The environmental debate has been raging for years now, but what does that have to do with your business? The answer is everything. Improving your environmental and social performance will not only ensure that your business survives, but will actually save you money as well. And we all know that every business needs to cut costs wherever it can so as to remain viable in today’s innovative and competitive marketplace.
Why the environment matters to your business
There are several good reasons to concern yourself with pollution and make your business more environmentally friendly, including:
- Brand improvement – Consumers are becoming more environmentally aware by the day. Not only will a lot of them opt for businesses and products they consider eco-friendly, but in a growing number of cases, they actually boycott those that aren’t
- It will soon be the law – Governments and industries are under increasing pressure to reduce the environmental impact of businesses. Acting now to improve your environmental credentials will put your business in a much better position to be able to implement changes when they become compulsory
- It will ensure continued supply – Even if you’re a small to medium business, you rely on suppliers for your products and materials. If those suppliers are penalised for their environmentally unfriendly activities then you will be tarred with the same brush, so cleaning up your supply chain now will ensure continued supply for your business into the future.
Things you can do to fight pollution
You don’t have be out on the streets campaigning against deforestation and pollution. There are a lot of small things that every business can do, regardless of its size, to have a day-to-day positive impact on the environment:
Reduce your energy consumption
Every business uses a lot of energy, from lighting, heating, and cooling to the operation of computers, office equipment, and machinery. By incorporating a few simple rules into your business methodology, you can substantially reduce your carbon footprint. Turn lights and appliances off when not in use, replace them with more energy-efficient models over time, run heating and cooling at recommended levels, and make your premises more energy efficient with things such as solar panels and insulation.
Reduce your pollution levels
Many businesses run vehicles, whether a single van or an entire fleet, and these vehicles are emitting carbon every time they are in use. Consider leasing smaller, less energy-hungry vehicles, convert them to run on LPG, or at the very least ensure that they are regularly serviced and maintained so as to minimise their environmental impact.
Motivate your employees
Encourage your staff to carpool or bike ride to and from work, provide incentives for energy-saving ideas, and generally make your employees aware of their environmental responsibilities as representatives of your business. And always lead by example, taking the train to work instead of driving, or using the stairs instead of the lift.
Reduce, reuse, and recycle
If you don’t already, start using recycled paper and only print when you need to, using both sides of the paper. Recycle everything from paper to electronics (if recyclable) rather than dumping them in landfill. Investigate buy-back schemes for old computers, monitors, and mobile phones, or donate them to schools and charities to give them a new life.
To show your customers and potential customers that you are taking positive environmental steps, consider using canvas or hemp bags as promotional materials.
Your business will benefit financially
As well as having an impact on your carbon emissions, all of these actions will save your business money by:
- Providing big savings in electricity over time,
- Producing ongoing savings in fuel and running costs,
- Bringing in new customers that are drawn to your brand’s eco-friendly practices and ideals.
It’s a win-win situation to implement these ecofriendly strategies, and a lose-lose if you fail do so.