Climate change is currently top of the news agenda, with protests calling for climate action taking place all over the world. According to the United Nations, we now have just over a decade to halt irreversible damage to our planet, so it’s time to make sustainability a priority in business.
Moral responsibility isn’t the only reason to take note of eco-friendly business practices, either. Growing numbers of consumers are highlighting sustainability as one of the key factors in their buying decisions. This trend is most prevalent amongst the youngest consumer groups, who are increasingly calling for better transparency and more ethical supply chains.
Environmental factors have long been part of many a corporate social responsibility policy, but it’s now time to look more closely at what we could be doing to improve sustainability, whilst still providing the same great service that customers expect. Take a look at the following eco-friendly business practices and start thinking about the changes you might be able to make within your own organisation.
Use sustainable delivery processes
Delivery services have a substantial carbon footprint, but there are changes that we can make to improve this. Whilst the transport of some goods will inevitably require the use of vans, lorries and aeroplanes, there are other journeys that could easily be switched for more sustainable (and cheaper) options. Consider sustainable delivery processes wherever possible, and think about whether you might be able to make use of environmentally friendly courier services such as bicycles for shorter journeys. It’s also worth bearing in mind the use of packaging when transporting goods. Ensure that all packaging is recyclable, and that waste is minimised.
Explore virtual staffing
Flexible working arrangements are becoming more popular in business, and many companies are now starting to explore the opportunities of virtual staffing too. Virtual staff members usually work from home, but provide all the support that you might expect from in-house team members.
The advantages of this are numerous. Of course, the elimination of a daily commute significantly reduces the carbon footprint of remote staff. Businesses working with virtual team members regularly will also require smaller office spaces, and therefore benefit from a reduction in office waste and energy consumption. Virtual staffing can also be massively beneficial for productivity, enabling organisations to connect with the top people for the job, no matter where in the world they happen to be based.
There are so many ways to save energy in the workplace, so make sure your company hasn’t missed any. Some changes are obvious, such as reducing the use of artificial lighting as much as possible, and switching to energy efficient light bulbs. But others are less so. Did you know, for example, that choosing laptops over desktop computers will enable your business to reduce its energy consumption and save money on bills? It’s also worth checking that hibernation mode is enabled on all computers in the workplace, and that all equipment is updated regularly to maximise efficiency.
Use less paper
With so many business tasks now managed online, it’s incredibly easy to reduce paper consumption at work. Make this change a key part of your company culture, and encourage team members to change their habits and limit their use of paper. It’s a good idea to share the facts regarding overuse of paper, to give employees a thorough understanding of how their decisions impact the planet. It takes over three gallons of water to make a single sheet of paper, and the production of paper is the third most energy-intensive in manufacturing industries. The more we know about what goes into making paper, the less likely we are to waste it.
Cut down on plastic
Single-use plastic is a massive global problem, so it’s well worth making changes in your workplace to reduce the use of plastic items. Limit single-use products as much as you can, and switch to reusable options wherever possible.
Think about office stationery such as pens, for example. By providing employees with refillable pens, you’ll already be reducing your company’s plastic consumption. Opting for milk in glass bottles rather than plastic cartons is another simple change that’s incredibly easy to make. There are many similar changes that you can introduce in minutes, so take a look at your plastic waste at work and think about what you could do to cut down on plastic.
Switch to green web hosting
Web hosting might not immediately spring to mind when you think about the environmental impact of your business, but it should do. The data centres that power web hosting services use an eye watering amount of electricity. In the US, data centres are responsible for the same amount of energy as five nuclear power plants. And the carbon dioxide output of your average server beats that of a car!
The carbon footprint of the web hosting industry is on the rise, as we become more and more dependent on online services. So, it’s about time we all switched to green web hosting options. Companies providing green web hosting services prioritise eco-friendly practises, and offset their environmental impact as much as possible. Make the switch and your business will immediately reduce its carbon footprint, with no knock on effect on the service that your customers experience.
Making the switch to eco-friendly business practises doesn’t have to be time-consuming or expensive. There are plenty of changes that you can make today that won’t cost your business a penny, and will in fact save you money in the long run. And with the impact of climate change becoming increasingly clear, every business has a responsibility to reduce its carbon footprint and prioritise sustainability. Your customers will thank you, and the planet just might too.