Traditionally, in business, we are conditioned to think most about the end product we offer our customers, whether physical or service. However, as customers become more sophisticated and knowledgeable about environmental and social issues, the value we use to get to the end product matters more and more. Indeed, ensuring that the way your business runs is sustainable is crucial to modern-day success. That is why you must read the following guide of 7 things you can do to make your company more environmentally and socially friendly.
1- Choose green and sustainable suppliers
Before you turn your attention to how your business is doing things, it’s a good idea to assess the other businesses and suppliers that you work with. This is because by demanding more sustainable services, you will help encourage a sea-change not only in your own company but across your entire industry and related fields. After all, consumer power can be a mighty force, so it makes sense to begin by wielding your company’s.
Remember that when examining a supplier’s credentials you should not only look for how they perform in terms of environmental friendliness but also their policies and safeguards for ethical working and the prevention of modern-day slavery.
2- Encourage greener commutes
Another great way you can help your business become more sustainable is to do all you can to encourage your employees to commute to and from work in a green way. One way of doing this is to institute a cycle-to-work scheme. To do this effectively, you will need to make sure there are secure places for your workers to keep their bikes, like bike racks. It can also make a huge difference to install showers so workers can wash after their commute and be presentable for the office.
Additionally, you may wish to either use a bike hire scheme or offer your employees a tax-free credit that allows them to buy a bike outright, which they can pay back to your business without interest over a year.
Alternatively, if your business premises are on good public transport routes, you may wish to provide your employees with discounted bus, train, or tram season tickets. This cost reduction should motivate them to use public transport instead of their automobiles.
3- Build your premises on brownfield land
One of the less well-known but most effective ways you can make your business more sustainable is to build your premises, whether that is an office block, factory, warehouse, shop, or refinery on brownfield land.
Brownfield land is land that has been previously developed or is currently not being used due to pollution from previous industrial use. To safely utilize such land, you will need to work closely with a remediation of brownfields expert, as they will be able to properly clean up the land before it is used for its new purpose. Then you will be able to reap the benefits of such land, including the fact that other high-quality land is not used for commercial purposes, that it’s cheaper for your business, and that it encourages environmental regeneration of the land.
4- Furnish your office secondhand
You can also make sure that your business is as sustainable as possible by eschewing brand-new office furniture and buying used stuff instead. In this way, you will save the valuable resources that would be needed to create new furniture, such as wood and metal, and the energy and fuel required to get them to the right place. Additionally, you will prevent the used items you choose from going into landfills.
The great thing about choosing used items for your business is that you can save a fortune as well, and pieces are often still in very good condition.
Decking out the office doesn’t have to mean paying top dollar for brand-new furniture.
5- Opt for a remote work model
Some businesses may be able to opt for a fully or partially remote model as a method of becoming more sustainable. This works because, without a physical office or premises to run, it is possible to save plenty of resources such as energy and water. Additionally, workers will use fewer resources because they will no longer need to commute to work every day.
The benefits don’t stop there, either, as remote working is often favored by employees as it’s easier, reduces their stress, and provides them with additional time reclaimed from the daily commute. Businesses can also save significant amounts of money by switching to a remote working model, which makes it a winning situation all around.
6- Switch to sustainable packaging
If your business produces a physical product, then you can make it significantly more sustainable by switching to more environmentally friendly packaging. The good news is that there are a range of ways that you can do this for your company.
One is to switch from plastic packaging to paper or card, as this can be recycled. Choosing already recycled paper or card will increase the level of sustainability you can achieve.
Another option is to use biodegradable options such as molded boxes or packing peanuts. These are great solutions if you have fragile items that need extra production when on the move, and they can be added to customers’ compost piles instead of creating landfill waste.
Finally, you may be able to recycle waste from your manufacturing process by packing materials such as shredding (non-confidential) documents or using fabric trimming that would only go to waste otherwise.
7- Reduce your energy usage
Last of all, one of the most effective things you can do to make your business more sustainable is to reduce the amount of energy you use in your day-to-day operations. This is particularly important because energy gained from fossil fuels is a finite resource and releases considerable pollution in its creation.
With that in mind, there are two key things you can do here. The first is to make changes in your business to reduce the amount of energy you use, such as switching to LED lights and more energy-efficient machines and making sure buildings are insulated to make them easier to heat and cool.
Secondly, using energy that comes from a sustainable source is also vital. Whether this power from the grid that comes from wind or solar farms or its energy that you generate yourselves onsite via similar means.