Green initiatives for small businesses
Small businesses can find it challenging when attempting to implement green initiatives—the cost and seeming impracticality of ‘going green’ can be a huge deterrent.
Yet businesses remain responsible for around 18% of CO2 emissions in the UK.
And social trends suggest consumers are more likely to support environmentally friendly companies.
Fortunately, there are actually many benefits in cultivating an eco-friendly company from the beginning without radically impinging on your profits.
In fact, some small initiatives may even save you money in the process.
From going paperless to re-thinking your workplace ethos, discover what you can do to green your business.
Join the paperless revolution
The first most cost-effective initiative you can implement is ditching your reliance on office paper.
Businesses churn out tonnes of waste paper every single year, when the vast majority of information could have been easily communicated electronically. Even your clients may appreciate your gesture in establishing a paperless workplace.
By dramatically reducing the consumption of office paper going in and out of your business, the environment and your wallet can breathe a sigh of relief.
Not only will you promote a paperless culture but cut down on costs since you won’t be needing to re-buy costly printing paper and ink regularly.
Similarly, you can curb plastic use by replacing plastic cutlery and Styrofoam cups with metal cutlery and coffee mugs.
Banish waste paper bins
If there are small waste paper bins placed near every desk in each department, it is unlikely your staff will think twice about where to bin their rubbish.
They are even less likely to trek all the way to the recycling bin in the communal kitchen.
So, by banishing the typical waste paper bin for small recycling bins, your staff will have no choice but to make environmentally-conscious decisions about their waste. This doesn’t need to be expensive either: an old cardboard box can function as the paper recycling ‘bin’. Even recycling just one tonne of paper is estimated to save up to 14kg of energy and 17 trees.
For areas with heavier footfall, such as the kitchen, colour-coded recycling bins for paper, plastic and other general waste are ideal.
Promote remote working
Lockdown measures prompted by the Coronavirus pandemic sent workplaces all over the world into a new way of working: from home.
Yet even now as measures are beginning to lift this summer, many workplaces have transformed their working model into a permanent work from home, or at least flexible, basis.
Remote working has proved to spare the environment from the strain of daily, congested commuting. In return, employers have been able to save on the running costs of their office building while their staff benefit from more take-home pay and a better work-life balance.
Incentivise public transport and cycling
It is fair to say that ‘going green’ is a fashion statement for your business: not only are consumers more likely to buy from companies with an eco-friendly ethos, but employees are more likely to take pride in their energy-efficient employer.
Even as a small business, you can endorse a cycle to work scheme. This can be accompanied with a bike storage unit on the premises.
As your business expands, you could even subsidise public transport costs for your employees—again cutting down on carbon emissions and boosting the morale of staff who may feel their take-home pay is consumed by commuting costs.
Think long-term by making small changes
The good news about small businesses going green is that you can make these small changes in the beginning with a view to establishing a long-term environmentally-friendly culture.
As your office evolves, you could invest in renewable energy sources, such as solar panels, and renovate the building with improved insulation. However, this is probably something to consider later down the line when you command a bigger office space.
For now, you could establish working relationships with sustainable manufacturers—and for bonus points, buy locally.
As you can see, the possibilities in going green are endless with the scope to integrate small yet effective changes though every level of your business without breaking the bank.