While society’s attitudes towards the green agenda often puts carbon-producing multinationals like BP and Boeing firmly in the spotlight, smaller businesses producing much lower quantities of carbon have a role to play too.
Save the planet and boost your business
Adopting more environmentally-friendly policies doesn’t just make sense in terms of saving the planet – it also makes good business sense.
There has never been a greater emphasis on sustainability, with government legislation, and customer and employee expectation all playing their part in driving business towards a more sustainable future.
More public and private sector organisations are adopting procurement rules that compel suppliers to demonstrate their commitment to reducing their carbon footprint.
Customers often prefer to do business with companies that operate in a sustainable manner. And for many millennials joining the workforce, potential employers’ sense of corporate social responsibility – including their environmental policies – is key.
Many smaller businesses can also enjoy direct financial benefits from adopting environmentally friendly policies, with significant savings in reduced energy and transport costs.
What can my business do?
According to CitySprint research from October 2018, SMEs that want to become more sustainable should focus on the following areas:
- Reducing and recycling waste – 57% of responding SMEs
- Using sustainable and eco-friendly office supplies – 46%
- Using sustainable materials for products – 39%
- Using renewable energy resources – 30%
- Using low-emission vehicles – 30%
Think globally, act locally
Waste costs your business money, and if you reduce the amount of waste you produce, you’ll also reduce the amount of money you spend disposing of it. In fact, research indicates that around one third of businesses actually see a reduction in costs after making their operations more sustainable – and this will only increase as ‘green’ technology becomes less pricey.
Switching to recycled paper and packaging, changing to eco-friendly energy providers or even planting carbon-offsetting trees are obvious first steps for a business that wants to become more sustainable.
Switching off lights and equipment when not in use, using energy efficient bulbs and business-wide recycling schemes are all ‘quick wins’ that can be implemented relatively quickly and easily. They might not seem much on their own but they can be very effective in getting the ball rolling.
The government’s cycle to work scheme has encouraged around 180,000 people a year to cycle to work since it began 20 years ago. Staff from participating businesses are able to reduce the price of a new bicycle by up to 40% off via reductions in their income tax and National Insurance.
As well as saving staff money, this also reduces the amount they spend on fares and fuel. Cycling to work has been linked to lower obesity rates in employees (compared to those travelling by car), and healthier staff lose fewer days to ill health.
This kind of proactive action by small businesses clearly demonstrates that your organisation takes its sustainability commitments seriously. It’s the kind of positive PR you simply cannot buy.
The big question is, can your business afford to not get involved in our shared sustainable future?
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