Going green can be a simple way to reduce your business costs while greatly reducing your environmental impact.
It can also help define the image of your business as one that cares about sustainability and taking care of the environment.
Penketh Group give you some tips on how to create a sustainable office environment.
Reducing and reusing where possible
A simple first step is to make sure your office has recycling bins next to your standard bins. If they’re heavily visible, staff will be more likely to make use of them. Encourage a policy of printing paper only when necessary, recycle what is used, and purchase recycled paper in return. Companies like Virgin, for example, also reduce plastic usage where possible by providing every employee with a branded water bottle – staff are unified behind the scheme, and they use far less harmful plastic.
Installing energy-efficient lightbulbs will also save money through their own reduction in energy use, you may be unaware of the significant extra heat given off by inefficient bulbs. By installing new bulbs, you also get the secondary benefit of less spent on air conditioning during the hotter summer months.
Small changes like these become habit over time, and can significantly reduce your environmental impact.
On top of that, there are also certain financial incentives to take advantage of creating a sustainable office. The UK Government allow you to claim capital allowances on some energy and water efficient equipment. This helps reduce the financial investment needed to be a more environmentally conscious business.
In a similar fashion, the Carbon Trust’s Green Business Fund can offer consultation and implementation advice for a range of green energy solutions. On top of that, they can provide up to £10,000 to subsidise the initial costs and installation of your new energy saving equipment, whatever form it may take.
Creating a sustainable culture through your business
While there are many improvements to be made by changing your habits when it comes to equipment usage, you can also take it further by encouraging and incentivising your staff to change their habits from the ground up.
For example, though it isn’t a direct business cost, reducing the amount of CO2 emissions from staff who drive to work is directly beneficial to the environment, and also helps ingrain positive green behaviour.
One way you could do this would be through the Cycle to Work scheme brought in by the Government’s Green Transport Initiative. Through this scheme, your employees can get brand-new bicycles tax free and paid monthly; your staff save money, have an incentive to use their cars less, and their environmental impact is greatly reduced.
You could also consider the different impacts CO2 emissions can have on your business – the supplies and resources you use may have travelled a great deal to get to you. Consider buying your supplies locally as much as possible, and only buy new equipment and furniture if it meets the businesses long term needs.
Buying local means supporting local business while reducing shipping emissions.
By following this advice, you’ll be making a great start on reducing your both your business costs, and your impact on the environment.
Keeping these ideals in your mind going forward will ensure your sustainable attitude continues to develop for the lifetime of your business.
Our staff writers come from all over the world, but one thing unites them - their passion for sustainability.