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7 quick wins for a more environmentally sustainable business

Written by Bedfordshire Chamber of Commerce | 27 Dec 2018

Every business is to some extent, feeling the pressure to behave in a more environmentally responsible way. But doing so requires effort and time that some of us simply do not have.

We’ve put together this post to help you with some simple and easy wins that will not only get you on your way to environmental sustainability but will encourage a more circular mindset, educate staff and reduce your environmental footprint.

   1. Cycle/walk to work schemes

One of the biggest impacts on the environment is transportation emissions.

And, an alarming proportion of this is fuelled (excuse the pun!) by the daily commute.

It is predicted that in time, the emissions produced by petroleum and diesel will contribute to climate change, acid rain and smog. But so much of that could be reduced if more of us chose to cycle or walk to work. Or even, make simple changes like lift-sharing which can also save you money and wear and tear on your car. Alternatively, many commuters now favour public transportation as a means of reducing their daily emissions.

    2. Reusable water bottles and coffee cups

The average worker produces around 2.9lbs of waste during the 8 hours working day. One simple way to reduce that significantly is by ditching single-use water bottles and coffee cups. As a business, encouraging the use of reusable water bottles, coffee cups and Tupperware could see a significant reduction in the amount of waste generated over the course of a year. Either contributing or offering free or discounted access to reusable cups and bottles incentivises staff to adhere to a more circular way of living, and resist the urge to buy shop bought coffee and water on the way into work.

If you are running a business that relies on coffee and water sales, why not offer incentives to customers who bring their own reusable cups?

    3. Plumbed in water filter/water filter tap

These days, it’s not uncommon for employees to expect access to clean, safe and filtered water. But these sources often come from large plastic containers and with endless plastic cups. Often, plastic cups that we don’t even use or need.

Firstly, could you refuse your plastic cup delivery entirely? And, if you’re serious about the environmental investment and have the funds to do so, you could have your filtered water source plumbed into the mains in order to reduce your repetitive plastic usage.

    4. Recycle

Sounds simple, but it’s astonishing how many businesses are yet to implement a stricter recycling procedure. Even just having a recycle bin isn’t as common as you might assume, with many office buildings having to chase up their local council to have one delivered. But it’s worth the small effort. It’s crucial that businesses implement the correct recycling facilities because of the sheer amount of recyclable materials generated by companies alone. And, if individuals begin behaving in a more environmentally conscious way while at work, it’s likely these behaviours will find their way into their domestic environment too.

   5. Glass milk bottle deliveries

A lot of us rely on our daily caffeine fix to function. And many of us can’t forgo a splash of milk in our tea or coffee. But all those plastic cartons of milk add up and to the detriment of the environment.

A simple switch to glass bottles that can be returned to the supplier for reuse can make a huge difference. Companies such as Milk&More offer deliveries in multiple areas at competitive costs. And hey, it makes for a nice hit of nostalgia too.

    6. Turn it off

Encourage staff to switch off equipment that isn’t in use. Electricity usage is another large contributor to your overall environmental footprint. Switching off lights, computer equipment and phones at the end of the day could reduce as much as 50% of energy used. And it’s so easy to do!

   7. Clean up

Even the cleaning products you use could be emitting harmful chemicals into the environment. A simple switch to biodegradable cleaning equipment and products could dramatically reduce your business’ impact on the environment. Most biodegradable products come in biodegradable packaging too, so it’s a sensible move if you’re trying to adopt a greener way of living and working.

Making the effort to become more environmentally responsible is not only one that will impact your carbon footprint but also your bottom line. There are notable business benefits to environmental advocacy, as businesses that ‘do good’ are generally viewed more positively by potential partners, buyers and employees. Trying to implement these quick and easy wins could see measurable changes in business success when it comes to sales, profit and staff retention.

Let us know if you already employ any of these tips, or if you have any other suggestions on how to operate a business in a more environmentally sustainable way.

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Topics: environmental advocacy

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