‘Sustainability’ is about co-existing with our planet in a safe way, i.e., not doing things that will damage Earth, like cutting down trees, etc. Most of us have been taught about ways to be green since we were in school, like recycling, reducing waste at home, using eco-eggs in our laundry, etc but what about the changes we can make in our business?
In this blog, I want to share some of the changes I’ve been making with my working processes to be sustainable in my business and do my bit for the environment. I hope you will adopt some of them too.
Your computer can be used for good
Did you know that you can actually improve the environment with your computer? There’s an amazing search engine called Ecosia which will actually plant a tree every time someone searches for something with them. Visit Ecosia.org to add the extension to your preferred browser and start searching and planting trees today!
There are also carbon-neutral web hosting solutions and other digital-based companies that will plant trees to reduce their impact on the planet and use 100% renewable energy sources. So, when it comes to renewing agreements with your suppliers, do use Ecosia to search for other alternative options that might be greener.
Of course, we can reduce our own impact from our computer use, by:
- Recycling ink cartridges and buying re-used cartridges
- Only printing what we really need to
- Setting our ink use to the ‘eco’ option where available
- Printing on both sides of the paper (and re-using the rest by writing notes on the back, etc)
- Putting used paper in the recycling bin
- Only charging a laptop when needed and using it unplugged the rest of the time
- Only charging devices during the day so they’re not wasting electricity overnight
Consider the impact of your shopping habits
How many deliveries do you get each week for your business? Maybe you don’t shop online and so it’s very few, or perhaps you are keen to get online and buy what you need when you need it so often open the door to your postman, Amazon driver and other couriers.
Can you change your shopping habits to reduce the number of deliveries to your business?
Perhaps you could find a supplier where you can get everything from one place rather than using multiple suppliers? Or could you opt for collection from a courier drop-off point at a shop or supermarket and pick up the items during your regular shop, on foot ideally of course?
If you post items out to customers, is there a more sustainable approach you can take with this? Could you post everything out once or twice a week to save you/your couriers repeated trips to your premises? If your customers are local, could you deliver yourself or hire a local cycling courier to do it for you?
Can you change your working processes to be more sustainable?
Just like we’re looking for ways to save energy in our homes, are there things you can be doing in your business premises and ways of working to have the same effect? Some considerations of areas to look at are:
- Do your services/meetings have to be done in person or can they be done online?
- Do you really need to hold a meeting when an email or phone call would get the same result?
- Can you upgrade/maintain your equipment to make it more efficient?
- Can you turn off lights, equipment and heating/air con in areas not being used?
- Can you turn off the wall sockets when you leave so energy isn’t being used for idle equipment?
- If you have employees, consider if remote working for part of the week may work
- Consider if outsourcing some of your workload could save on energy resources as much as your time and personal energy
Obviously, every small business is different and rather than large companies, our energy footprint is likely to be much lower but any small action you can take to be more sustainable will combine with the actions of others to help our planet thrive again.