We all have a role to play in tackling climate change, but businesses are at the forefront of helping nations hit their net-zero targets. Whilst it’s undeniably big businesses and corporations who emit the most greenhouse gases, small businesses need to re-think their green credentials, too.
If you’re a business owner, you have a corporate social responsibility to make your business as eco-friendly as it can be. Luckily, this doesn’t have to mean making expensive and costly changes – there are a number of small steps you can take to make your company more sustainable.
To help you get started, here are five suggestions you can implement almost immediately.
1. Allow flexible working
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced many businesses to introduce working from home as an option for their employees, but as the pandemic begins to taper off, many companies are bringing their employees back into the workplace. For some industries, this is essential, but for others, jobs can be carried out just as effectively at home – particularly in white-collar industries.
If your business is office-based, there is a way you can strike the perfect combination of safe working during the pandemic, giving your employees a better work/life balance, and making your company more sustainable as a whole. This is through flexible working.
Giving your employees the option to work from home a couple of times a week means they don’t need to commute in, reducing their CO2 output and helping to lower the carbon emissions of your business as a whole.
2. Digitize processes and record-keeping
The next way you can make your business more sustainable is to digitize processes and record-keeping. Many companies still rely on paper copies to complete certain processes and procedures, the bulk of which could be done online.
For example, you can store client details and information on a CRM system, removing the need to print off multiple copies of the same information. In addition, you can digitize work schedules so that they’re not only accessible to everyone at any time, but also so that you’re not routinely using paper that will only end up in the bin.
3. Look at the supply chain
One part of running a business that has a huge eco-impact is the supply chain. A lot of people overlook this as a way to improve sustainability, but it plays a massive role and can contribute greatly to your company becoming more eco-friendly in the long run.
Things to look at include where you’re sourcing your materials from – try and find local suppliers at a reasonable rate instead of shipping from overseas by default. In addition, look at shipping methods – look to use plastic pallets over single-use timber ones and choose the shipping method that produces the least amount of CO2.
4. Shop sustainably
Every business needs to shop for supplies, and this means you need to think about the type of things you’re buying and where from. For example, you could purchase recycled paper, refurbished office equipment, and plastic-free stationery supplies. You can also look into basic supplies like toilet roll and cleaning products and find eco-friendly alternatives.
5. Reduce waste
Finally, look to reduce waste. This means encouraging your employees to recycle what they can, providing re-usable options for things like cutlery and crockery, and upcycling or donating suitable items to a better cause. This could be furniture or electrical equipment. As the saying goes, one person’s junk is another person’s treasure, and as much waste you can keep out of landfills as possible takes you one step closer to being more sustainable.
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