No matter what type of business you run, becoming eco-conscious is a step towards ensuring your business does well to the world around you. Whether it be changing up your fleet policy to be kinder to the environment, to doing away with printed communication to save paper, there are many steps a business owner can take towards having a green business.
Here, we’ll take a look at some of the elements of running a sustainable business in 2019.
Analyse Your Business’ Effects on the Environment
There will be some businesses that are always going to have more of an effect on the environment than others. Independent businesses with few employees and a small premise are likely to cause less damage than a courier business, for example, which operates using vehicles that produce carbon.
You should start by looking at the way your business runs and what areas/processes bring about the most damage. A full risk assessment is a good idea with any company, but an environmental risk assessment is something that can help you and all your employees understand areas where improvements can be made.
Think About Travel
One of the biggest causes of environmental instability in the world is transport. Cars, vans and motorbikes all give off dangerous chemicals, as we all know, so minimising their use where possible is always advised.
Unfortunately, there are some businesses that will always need to utilise fleet vehicles – such as delivery and logistics companies, taxi businesses, and tradesmen travelling from job to job. In these instances, it is a good idea to look at revising your fleet policy to reflect a better way of operating. Perhaps you could install telematics or black boxes in your fleet vehicles to monitor things like distance, driving performance and petrol usage. This will help inform your new policy and give your drivers better clarity of where they can improve.
Moreover, the prevalence of electric and hybrid cars and vans could make a huge difference to your business’ carbon footprint. If you are replacing any old vehicles, consider looking into more environmentally-sound makes and models.
Do You Need and Office?
With the advances in technology and remote working, you could find that having an actual office premise is unnecessary. Offices run on many energy sources – from electricity and heating to the energy spent on your employees travelling to and from work.
If your business can be operated remotely and your employees can enjoy the same levels of productivity as they would in an office, why not reduce your overheads by negating rent, energy bills and other operating expenses.
If your business does need a working premise, make sure to assess it in detail. Older buildings may have leaking pipes or gaps around windows that let the heat out. You can easily sort these things out either through your landlord or, if you are the property owner, you can arrange short-term repairs that can have real long-term positive effects.
Choose the Right Supplies & Go Paperless
With a green business, you need to think about both big and small. Reducing your carbon footprint outside the office is one thing, but dedication to the cause means looking a bit more deeply into certain elements of your day-to-day activities.
For example, you should choose eco-friendly cleaning supplies that do not contain harmful ingredients and try to opt for recyclable packaging where possible. If your office or premises is cleaned by a third-party company, ask if they offer further sustainable practices.
Although this is a given in many modern businesses, going paperless with your correspondence and filing is a great way of saving paper and reducing the need for printers. Choose digital filing systems where possible and try not to print off emails.
The Costs of Going Green
Of course, with any change to your business or if you are setting up a brand new one, there will be costs. Changing policies and practices can sometimes cause animosity among employees who have been doing things one way for a considerable period. The emotional costs can be mitigated by giving some of the power to your staff in terms of getting their ideas and advice. Make sure people are a part of the changes being made, so they understand that these amendments are there to benefit the wider world as well as themselves.
The financial costs can also be mitigated with various funding schemes designed to help pay for changes to your business that go on to benefit the environment. From better waste management to carbon-neutral web hosting, there is a wide range of funding options available to businesses of all sizes.
Barclays Bank offers a Green Cashback loan of up to £50,000 to small businesses who are committed to making green initiatives happen. There are also many councils grants available for local businesses to help the infrastructure of the area become green and maintain their new practices without financial detriment to the business.
With so many options available and many methods to success, your business can futureproof itself and make a real difference to the world with just a few of these steps.