Our world is going through a time of great change. As we slowly emerge from the COVID crisis and return to work, it’s becoming increasingly clear that business will never return to ‘normal’.
The pandemic has given us an opportunity to reevaluate the way we treat our planet, making now a great time for businesses to go green.
No matter your industry, businesses need to make their operations more environmentally sustainable and planet-friendly. Reducing the harm we’re doing to our planet means making changes at every level of our lives — including at work.
So, what steps can you take towards becoming a greener business today?
1. Adopt renewable energy
Renewable energy isn’t only better for the environment than traditional energy sources but can limit business costs, improve company image and reduce your carbon footprint.
Consider switching to electronic vans or installing solar panels. As technology develops, it’s now easier than ever to create a workplace that runs on 100% renewable energy. Not sure how to get started? First Mile can help.
2. Upgrade recycling services
Recycling has been a hot topic for decades, so this suggestion will come as no surprise. Despite increased public awareness of the positive impact of recycling, landfill waste continues to be a huge problem in the UK.
Upgrading your recycling services to ensure they’re fit for purpose is a great way to reduce the amount of business waste that ends up in landfills.
The first step is to create an easy-to-use system that encourages employees to sort their waste by material. You can also provide commercially compostable food ware, such as Vegware, in place of single-use disposables, which First Mile can help dispose of safely. Lastly, introduce a specific place to dispose of food, such as a compost or brown bin.
Got tricky refuse that can’t be easily recycled? Check out our alternative solutions.
3. Empower employees with ‘green’ challenges
The public is becoming increasingly environmentally aware and demanding change in the workplace, especially as younger generations enter the workforce. According to research by TotalJobs, 50% of millennials would consider quitting to work for a greener organisation.
Put the power in their hands by introducing ‘green’ challenges that encourage everyone to live more sustainably. Challenges can include:
Walk or cycle to work schemes, rather than relying on cars
A zero food wastage challenge, encouraging employees to begin composting or use leftovers more creatively
Only using re-usable coffee cups and cutlery for a week
Upcycling a piece of clothing rather than buying new
Initiatives to offset carbon usage
The fun of these challenges is that they bring the dual benefit of making your business greener and improving morale with employee participation.
4. Start small for big impact
Sometimes it’s the smallest changes that can have the most significant impact.
Consider implementing workplace guidelines that encourage employees to be more thoughtful about how they use finite materials. For example, use recycled paper for printing and limit the usage of the printer to necessary tasks, thereby saving energy.
In a modern workplace, there is no reason to be relying on pen and paper. Look at adopting online programmes that do away with notebooks and encourage digital notetaking, project planning and administration. What’s more, this limits the risk of work being lost and encourages collaboration!
5. Use environmentally friendly products and suppliers
Want to take your support for the environment a step further? To truly become a greener business, the products you use and the suppliers you partner with must be aligned with your values.
While the UK government is cracking down on producer responsibility, it’s important to do your research to find out what you’re supporting and put your money where your mouth is. Now may be the time to reevaluate contracts with existing supplies that don’t share your goals of creating a greener business.
In the workplace, you can start by using environmentally friendly cleaning supplies, such as Delphis Eco. Many companies offer refillable bottles or only use recyclable packaging, such as Ecover, Method and Smol. Another way to cut down on wastage is to stop using one-use, non-biodegradable cleaning supplies such as wipes, or to switch to more eco-friendly brands.
6. Make the office more green — literally
Did you know that plants can reduce stress and clean the air? Talk about green power!
Bringing more plants into the workplace is a no-brainer for companies looking to be greener. Of all the tips on this list, this is one of the easiest to implement.
Plants that are known to be air-purifying include aloe vera, ficus, peace lily and spider plants. Decorate with a few well-placed plants and you’ll be well on your way to creating a greener business.
7. Host meetings remotely
We’re all well-versed in the art of video calling now, so there’s no reason to go back to traditional in-person meetings unless strictly necessary.
Whether you’re attending a pitch, conference, catch up or planning meeting, video calls aren’t only convenient but reduce a business’s carbon emissions considerably.
Video calling isn’t going anywhere soon, so make the most of this lockdown trend by opting for remote meetings over car journeys and commercial aeroplane travel to see clients and customers. Technology can help you tread the line between facilitating human interaction and protecting the environment.
In a changing world, businesses must begin taking accountability for the impact they have on the environment. While we still have a lot of work to do, starting small can help build momentum and forge the path to a greener future.
These changes are easy to implement and encourage the workforce to reassess their relationship with the environment and their responsibility to the planet they call home.