The world is slowly waking up to the need for sustainability and it’s no fad that will be gone this time next year: it’s crucial to our survival on this planet.  Your business has a responsibility to keep sustainability at the heart of its operations: it’s environmentally necessary, it makes economic sense and it’s essential for a good public image.  Continual reduction in wastage should be an annual target and you should always be looking for ways to improve sustainability.  Here are some starting points.

Choose the right energy supplier

Ensure that you are getting the greenest energy available by going to comparethemarket.com and refining your search results by clicking the ’green’ option under ‘tariff type’.

Go paperless

You probably can’t go entirely paperless, but by only printing documents when absolutely necessary you’ll make a huge saving.  What would happen if you got rid of that fax machine and photocopier, you’d save a huge amount of money on cartridges, paper and energy that’s for sure.  Digital documents are quicker to access, and they can be accessed from any location. Cloud based accounting systems offer high levels of data security and provide automatic back-ups, so you don’t ever have to worry about losing data.

Limit the use of single use plastic

Have you got a water dispenser or coffee machine with a stack of plastic cups which end up in the bin after a few sips?  The UK throws away 2.5 billion coffee cups each year and less than 1% of them are recycled.  Get your staff on board, ‘Blue Planet 2’ has raised awareness of microplastic pollution, switching to reusable drinking containers is likely to be met with enthusiasm rather than opposition.

Recycle

Bottles, cans, paper and batteries can all be recycled.  Make it easy for your staff to recycle by providing plenty of recycling bins and encourage them to use them.

Make your office building energy efficient

Insulate effectively, use LED light bulbs and consider installing solar panels.  Buy energy efficient equipment and phase out old energy hungry machines.  Make use of natural light and turn off unnecessary lighting.  The UK wastes £170 million a year by leaving lights on.  Phone chargers use only 5% of the power they draw to charge the phone so don’t leave them plugged in.  Only fill kettles to the amount needed.  Reduce the brightness of monitors and set screens to go to sleep after five minutes.  These may all seem like little things, but the annual savings are significant and all that’s needed to achieve them is to increase awareness and to encourage a change in workplace behaviour.

Hold a fundraiser for a renewable energy charity

A good way to kickstart a sustainability initiative and raise staff awareness of the issues is by focussing on the work of a renewable energy charity like the Rocky Mountain Institute whose proclaimed mission is to ‘transform global energy use to create a clean, prosperous and secure low-carbon future’, an ambition which your business should share.