Government and environmental groups have long been lobbying the consumer to do more to act in a more environmentally conscious, greener way with these lifestyle changes gradually being adopted in some way or form by the majority. Whilst were not all eco-warriors, its now generally accepted that we shouldn’t waste water, our houses should be effectively insulated and that we should be looking at alternatives to fossil fuels. If nothing else, the personal cost savings these green measures have brought the individual in recession-hit times have spurred us on to embrace these eco-friendly actions.
Most consumers prefer to buy from green businesses
This rise in eco-awareness has brought a change in the way many people choose which businesses to deal with. Its estimated that around two thirds of consumers would actively choose a business which had measures in place to reduce its carbon emissions over ones which didn’t. So its great business sense to find out what you can do at your workplace or retail space to create a more environmentally friendly business and then make sure your customers know about it.
What are the best ways to create a greener business without impacting on your profits or changing your core business offerings? Take a look at our top tips on small and larger ways you can keep your business eco-friendly as well as keeping your bank manager happy.
1. Carbon Saving
Theres a huge amount of ways you can cut your carbon footprint in the workplace without making a dent in your bank balance. Simple measures such as incorporating a workplace housekeeping policy to ensure that all electrical equipment is turned off when not in use is easy to do and can save you £s. If you’re forgetful, add inexpensive timer devices to plug sockets and activate energy saving modes on computer monitors and other equipment. For more information on how to reduce carbon emissions in your business, take a look at the Carbon Trust website which has lots of helpful advice and even offers an accreditation scheme and a way to apply for 0% loans for carbon reduction initiatives.
2. Reduce Waste
Landfill tax is expensive for a reason our small country is bursting at the seams with domestic and business waste. Make sure you have a recycling scheme in place and check out your local council policy on what can and cant be recycled, as this differs from area to area. If you’re a restaurant or other business producing food waste, did you know that much of this can be turned into biofuel, which is a renewable energy source and it can be cheaper to get your waste collected by a biofuel operation than by the council?
3. Become paper-free
Offices and business can vastly reduce their paper consumption by adopting new technology and it doesn’t have to be expensive. Business accounting software such as Fusion Accounts keeps your accounting documentation securely stored online, meaning an end to vast files of paperwork and continual trips to the printer cartridge store. With Fusions accounting software you can also email your invoices rather than printing and posting them. There are many other ways you can reduce paper consumption whilst increasing efficiency, using small business software such as online digital contract systems like EchoSign, subscribing to digital versions of publications and keeping all your other office documents hosted online rather than printed out. It’ll streamline your business process and keep your offices tidy at the same time!
4. Support biodiversity
Did you know 2010 is the United Nations International Year of Biodiversity? Simply put, biodiversity is about celebrating and protecting the diversity of life on Earth. Its a great PR opportunity for your business to get involved with the local community and get your green credentials out there for instance, you could involve local children in planting a wildflower area on your premises or support a tree planting initiative. There are also existing schemes out there which you can join for instance, the Food for Thought initiative which involves restaurants and diners in raising funds for sustainable tree planting in the developing world. Check out the UN Biodiversity website for more ideas on how to take part.
5. Give something back
Are you planning an office or business refit, or just buying a new office desk? Take advantage of schemes such as Green Works which collect unwanted office furniture and recycle it to small businesses, charities and schools. Freecycle is another community initiative which provides homes for anything you’ve grown out of or otherwise don’t need, not just furniture and Freecyclers will typically come and collect the same day. It saves your business time and effort and means your unloved items find a new lease of life.