No matter the size of your business, introducing greener work practices should be top of the new year agenda. By making moves to reduce, reuse and recycle, you’ll not only help save the planet, you’ll reduce your energy costs and appeal to likeminded customers.
Whatever the political situation, an increasing number of people in Australia and New Zealand value environmental sustainability in business practices. And they’re changing their purchasing habits as a result.
By adopting and spruiking your eco-credentials, you’re not only able to attract and retain environment-minded clientele, you’re also likely to entice – and keep – more staff, with the HP Australia Environmental Sustainability Study 2018 revealing 70 percent of 22 to 30-year-old Australians would prefer to work for a company with environmentally sustainable practices.
To make 2020 your greenest year yet, here are 20 easy eco-resolutions for your business.
Encourage your staff to reduce their carbon footprint – while getting fit – by cycling to work. Install a secure bike rack in the office, then don your helmet and get riding.
Being more flexible and allowing employees to work from home once a week – or more – is a sustainability no-brainer. As well as keeping cars off the road, fewer people in the office equals less energy consumption. It’s a win-win.
Place a total ban on takeaway coffee cups and remove disposable cups from your water cooler. Instead, ask staff to bring in their own refillable water bottles and coffee cups.
To discourage employees from accepting throw-away cutlery from the local café, make sure your staff kitchen is fully stocked. And if you don’t want to deny forgetful staff their caffeine fix? Have a spare stash of KeepCups on hand.
Coffee is the fuel of worker bees, so having a pod machine on site might seem like an investment in productivity. But with Aussies consuming around six million coffee pods daily and only five percent recyclable, it’s a disaster for the environment.
If you already have a machine – don’t chuck it! Instead, purchase Crema Joe’s reusable coffee capsules, or sign up to their new coffee pod refill and exchange service (currently Melbourne only).
The staff bathroom is another spot where you can make simple changes. Stock up on 100 percent recycled loo roll from Who Gives A Crap, and know that 50 percent of profits will be used to build toilets in developing countries.
Paper hand towels may be convenient, but they can’t be recycled once used. For a smaller environmental footprint, consider swapping to a high-speed hand dryer.
With cloud-based computing, responsible businesses are making moves towards ditching paper. If going 100 percent paperless is not feasible for your business, make as many small changes as you can.
Introduce paperless billing, discourage staff and customers from printing emails (pop a reminder in your email signature!), and print double-sided.
Always buy recycled printing paper and recycle your own documents once you’re done with them. If privacy is an issue, buy a paper shredder and shred everything before recycling.
Do a sustainability audit of all your suppliers, and support those with green initiatives. Also shop local where possible to reduce transport miles.
Changing to LED lighting will reduce energy consumption and save you money. Install sensor lights in lower-traffic areas, and make sure all lights go off at home time.
If your office kitchen has a dishwasher, make sure it’s on eco mode and that staff are only running full loads.
Not only do plants look great, they’ve been shown to increase productivity in the workplace. They also help purify the air and reduce stress.
Have dedicated bins for general waste and different types of recycling (paper, ink cartridges, bottles and cans, etc). Make sure these are clearly marked and positioned for convenience. Make your own signs, or you can download some here.
If half your staff are wearing jumpers in the height of summer, something is NQR. Turning the temperature up a few degrees in summer and down in winter can result in big energy savings.
Suggest that staff who live in the same area set up a car pool. Employees will not only be reducing their carbon emissions, they’ll enjoy the social benefits.
Try to limit unnecessary staff travel by sticking with virtual meetings when possible. If you or a team member does have to fly, check the box and fork out a few dollars to offset the carbon emissions.
Shop around for second-hand office furniture and refurbished equipment. You’ll save money and keep products out of landfill. It’s also an easy way to give your workplace some character.
Replace offline marketing with a (much greener) digital strategy. If you must send flyers and direct mail materials, have them printed on recycled paper.
Drop your old computers, printers and accessories at a local TechCollect drop-off point to prevent e-waste ending up in landfill.