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3 Ways To Make Your Business Eco-Friendly (And How Doing So Can Benefit You)

– Contributed content –

8 May 2017. Most people who run their own businesses have a common goal in mind. This could be a financial goal to try and attain, or it could be to end up regarded as one of the greatest business brains in the world. But something more and more business owners are looking at now is how to make their business greener. Environmental health is a huge issue in the present day, with anyone and everyone giving their two cents on how they feel about it. There are some people who deny that climate change is happening at all, while at the other end of the spectrum, there are others who believe we should be sacrificing certain things in order to make the environment a greater priority.

For those of us running businesses, it may seem that at first glance, the well-being of the environment is not totally relevant to what it is we do. But there can actually be many different benefits to running an eco-friendly business. The first one is that, of course, you get to live safely in the knowledge that you are ‘doing your bit’ for the natural world. If you are in any way inclined to care for the environment – and let’s face it, most of us should be – making your business greener can be one way you can contribute to the protection and fruition of our planet.

But going green can also benefit you on a slightly more selfish level too. An eco-friendly business can mean that you are automatically opened up to many more contributors, clients and staff alike. If the environment is something close to these people’s hearts, they will want to work with you, meaning you essentially have the pick of the crop. Plus, being eco-friendly can also actually save you money as well. You may find that after a few months of running an environmentally friendly business, your overheads are nothing compared to what they once were. So, if making your business greener is something you’re interested in, what exactly are the steps you need to take? Read on to find out.

Cyclists

(Flickr)

Offer an incentive for green transportation

No matter where your office is based, it’s pretty likely that most of your employees (including yourself) drive to work. We all know the pain of the 9-5 commute, where we sit in standstill traffic for hours on end before we even set foot inside the office block. This can be pretty disheartening, and to top it all off, very bad for the environment. The fumes from cars add to the thick smog we tend to get in many major cities, and in such huge quantities, it can be very harmful to natural life. One way to make sure that your company isn’t responsible for the running of hundreds of employee cars is to make sure your headquarters are situated somewhere fairly central. An employee who lives in an inner-city apartment is, of course, going to be reluctant to cycle 20 miles to the middle of nowhere each day, after all.

But how else, exactly, do you persuade your staff to ditch the car in favor of a more eco-friendly transport option? The first thing to remember is that not everyone is going to be okay with this. You may have people on your team who live out of the range of public transport to be able to give up their car, or you may have an employee who has a chronic illness and therefore cycling is out of the question for them. But for those, it is feasible for, setting an incentive for walking, cycling or riding the subway to work can be a great way to minimize your company’s carbon footprint. There are some existing schemes in place that allow you to collect points for every carbon mile you save, or you could invent your own and poll a leaderboard, with a prize at the end. Sit down and discuss this with your team, and make sure you cover all the benefits. It will help you as a workforce become fitter too and can be a good way to bring some positive PR to your firm as well.

Be strict with paper uses

The average business HQ will naturally have piles and piles of paper documents floating around, that have all been drawn up or printed by various people. However, some these piles that contain important and relevant documents is usually very minimal. Many of us don’t consider the effect that numerous sheets of printed paper have on the environment. After all, we just see the paper coming out of the machine, and the seemingly endless supply of it that is kept in the office store cupboard. But the supply isn’t always as endless as we may think – especially if we consider the real life trees that are being cut down to provide said paper for our office blocks. There are forests all over the world that are being destroyed for paper, and although we might not see it with our own eyes, this means that people and animal’s homes are consequently being destroyed too.

Of course, every business needs paper, and a lot of it too – that’s something no one can deny. But thankfully, there are things you can do to ensure that your business doesn’t waste anywhere near as much paper as before. One of these things is to print double-sided, rather than on individual separate sheets. Not only will you be helping the planet, but you’ll also save a lot of money on paper too, as you’ll go through your supply at a much slower pace. Additionally, enforce a rule that makes employees question whether printing is necessary. A lot of the time, we mindlessly print things just because we can, and this leads to a lot of wasted paper. Instead, speak to your employees about cutting down their printer usage. If you feel it will help, put a gentle warning sign above the office printer to ward them off; you’d be surprised how much of a positive effect it can have!

Open office cubicles

(Flickr)

Re-think your office energy supply

There’s no getting away from the fact that business premises do use a lot of energy, every single day. There are multiple computers to fire up, printers and fax machines, ceiling and desk light, and heating and A/C, depending on what time of year it is. All this can lead to one massive energy bill at the end of each month, and also a pretty damning carbon footprint left behind by your business. With this in mind, why not look into alternative energy sources to fuel your business for the better? Things like solar panels used to be considered radical and an extreme solution for those people who were exceptionally dedicated to the cause. Now, they are a common and viable option for residential and commercial properties alike. The initial setup cost may be fairly large, but you will soon make back that money with the amount of energy you save.

As far as lighting goes, look into LED bulbs as they tend to be much more energy efficient than regular halogen ones, and consider putting all your office lighting on a motion sensor, so you don’t accidentally leave anything on overnight. Being eco-friendly might not be the first thing most of us think of when we set up a business, but doing so can improve our professional lives in more ways than one.

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