We each have a responsibility to help the environment and reduce our impact on climate change, both individually and collectively. As entrepreneurs and business leaders, we’re in a unique position to set the example in everyday working practices, company policies, and communications. In many cases, it makes good business sense to go green, as it also saves money on overhead costs.
It’s difficult, but certainly possible, to totally eradicate your carbon footprint. Indeed, it’s feasible to contribute positively by becoming carbon negative. These are high ambitions, and worth working towards. Every little helps, and businesses are able to take easy steps which improve their green credentials.
Here are 5 tips for creating a greener business.
1. Request an Audit
An energy audit is a superb first port of call for improving your green credentials. This should be conducted by an independent expert, and encompass both energy efficiency and energy usage. This audit will highlight areas in which you’re wasting energy, and will define the main priorities.
2. Cycle to work scheme
Depending on your business location, staff may be encouraged to take green modes of transport into work. Cyclescheme provides very real financial incentives for employees and employers alike, which has led to 180,000 people per year taking up the opportunity in the UK.
3. Public transport
Public transport is an efficient method of commuting. You might consider providing an interest-free (or low interest) commuter loan for staff to buy annual tickets, if cash flow permits. If transport links are below-par, advocate as a group. Partner with community bodies to demand improvements.
4. Renewable energy technology
Green technology has become more accessible than ever before. Government financial incentives such as the non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive (RHI) are very appealing. This ensures that heat pumps, solar panels, and biomass boilers have become commonplace in commercial environments. Businesses who use renewable energy technologies can save huge amounts on gas and electricity bills, especially over the long-term. These systems are now quicker and easier to install, even in old properties.
Recycling has permeated our society, especially in Europe and America. Most people now recycle by default, and of course your business and its staff should follow the standard guidelines about waste management. There are many other opportunities to recycle and upcycle. When it comes to office furniture and other items, you can usually find a bargain online or at auctions.
6. Carbon offsets for business travel
Business leaders and entrepreneurs are finding themselves travelling much more than in decades past. If you or your team are regularly jetting to and from different countries, it’s certainly worth getting involved in a carbon offsetting programme. This consists of paying a premium on activities which are carbon-heavy, with that money then invested into a green initiative of equal opposite impact (e.g. planting trees).
A greener approach is available to all. When it comes to staff encouragement, this requires a combination of willingness by the individual and incentivisation by the business and its leaders. This will result in a culture of awareness, and will translate into direct action and a greener business.
Together with following the tips outlined above, businesses can also invest in greener website hosting, go 100% paperless, buy exclusively from local suppliers, and contribute in many more ways to the local and wider environment. Small initiatives have a cumulative impact, which is why every business should consider its green credentials.