With the digital age bringing a growing focus on sustainability and environmentally-friendly practices for both consumers and organisations alike, now is the perfect time to start making greener choices for your business. But greenifying your business is one of those things that’s usually easier said than done. So how do you go about mapping out this strategy for sustainability?
Naturally, the design and development of green initiatives can alter from industry to industry, so it’s up to the business owners of today to identify opportunities for boosting sustainability across both your workplace and general business operations. But there are plenty of general green initiatives and perhaps even green changes that can also be adopted by virtually all businesses.
For instance, you could trade in your older office printers for some eco-friendly Epson EcoTank printers. Or you could greenify your printing habits even further by choosing to participate in a free printer cartridge recycling program. Or perhaps even get into the habit of composting your coffee beans and recycling your coffee cups.
Not only can introducing more sustainable workplace practices help to lower your energy bills and perhaps other overhead costs for your business, but these measures may even help to improve your company profile with today’s increasingly eco-conscious consumer. In other words, as more consumers are paying attention to the environmental impact of their purchases, you need to ensure that your business is seen to be green.
Let’s take a close look at five simple ways you can encourage sustainability within your workplace and start slowly but steadily lowering your carbon footprint.
1. Participate In A Recycling Program
As we mentioned, participating in recycling initiatives can be a great way to support sustainability in the workplace at a foundational level. You can start integrating recycling as a standard practice in your workplace by simply making space for recycling bins throughout your business premises, alongside installing waste signage to outline what items can be recycled in each corresponding bin.
And don’t forget about your e-waste here either! In fact, you could also take this opportunity to clear out any old or unused office equipment and bring them to your local e-waste recycling centre. Or, if the equipment is still in good knick, you may even consider donating them to a local school or charity.
2. Consider Going Paperless
Of course, it’s a lot easier to recycle when you’re using less and less paper. With more businesses turning to cloud-based applications to oversee daily operations, there is less need for office environments to be using vast amounts of paper, as your own enterprise may have in the past. Even if your reduced paper usage is unintentional, you can cut down even further on the amount of paper you use by promoting a paperless office approach.
Business owners can take advantage of a range of tools including invoicing software, payroll applications, file-sharing programs, business management tools and other tools that take your business into the digital realm and eliminate the need for paper in your workplace. By digitising all of these documents and backing them up into the cloud or by using remote servers, you can remove the need to keep dozens of file cabinets’ worth of hard-copy records in your office, saving on paper usage, ink costs, and also office space, when you think about it!
3. Conserve Energy Use
The amount of energy your office uses is one of the major contributors to your workplace’s carbon footprint. With this in mind, investing in some energy conservation measures can naturally help you encourage sustainable practices on a daily basis.
For instance, displaying energy conservation signage to remind your staff to turn off the lights in rooms when they are not in use can make a great addition to any eco-conscious workspace. Installing sensor lights in hallways, bathrooms and other common areas will also help to reduce energy use and lower your office utility bills in the process. Encourage staff members to shut down their computers and to turn off office equipment at the end of the day to further reduce their environmental impact.
4. Keep A Fully Stocked Office Kitchen
According to CitySwitch’s guide to office waste, more than 1 billion disposable coffee cups are produced in Australia annually, with the vast majority of these still ending up in landfill, as they’re not recyclable through curbside bins. Similarly, takeaway containers with food residues are also not recyclable, which means that most of the waste produced by your lunch break is going to be headed straight to your local landfill.
So how can business owners reduce the overall waste generation of their office space? How about by reducing the need for their employees to eat out? By investing in kitchen amenities like a fridge, microwave, toaster, coffee machine, and a pantry stocked with basic ingredients, your staff can feel comfortable making or bringing in their own lunch rather than leaving the office for every single lunch hour.
5. Support Other Sustainable Businesses
Finally, whether you are collaborating with other businesses, looking at vendors, or speaking to logistics companies to transport your products, it’s important you consider their own commitment to sustainable business practices. If the values of prospective commercial partners do not align with your company’s own values and general outlook on sustainability, then it might be a good idea to reevaluate that relationship and seek partnership opportunities with more like-minded bodies.
And do not underestimate the power of leading by example here. Supporting other sustainable businesses will help to encourage more businesses to assess their own approach to sustainability. The knock-on effect of supporting other businesses who share your values can be crucial in not only building your brand and industry reputation but also furthering your industry’s collective commitment to a more eco-conscious future.
Start Taking Steps Towards Sustainability Today!
As you can see, there are a range of green changes that you can make to lower the carbon footprint of your business right away. However, for these changes to have the maximum impact, you need to ensure that your employees are kept in the loop, in that they’re aware of these initiatives and understand exactly why they’d want to participate. Encouraging your team to follow your new green work practices will help you to maintain your new standards going forward and solidify your commitment to a cleaner, greener future for all of us.
So get to work together! The sooner that you start to implement positive changes, the sooner you can start to leave a positive impact on not just your local community, but perhaps even your industry as a whole.