BUSINESS: Why going green makes sense
11:48am Thursday 17th June 2010 in News By Hannah Holdroyd, Federation of Small Businesses
Whatever your thoughts on the causes, it cannot be denied that one of the most important challenges we will all face in both our business and personal lives will be that of climate change.
Becoming more environmentally sustainable can seem sometimes like too big a challenge.
However, there are a number of measures we can all take which not only help us become more sustainable, but could also help your business save money.
Once these small measures are taken, the challenge of climate change does not seem so insurmountable.
Top tips to help green your business
- Reduce water use: Thirty per cent of daily water use is used in toilet flushing. By simply placing a Save-a-Flush displacement device in your cistern you could save potentially hundreds of pounds in your water bill. In London, you can contact Thames Water for a free one.
- Reduce energy use: For every degree turned down from the thermostat, approximately 10 per cent of your heating bill will be saved. Also, by occasionally walking through your premises checking radiators you may find that some are turned on that do not need to be set to as high a temperature as others.
- Sustainable transport: Encouraging walking or cycling to work where possible cuts down petrol and other associated driving costs and can improve the health and wellbeing of you and if applicable your employees. Consolidate journeys where possible for deliveries and other business-essential journeys.
- Makes less waste: Setting the default on all your printers to double-sided printing will save you money. Think about printing on one side, rather than the other way around. Try to avoid unnecessary printing, and save waste printed paper for scrap or note paper. Where possible save items for recycling, and if you do not have recycling services, see if they can be taken to the local recycling bins, often located in supermarket car parks. If transport is an issue, recycle little and often.
- Food: Where practical, buy bulk, buy local and buy seasonal to reduce transport, mileage, and storage costs respectively.
- Raise awareness: Provide information on your own sustainability measures and ‘green achievements’ to your customers, clients, suppliers and trading partners and encourage them to be more sustainable by leading by example.
- Opportunity: Many customers and clients are looking for greener businesses to take their custom to. Make a feature of your sustainability practises to take advantage of this sector of the market.
- Policy: Establish an environmental policy to ensure compliance and avoid financial penalties, for example if you have vehicles that are subject to the low emission zone. Feel free to start small, with a commitment to make small steps, and expand the policy as your sustainability practises grow.
Hannah Holdroyd is the London policy officer for the Federation of Small Business, the UK’s leading business organisation. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org