By 2016, there were 8 million metric tons of plastic ending up in our oceans yearly, and by now, the numbers don’t show any change. Plastic pollution is just as big of a concern as is climate change and we don’t have much time to change things around.
This is why 2020 should be the year businesses finally make the big step towards turning green. Even the smallest of change, such as going paperless, can contribute tremendously towards making a change and stopping the environmental clock from turning beyond the point of no return.
If you are planning to make a change and turn your business green, but don’t know exactly where to start, here are 6 changes you can make, that will not reduce your company’s carbon footprint, but also make for a great way to cut down on operational costs.
Keep your records in digital form
Going paperless is the easiest step you can take towards turning your company green. If you communicate a lot with your clients and vendors via email, there is a big chance that you already receive most of the important documents, such as contracts and invoices, in your email inbox, so instead of printing and archiving them in a big file cabinet, why not consider uploading all your files to the cloud?
Cloud computing services are cost-effective, easy to implement and will serve as a way to upgrade your business processes. Besides saving the planet, you will also help your business tremendously. No more time spent looking through piles of paperwork to find that one invoice from 7 months ago. You can simply search by name and find it in a matter of seconds.
Turn your headquarters green
Probably the biggest step you need to take, if you want to activate as a green business, is to change some things around, inside the building. Consider installing a BMS (Building Management System), to control lighting, as well as heating, ventilation and Air conditioning systems (HVAC), which consume most of the energy used by any commercial building. By installing a BMS, you can easily control energy usage, by scheduling system to turn on and off when needed. A smart BMS will have even more advanced features that take into consideration outside temperatures, as well as traffic inside the building, adjusting the temperatures accordingly. This will not only tremendously reduce energy consumption, leaving a much smaller footprint but also cut down operational costs by 10-20%.
In terms of waste disposal, you can install these balers for waste recycling, which helps to compact waste and making it easier to dispose of. This way, you can recycle and not be worried that the waste will take up too much space inside the premises.
Repurpose or donate what you don’t use
When you no longer use certain pieces of furniture, or electronics, instead of throwing them away, consider donating them to a charity shop, or to a good cause. Office furniture can be repurposed in many ways, and charity shops will use the money to support those in need. If you purchased expensive machinery that you no longer use, you can also sell it and put the money towards new equipment.
Furniture can also be repurposed instead of being thrown away, which can also cut down on expenses. At the same time, if you need to purchase furniture or other equipment, try looing for good-as-new products, which can often be purchased for much lower prices. This way, you will actively participate in reducing waste and preventing products that still have years of life ahead of them from ending up in landfills.
Encourage employees to work remote
This is another no-brainer that will help both making your business more eco-friendly, and please your employees in the process. Every day, employees drive to and from work, wasting energy, time, and contributing to the greenhouse effect. If every company would encourage employees to work from home at least one day a week, imagine how much of a change it would make. Sure, there are times when that is not possible, such as with manufacturing companies, or in businesses where you need to use equipment that can only be found on-premises. But when the times allow it, introducing work-from-home policies once a week can be a big plus.
Statistics show that, if people worked from home half of the time, a normal business can save over $11,00 per person yearly, and employees can save anywhere between $2,000 and $7,000. Just imagine how much the planet and your employees would thank you for that.
Choose local partners and vendors
Choosing local vendors for your supply chain can help you save money, time, and reduce fuel consumption. Check with local suppliers for materials and products you need, and only consider ordering from other places if you can’t find what you need in your own back yard.
Also, consider ordering large amounts of products, when the situation allows it, to minimize trip numbers and reduce fuel consumption. Conduct an audit inside your company and see if the way you order and deliver products is done in the most effective way, both for your company’s benefit and for the environment.
If you also need to deliver products to clients, consider instating a minimum order size, to reduce the delivery frequency, and plan trips effectively, to avoid sending off trucks that are only half loaded.
Teach your customers to go green
If you instate a green policy, do your best to teach your customers to do the same. Promote your eco-friendly policies to customers in the best way possible, either by offering discounts or by clearly stating that you only do business this way.
For example, if you run a coffee shop, offer a 10% discount to customers that bring their own reusable cups. You can also sell reusable cups for a good price, or gift them to customers that buy 10, let’s say, 10 coffees in a month. By doing so, you are not only turning your business green but also manage to educate people. This is when real changes happen.