Two-thirds of people now believe climate change is a global emergency, according to a global opinion poll by the United Nations Development Programme. The survey shows broad support for policies such as increased conservation, greater use of renewable energy and the adoption of new farming methods. But there’s an expectation on business to be more eco-friendly too.
As consumers become more conscious about their carbon footprint, businesses have a central role to play. But becoming a more sustainable business doesn’t have to mean spending lots of money. Nor does any change have to be dramatic or achieved overnight. In many cases, all it takes are some minor alterations in working practices to set yourself on an eco-friendlier path.
Go paperless with digital or e-solutions
One such example is reducing the amount of paper that your business consumes. In previous research, estimates suggested that an average office worker used 10,000 sheets of paper per year. Adopting digital and electronic solutions can, however, reduce reliance on paper.
You can, for example, stop sending out paper invoices and instead email password-protected PDF versions. Elsewhere, digital signatures can remove the need for physical contracts.
Reusing and recycling existing materials
A UK government report estimates that commercial and industrial waste generation was 37.2 million tonnes in 2018. While there are some “data limitations and data gaps” in the report, it does show how much waste material can be produced – not least when a business has a huge number of employees. And yet even small incremental change can have a lasting impact.
The provision of recycling facilities such as paper waste bins can be one solution. You can also encourage employees to use a bottle brush to clean the inside of glass bottles and jars to help ensure they can be properly recycled. Many materials that are commonly used in business can be recycled – including cardboard, metal, plastics and even electrical items or appliances.
Cut the carbon footprint of the commute
One way in which employees will inadvertently add to the carbon footprint of your business is the commute. Of course, employees need to get to and from their place of work somehow. In offering and encouraging incentives to do so in a more sustainable way, there are ways to cut that commuting carbon footprint.
For some, it could mean taking advantage of a ‘cycle to work‘ scheme. Or perhaps employees who live near one another can share lifts. Season ticket loans for public transport is one more potential solution to encourage your employees out of the car – and into work – in a way that could have a positive effect on the environment.
As we can see, some of the changes to help your business become more sustainable are small in scale. But even a relatively minor shift in behaviour can have a much greater impact overall. Some businesses are perhaps able to take it further with bigger initiatives. The most important thing, however, is that all businesses do their part to combat the climate concerns we’re facing.