6 Ways businesses can help the environment
Consumers are eager to interact with companies that support the environment, recognising kindred spirits in a time when climate change has become a topical subject. Employees, particularly millennials in the 20 to 30 year age bracket, are looking for employers who embrace sustainable business practices.
Going green will not only appeal to prospective customers and help increase your client base, but it can make an actual positive impact towards the health of our planet. And that is where all our focus should be.
Here are six sustainable strategies that will not only help your company engage with consumers and employees, but will promote your company as environmentally responsible.
1. Change to a paperless office
Between disposable pens, photocopy paper and stationary, offices and administrative centres can use an enormous amount of materials that are not sustainable. Swapping to a paperless office by moving to online applications, refillable pens and recycled paper, are three simple strategies that will not only lighten your load, but also help the environment.
2. Provide filtered water and refillable bottles for employees
Single use water bottles and soft drinks are not always recycled, instead they are sent to landfills where it takes hundreds of years for them to decompose. Whilst providing recycling bins at work is a great option, a better strategy is to provide cooled filtered water and refillable bottles for your staff.
3. Switch to solar energy
Committing to an investment in commercial solar energy reduces your operating costs, protects your company against increasing electricity prices, improves your company’s public image, and gives you a significant return on your investment very quickly. If you are in a location where you can actually go off-grid, installing solar panels and an off-grid battery system, then you also eliminate your reliance on the grid. This is particularly relevant in power outages when other businesses can’t work and your company can keep on operating, because you are off-grid.
4. Install LED lightbulbs
Regardless of the size of your buildings, you will save money if you install LED light bulbs in all your lighting fixtures. They last far longer than incandescent or halogen bulbs, use less energy, work instantly and are tough and durable. If you need a constant supply of light bulbs to keep everything lit in your buildings, swapping to LED bulbs is both a cost-effective strategy and an environmentally sound idea.
5. Change to sustainable packaging
If you mail products to customers, changing to recycled packaging is a good start, but sustainable packaging is even better, because it shows that your company is committed to supporting the environment. The difference between recycled and sustainable packaging (also known as green or eco-friendly packaging) is quite significant. Recycled packaging is clearly made from recycled materials, whilst green packaging is made from biodegradable renewable materials using processes that have a low impact on both energy consumption and the environment. Your overheads will reduce and your customers and employees will be happy!
6. Improve air quality with indoor plants
Filling your office spaces and public areas with plants will not only improve the appeal of these spaces, but will make employees and customers happier and improve the air quality. With open plan offices more prevalent, installing professionally designed plantings can have a very positive effect on employee morale and productivity. They also make a significant impact in your public spaces.
7. Specific ideas for the food industry
If your business is in the food industry, such as a cafe, here are some extra ideas specific for you.
- Eliminate plastic bags and switch to paper (and encourage customers to bring canvas bags)
- Invest in paper or metal straws for drinks
- Encourage keep cup usage for coffees by offering discounts
- Setup composting for all food scraps