Making your business environmentally friendly is a smart move that not only helps conserve natural resources but can help position your brand as responsible before consumers.
While many people think running a business sustainably means expense, it does not have to be.
Here are six ways to make your business environmentally friendly.
Get an environmental impact assessment
An impact assessment helps identify areas in your business processes that impact the environment. The level of harm your business causes on the environment depends mainly on the type of business and industry you are in.
Getting an audit uncovers areas you can improve on. When auditing your business, you may want to pay close attention to nature and the impact your operations are causing on the environment.
You should, at the end of the assessment, be able to come up with a comprehensive action plan on how to manage and improve the environmental impact.
Create an environmental management policy
Regardless of the size of your business, if you are serious about sustainability, you should have a comprehensive environmental management system (EMS).
If you have followed the first step above, you should have a comprehensive action plan in place – this action plan can be coded into an environmental management policy that guides your organization.
According to the business.gov.au website, your EMS should:
- Provide operational and emergency procedures concerning environmental matters.
- Align environmental goals with business objectives
- Clarify and assign roles and responsibilities related to environmental matters
Depending on whether your customers expect you to have a certified EMS or your competitors have one, you may want to consider getting accredited.
Cut back on energy use
While it may not be feasible to stop using specific resources completely, you can cut back or use sustainable alternatives.
For example, you can move your organization towards energy efficiency. Purchasing energy-efficient gadgets is a great start. Consider switching off non-essential devices during peak hours and swapping out high energy light bulbs for eco-friendly ones.
Not only are you conserving the environment by using less energy, but you will also be paying less in energy bills at the end of the month. Also, ensure the building is energy-efficient. Use double-glazed window panes to minimize heat loss.
Cut back on paper use
Though many companies are increasingly moving towards a paperless operation, a lot still needs to be done.
You may want to begin by reducing the demand for printing – is it necessary to print that email? If yes, why not on both sides? Is the paper used recycled?
If your business often sends out hardcopy quotes to clients, it may be time to rethink your process. Consider sending digital versions of the same document instead.
Worried the document would be lost in the thread of emails? Thankfully, there are several business-related document management tools online you can use to design, track and manage all the documents you send out.
Some even send you notifications when the client reads the document – so you can schedule the follow-up appropriately.
Manage waste sustainably
While every business generates some form of waste; some are more hazardous than others. Residue such as medical waste which poses health risks and degrades the environment often require special care when disposing of them.
For instance, medical facilities are required by law to have healthcare storage amenities to temporarily hold contagious fluids where they are rendered harmless before disposal.
To minimize the risk of potential infection and exposure to contaminated material healthcare organizations also develop procedures to mitigate against it including providing emergency spill kits that come in handy to quickly and effectively remove waste spills from the environment.
Another way to reduce your organization’s carbon footprint is to encourage staff members to work from home. Also, where necessary, consider taking video calls with clients and business partners instead of hopping on a plane or taking a long drive.
This way, not only is your business helping to cut back on greenhouse gas emissions, and you are saving on travel expenses for your organization.