How Can Companies Look to Greener Futures?
Sustainability is a growing focus for many of us. Commercial activities produce around 18% of the UK’s carbon emissions, so many businesses are now looking for more ways to be environmentally friendly.
Luckily, there are plenty of ways to do this.
Calculate your carbon footprint
The UK government has announced a new requirement for all financial institutions or companies with shares on the London Stock Exchange to provide evidence of detailed plans to reach carbon reduction targets.
As a business, it’s up to you to calculate your carbon footprint. This includes other greenhouse emissions, though – not just CO2.
To do this, you should list every business operation, product and service in order of highest to lowest emissions.
Your energy bills may be your first port of call when working this out. You could also ask staff to provide feedback about how often they commute and what their typical mileage is.
Don’t forget to include any business transport fleets and the cost of keeping their fuel topped up. Air conditioning maintenance is another factor to account for.
You can go a long way to increase your sustainability levels by switching to renewable energy sources. Using solar, wind or hydropower can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and lower your expenditure.
If your first impression is that these options seem like a large upfront cost, speak to renewable energy providers to see how long it should take for the solution to pay for itself in savings.
Do you own the business premises and have a sturdy, large roof? Solar panels could be an effective way of generating electricity naturally. Just be aware that this is more effective in parts of the UK that get more sun.
It’s also wise to check whether your business is using a renewable energy insurance policy before getting a project off the ground.
Of course, your efforts don’t always have to be large, sweeping ones. Smaller steps such as encouraging recycling can also go a long way. Improving the signage on your bins so that employees are crystal clear about what types of rubbish go in which bin can make a world of difference. One study recently found that 55% of Brits are “very unclear” about what materials can be recycled.
Many businesses are already getting good at reducing paper waste. However, you may find there is still room for improvement.
Use online documents that require electronic signatures. It’s easy to find software that helps you do this in a secure, confidential way.
And if your employees still find themselves reaching for the printer, encourage them to always print double-sided. Remind them to throw unwanted paper in the recycle bin, not the general waste.
There are so many steps your business can take to improve its impact on the environment. Remember that it’s alright to start small and gradually progress to bigger steps. Sometimes a culture shift needs to take place within an organisation for its efforts to be fruitful.