All businesses have ethical responsibilities that they should follow. Part of this includes a responsibility to treat employees fairly, equally and morally, as well as providing quality goods or services to customers.
In addition, business owners have a duty to consider ethical issues relating to the environment and the impact your business’s actions may have on it. Awareness of these issues is important for numerous reasons and going green can have many benefits.
In this post, we’ll take a look at some of the ways businesses can be more environmentally aware.
Benefits of Going Green
Analysing the impact of your business’s actions on the environment and making an effort to go green will increase your environmental consciousness and potentially spur you on to make more improvements. Here are some business benefits of going green:
Businesses require customers to thrive and, as a whole, customers are becoming increasingly green-minded. This means that the way your brand is perceived can be important, with many customers now considering ethical responsibility and carbon footprint before choosing where to buy products.
Consumers in the millennial category are more likely to do business with ethical brands and businesses that are considered green. This shouldn’t be ignored by businesses, especially since the spending power of this market is growing considerably and currently estimated as being worth $200 billion.
In short, going green could help your business’s image, help to retain and bring in new customers, as well as helping you to stand out among competitors.
Although many owners worry about implementing greener practices, fearing they will cost a small fortune, going green can save businesses money. This means that adopting environmentally friendly practices could reduce company expenditure, while also helping to boost profits through brand appeal.
Some of the ways in which your costs could be reduced include:
- Fewer overhead expenses – going paperless can save you money on paper, printer and maintenance costs
- Using less energy – encouraging green practices like switching off computers and controlling the heating to only switch on when it’s needed could have a significant impact on bills. Replacing old appliances with green counterparts can contribute to savings too (e.g. LED lighting that lasts longer and uses less energy)
- Use teleconferencing to save money on travel and accommodation costs
While customers are important, don’t forget about your employees. Staff care about the kind of organisation they work for and tend to choose employers whose ethical practices align with their own.
As mentioned earlier, this is an increasing concern for millennials and businesses should be aware of this as this age category enters the workplace. This means that going greener could attract better talent. It could also boost retention rates, providing savings on recruitment, too.
Ways to Go Green
Printing lots of documents, increasing file storage, and upgrading hard drives all cost money. This is unnecessary as you could store everything online. This means you can stop buying paper, replacing ink cartridges and adding to landfill. All of this is greener and could save your business money. It also allows staff to access documents from anywhere.
While most businesses require some form of physical office space or facility, you can reduce this by employing a virtual workforce. This could help your business to save money on rent and utilities, while also reducing the number of cars on the road. This provides savings for your business and makes it greener, too.
Telecommuting may not be practical for every company, but there are ways to adopt green forms of transport. This could include introducing a Cycle to Work Scheme, encouraging staff to use public transport (particularly for meetings and company events), or starting a car sharing scheme amongst your workforce. You could even introduce incentives for green employees.
Spending on utilities can cost a business a small fortune. Instead, look for ways to reduce energy usage, to save money and reduce your company’s carbon footprint. This includes switching to LED light bulbs, upgrading old energy-guzzling equipment for new efficient models, turning off electricals when they’re not in use, turning down the heating, and reducing waste.
All of these could save your business money and make it greener. For further potential savings, you could switch to a different business utility provider, with a business energy broker such as Utilitywise helping you to find the right contract – including renewable/green energy contracts.
Ban Convenience Items
The majority of offices will be filled with convenience items, most of which probably aren’t recyclable. These range from throwaway coffee cups to paper towels for hand drying and plastic water bottles. Simply encourage employees to bring their own reusable cups and refillable water bottles, both for use in the workplace and if they regularly buy hot drinks from a local coffee branch. Some have even begun to offer small discounts for using them. Single-cup pod coffee makers can be an efficient choice, as can converting to warm-air hand dryers rather than using paper towels.
Use Biodegradable Cleaning Products
Biodegradable cleaning products not only reduce the chance of whoever is involved in cleaning your workplace from being exposed to harsh toxins but eliminates them being introduced into the environment. There are many high quality natural cleaning products available to switch to, from dishwasher tablets to toilet cleaner.
Replace Inefficient Appliances
Getting an energy audit done on your workplace can highlight areas for improvement. It’s likely that if you have some appliances such as microwaves, fridges and dishwashers that have been there for years, they won’t be the most efficient options. Do some research and replace any highly inefficient appliances with much newer, greener ones. It will cost more in the first place, but the savings made on bills in the long run should be worth it.
Source Green Products
Any business that provides regular free food for its employees and client meetings should focus on where this is coming from. Use sustainable sources that are local, such as getting fruit from a nearby farm and that use sustainable methods. Try to avoid places that use excess packaging or ensure that it can be recycled if possible.
Finally, most businesses donate to at least one charity on a regular basis, so why not make this one that promotes a greener way of living? It could be a local community recycling project, environmental charity or any other kind of sustainable idea.