What can businesses do to reduce their environmental impact?
9 Nov, 2017
Being eco-friendly is high on many businesses’ agendas. Not a day goes by without reminders in the news about the damaging effect that we are all having on the planet. However, many businesses struggle to know exactly what they can do in practical terms to reduce their impact. Here we set out some key ideas to help you get started:
Printing is not only a key cost for businesses, but is also a huge area for waste. You could try some of the following to reduce both your costs and your environmental impact:
- Implement a policy of reduced or no printing;
- If you do need to print use both sides of the paper when printing where possible which you may find cuts your paper consumption by half;
- Reuse boxes that you receive packages in to send out items again;
- Have paper recycling boxes around the office so that staff can recycle where they can including waste papers, lunch wrappers etc.;
- Avoid colour printing if possible – set printers to automatically print in black and white;
- Buy recycled toner and ink – this can reduce the amount of metal and plastics going to landfill;
- Distribute memos via e-mail rather than as hardcopies;
- Place staff manual, handbooks and policies online rather than printing out large hardcopy documents;
- Invest in air hand driers in staff bathrooms to avoid using paper towels.
If you do not have a fleet of vehicles, you may not realise that transportation is an area for you to be able to reduce your environmental impact. However, have you considered the following?:
- Encourage your staff to walk or bike to work;
- Offer a bonus for those members of staff using a ‘green’ mode of transport – include public transport and electric cars within this policy not just biking or walking;
- Consider flexible working so that not all staff are in the office at once and allow staff to work from home to avoid a commute in to the office one day a week for example;
- Pair employees up by location and ask if they want to arrange a car share scheme. Again, you could include participants in any bonus scheme you implement for ‘green’ modes of transport;
- If you do offer company vehicles, consider including electric or hybrids in the options available to employees;
- Where possible, try videoconferencing clients/customers rather than travelling to visit them; particularly where they are based a long way from your own business.
When it comes to energy, small changes can make a big difference long term. Why not try out a few of the following and see what effect it can have on your business?
- Try setting thermostats a few degrees higher in summer and a few degrees lower in the winter;
- Replace light bulbs to energy efficient LED bulbs. These are the most energy efficient lighting technology available on the market. They last much longer and are more durable than other types of lighting.
- If your offices have periods where they are not in use (e.g. evenings and weekend), try having an out of hours thermostat setting to conserve energy when no-one is in the building;
- Make sure that lights are turned off when rooms/buildings are not in use. You could also invest in automatic switches so that lights switch off in rooms that are not in use;
- Unplug computers when not in use. Encourage staff to completely shut down PCs after hours;
- Look out for energy saving appliances when replacing this includes, computers, printers, fridges etc.;
A few others
- Use reusable tableware for lunches/events that you host;
- Provide filtered water for staff to avoid them purchasing bottled water;
- Consider installing a water boiler in the staff kitchen to avoid the need to boil the kettle;
The above are just ideas that we have and indeed implement in our own business. You may well have your own thoughts and we’d love to hear about what you do in your own business. If you need a bit more guidance and would like to know more about obtaining ISO 14001 Environmental Management System to get to grips with your environmental impact, why not attend our next training course on 23 November 2017 or call our Client Services team on 01905 670303.
ISO Quality Services Ltd are proud to specialise in the implementation and certification of the Internationally recognised ISO and BS EN Management Standards.
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