Up until recently, it was considered a luxury and a symbol of prestige for a company to operate in an ecologically responsible manner. Such an approach indeed was relatively expensive, in part because there was no systematic support in terms of resources. Another reason was simply – the (lack) of technology.
Among many good things computer age had brought us is the possibility for businesses in all areas to start paying more attention to the environment. Take a look at 20 simple ways to reduce your carbon footprint and contribute to making this planet a better place, while saving some money in the process.
1. Save Water
Water is the fabric of life. There are plenty of ways to save water, and the most obvious would be to make sure not to leave the tap dripping and to take care of any leaks as soon as possible. Take special care of bathrooms and kitchens, as water tends to run more often than you’d think.
Installing newer pipes will also help, as moisture that inevitably finds its way out of the old pipes shortens the life of every piece of furniture or equipment in the vicinity.
2. Reduce Paper Waste
The is almost no need to use paper for printing documents anymore, but old habits die hard and many find it easier to just print an email than to read it on the computer.
Make reduction of paper waste a priority across the company, and give employees a chance to adopt the necessary skills, providing them with training in computer usage.
Lack of knowledge in using this ultimate tool is the primary reason for excessive use of paper in offices.
3. Cut Down on Electricity
Most electricity still comes from burning coal, believe it or not. Until that is changed, it is the duty of all of us to cut down on electricity use, or to go for alternate sources of energy where applicable – solar power.
Turn off equipment you don’t use, and encourage your employees to start doing the same. Most of the problems lie in bad habits. Once you get people thinking about wasting electricity, they will stop.
It has been said a million times, but it is worth repeating: recycle everything that can be recycled. Moreover, choose products and equipment which are easily recycled.
Use the wonder of modern technology. There is no need for going to business trips all that often, as much of the communication can be done over the internet more quickly, and at a lesser cost to both the company and to Mother Earth.
If you do have to go, try not to take the biggest gas-guzzling off-road car in your car park for a trip down the freeway.
6. Queries on the Website
Much of the communication with customers and clients can be done over the internet nowadays, too. Have them post their queries on your site, rather than demanding paper input from them if it is not absolutely necessary.
7. Ship Responsibly
Use adequately sized boxes made from recyclable or recycled materials for shipping your products or packages. Most mail is sent in packages that are simply too big.
If you sell digital data like software or music, offer your customers a big discount on electronic delivery.
8. Use Biodegradable Products
Whatever you use for literally any kind of job these days, chances are that somewhere out there exists a cheaper option that is also better for the environment.
This is especially true for everything containing chemicals, such as cleaning products, for example. These cheaper, less harmful alternatives will surely become a standard soon, but until then you must put in a little effort to buy them.
9. Invest in Renewable Energy
Although these kinds of investments are notorious for being expensive, this is not necessarily the case. If you invest wisely in renewable energy sources, you should be able to enjoy huge returns, at least in the long term.
10. Use Office Plants
Not only will they have a dramatic effect on the mood and productivity of your employees, as well as on overall aesthetic impression in your offices, but plant waste can be used as an organic fertilizer.
You will also contribute to the production of oxygen and the absorption of pollutants.
11. Optimize Communication and Go Wi-Fi
If your employees have to communicate often between themselves, make it easier for them and cheaper for you and the environment – set up a Wi-Fi network in the building.
This will enable your company to communicate internally (and externally) virtually free of charge.
12. Cooperate With Other “Green” Companies
Many companies are shifting towards more eco-friendly ways of operation. Make your priority to deal with them whenever possible.
This is still “niche”, so eco-friendly companies tend to stick to one another.
13. Use Local Suppliers
The cheapest product is the one you make yourself. You can do the next best thing – find what you are looking for around the corner and save a lot of money on shipping costs. And help the environment along the way!
Encourage your employees to car-pool or, even better, ride a bicycle to work. Also, enable them to work from home whenever possible. You will save plenty on electricity bill alone.
15. Use Managed Print Services
Results of many independent studies show that an enormous amount of time, energy and resources are simply wasted because of inadequate and non-standard practices related to printing. Using MPS can save you up to 30 percent in print-related costs, and companies offering these services proclaim that they are using eco-friendly practices.
16. Educate the Staff
Increasing awareness is the most powerful tool in the fight against negligent attitude towards the environment. In addition, insist that the employees master the skills necessary for operating modern equipment.
17. Use the 21st Century Delights
Although this had been said before, it cannot be stressed enough – use the technology to your advantage. Hire an expert consultant who will access your business practices and bring them up to date. Make sure that the employees adopt the changes as soon as possible.
18. Use Eco-Friendly Vehicles
Initial expense may be relatively large, but it will save you a lot of money in the long run, and you will have various tax benefits (depending on your location).
19. Fix, Renew and Reuse
In modern times we are used to buying new all the time. Try to have what is broken fixed, and what is worn-out restored. You will save money and valuable resources.
20. Don’t Forget
The most important thing is never to delude yourself into thinking that there is nothing more to do to make your operations fully “green”, and that your job is finished.
Technology is progressing at a rate never before seen in the history of humankind. I believe Moore’s law is applicable to green practices. So make sure you are in tune with the time and remember that, in many instances, what is good for the planet will also save you money.
Image courtesy DonkeyHotey