s time to ditch plastic. Think of all the plastic your office uses on a day-to-day basis and start to consider the alternatives.
You can ban plastic bottles, single-use cutlery, and food packaging quite easily. Buy your staff reusable coffee cups and metal or bamboo cutlery. Encourage them to bring their own food from home or start providing food at the office.
3. Promote Green Foods
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Are your staff meetings filled with donuts, pastries, and sandwiches stuffed with meat and cheese? Go green by supplying more plant-based foods at your meetings. Animal products are far more energy-intensive to produce than vegetables, fruits, and nuts. Not only are you helping the environment but you’re helping your employees eat healthier too.
4. Recycle and Reuse
Businesses produce a lot of waste, waste that can be easily recycled and reused. List out all the materials your company most commonly uses such as paper, cardboard, printer cartridges and so on. Most of these items can now be recycled.
Start printing your business cards on recycled card, buy washable menus for your restaurant and use biodegradable packaging for your consumer goods. The sky’s the limit when it comes to recycled materials.
5. Change Your Lightbulbs
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Once upon a time changing to energy-efficient lightbulbs would cost a small fortune. Now, it’s never been easier or cheaper to have them installed. You will be amazed at how much energy traditional lightbulbs use and waste. Upgrading to energy-efficient lightbulbs will not only reduce your carbon footprint but they will reduce your electricity bill too.
6. Use Green Partners
Have you ever considered the sustainability and the energy efficiency of the business partners you work with? You can set up a meeting with existing partners to discuss how you could go greener together or you can develop new business partners that are already green. Set targets for the efficiency that you want to work with and actively encourage eco-friendly business practices.
7. Reward Eco-friendly
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A simple and ingenious way of making your business green next year is to start the year with a meeting in which you ask your employees to develop new ideas on how you can go green.
Make it a competition in which you promise to select five of the ideas, fund them and reward those who came up with the idea.
8. Clean Green
Many chemicals and products used to clean your office are damaging to the environment. Speak with your cleaners or cleaning company and request that they start to use ethical, eco-friendly cleaning products that have sustainable sources and supply chains.
This is a lot easier than you might imagine. The eco-friendly cleaning industry has progressed significantly over the last few years and green products cost almost the same as regular ones.
9. Install Renewable Energy Products
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Ok, so this may not be cheap depending on the size of your company, the number of employees and buildings that you occupy. However, while installing renewable energy products occurs an initial expense it does payback in the form of free or cheaper electricity. Over a set number of years, this free/cheaper electricity can cover the cost of the initial investment and continue to save you money for years to come.
The most common installations include solar PV, solar thermal, rainwater harvesting, ground source heat pumps, energy-efficient boilers, and air conditioners.
10. Rethink Transportation
This can include your employees walking or cycling more to rethinking your delivery transportation for consumer goods. You could incentivize employees for cycling or walking to work, maybe they could walk to that next meeting rather than take an Uber?
For consumer goods, look at using more energy-efficient modes of transport. If shipping worldwide could you take advantage of sea freight rather than air? If planned properly you can start to use more energy-efficient transport throughout your supply chain.