Tips to reduce your environmental footprint in business.

As the realities of climate change and the environmental impact of sustained growth and economic improvements becomes an increasing global concern, businesses now have to face up to a new reality.  That new reality is one that focuses much more keenly on creating sustainable business practices coupled with the desire to offset our carbon emissions and protect a deteriorating environment.

In June 2013, the United Nations Environment Programme [1] published a new report, the Geo-5 for Business, outlining the risks and opportunities inherent in environmental change, and what impact the move toward sustainability has for businesses across the globe.  The report surmises that if businesses are smart, they must learn how to offset waste and dangerous emissions in order to create a sustainable model [2] in a world where environmental concerns play a much greater part in forward planning.

If you, like many business owners the world over, are coming to appreciate the importance of your environmental impact as an organisation, there are a number of steps you can take to try and manage and reduce your environmental footprint.

Paper

Paper is everywhere in many office spaces, despite it being one of the most easily recyclable materials available. Email is the dominant mode of communication across businesses, however this can often encourage people to print more, rather than less.

Minimising paper waste is one of the simplest and most effective ways to contribute to a more sustainable business model. Technology can help, with online resources such as SlideShare, Google Drive and Dropbox allowing users to create and share content online, without a single sheet of paper having to be used.

Reuse, Recycle

Recycling is an important way for businesses to address and improve their environmental impact. It can be an easy measure to implement within everyday operational culture, be it paper recycling in an office, or recycling glass and food waste in the hospitality sector.

Putting different bins for various recyclables around the workplace can encourage staff to think about how they dispose of their waste in work. The process doesn’t have to be a difficult one, with waste contractors now able to collect recyclable waste at a small cost.

Conserve your energy

Energy efficiency is a major concern for businesses that are striving to be more environmentally conscious.  The added bonus in reducing your energy output is that you can also save significant amounts of money.

There are many strategies available that can contribute to an overall reduction of energy use. Assessing heating usage and setting a central thermostat to a specific, comfortable temperature can be a key method of conserving energy.  Fitting energy efficient equipment, such as light bulbs and radiators, is another way to reduce carbon emissions [3].

The Carbon Trust [4] has a number of useful resources that can assist businesses of all kinds in harnessing the environmental and economic benefits of low-carbon output.

Work with fellow green minded businesses

If becoming environmentally sustainable is a critical strategy in your forward planning as a business, then ensuring your supply chain is as green as possible is an excellent way to build a solid foundation for your green values [5].

Seeking out green suppliers [6] for your business needs is a great way to start.  This could be anything from suppliers of recycled paper or cups, to cleaning companies that use eco-friendly cleaning products. To ensure environmental and economic sustainability, businesses have to network with others to make sure that eco-friendly practices become an accepted standard.

Measurement and management

The best way for any business to become greener is to educate themselves about the kinds of environmental concerns that face businesses today [7] and to carefully track and analyse the extent of their resource and energy consumption and the degree of waste they produce as an organisation. This will then allow a company to set environmental impact reduction targets that can assist in forward planning to meet future ‘green’ objectives.

If you think that your business could stand to gain from environmental monitoring to help you become a more sustainable organisation, then Airsweb can help you achieve those goals. We can implement an Environmental Management System that allows you to track and report on your resource consumption, giving you a clear view of the areas where improvements are required. This can not only result in a strengthened environmental policy but can also save your business money.

For more information about how we can develop environmental management software to suit your business’s sector and resources, call 0151 289 6811 or email info@airsweb.com.

Lee Davies

Glenn Hardy

Sources:

[1] http://www.unep.org/geo/pdfs/geo5/GEO5_for_Business.pdf

[2] http://www.theguardian.com/sustainable-business/smart-business-reduce-environmental-impact

[3] http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/Take-action/Reduce-your-carbon-footprint

[4] http://www.carbontrust.com/resources

[5] http://ecopreneurist.com/2008/04/11/10-green-business-practices-that-reduce-your-footprint/

[6] http://www.carbontrust.com/resources/tools/green-business-directory

[7] https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/encouraging-businesses-to-manage-their-impact-on-the-environment

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