You keep reading that you need to boost your sustainability performance but don’t know where to start. These 5 simple tips should help.
Firstly, let’s just quickly cover off what we mean when we talk about sustainability and why it’s important:
Sustainability is all about finding ways to limit the impacts we have on the natural environment. It’s a smart thing to do because it can help you to win more customers, cut costs, boost your profits and grow.
Try these 5 oven-ready ways to improve sustainability, starting today
#1 – use less ‘stuff’
One of the key environmental issues facing us is the fact that everything we make and use involves digging stuff up or chopping stuff down. Eventually, there won’t be anything left unless we start to conserve these finite natural resources.
So, by simply using less, we can help to make things last.
This can be as easy as only ever printing double-sided and avoiding ‘over-ordering’ just to get purchasing discounts, through to redesigning manufacturing processes so they use less raw material.
Every business should be able to find some quick wins when it comes to being more thrift with stuff.
#2 – switch lights off
You’re probably wondering why I’ve included this, because it’s just common sense, isn’t it?
However, you’d be surprised how many people will still go into a rarely used room in the office and leave the lights on when they leave.
Remind people using stickers next to light switches, encouraging them to switch them off after use.
If you notice that it’s a real problem, it may be worth considering installing push-button timer switches or even more sophisticated occupancy sensors.
A twin fluorescent light fitting with 4 foot tubes will typically use 0.17 kWh of power. Left switched on for an hour a day more than necessary over the course of an average 5 day working week for a year and that would add up to 44.2 kWh of wasted electricity – and CO2 emissions of around 14.6 kg. That probably doesn’t sound like a lot, but why waste it at all?
#3 – let staff work from home more
Outside of school holidays, the roads are often choked with commuters in the morning and afternoon ‘rush hours’.
The trouble is, vehicle emissions are higher from slow moving traffic, and stop-start driving is worse for fuel economy..
By allowing staff to work from home more often (or at least varying their start and finish times) you can help avoid some of the GHG emissions and resource consumption that your business is indirectly responsible for.
A few years ago, we arranged for one our admin team to work from home one day a week. It eliminated a 42 mile round trip, saving 436 kg of CO2 emissions and around 63 gallons of fuel across the year. Imagine if every business replicated that…
#4 – Skype instead of travelling to customers
We started doing this more and more about 4 years ago. Prior to that, I personally did around 35,000 business miles a year, which not only cost a small fortune but gave me (and, therefore, Remsol) a sizeable environmental footprint. And that was just me.
Every mile saved by not travelling to meetings reduces our CO2 emissions, helps conserve natural resources in the form of oil.
Avoiding a 20 mile round trip to visit a client typically reduces CO2 by approximately 4 kg, helps conserve 0.57 gallons of fuel and saves £2.99 in fuel costs at today’s prices. That may not sound a lot, but it all adds up over the course of a year.
#5 – buy local
Buying locally where you can offers a host of sustainability benefits.
For a start, it cuts down on delivery miles and, as a consequence, transport-related emissions of CO2 and other air pollutants.
But it goes further than that: because the local suppliers you buy from are much more likely to source from other local companies too, extending the purchasing benefit even further into the community.
“What’s In It For Me?”
I’m glad you asked.
If you look back over the 5 tips set out above, you’ll see that the common themes centre around CO2 savings and resource conservation. But there are some other common threads too…
If you’re using less stuff, cutting back on electricity consumption, travelling less and buying goods that don’t have to travel as far, you’re going to be saving money too – savings that drop straight to your bottom line. It might not amount to much to begin with, but let’s face it, nobody ever got rich by needlessly throwing money away (“look after the pennies and the pounds will take care of themselves”, as the saying goes). And, as you scale your sustainability efforts, your monetary savings will grow accordingly.
Not only that, but you’ll be able to stand out to prospective and existing customers, by showcasing your sustainability efforts, no matter how small they might be at first; at least you’re doing something.
And, by offering staff greater workplace flexibility and showing you trust them, you’ll benefit from a more engaged and productive workforce that will help to keep staff turnover down (and avoid recruitment and re-training costs).
These are real, tangible business benefits that all companies can tap into just by improving their sustainability performance. Why not give them a try, starting right now?
Was this useful? Tell us in the comments and share details of your winning sustainability efforts. And, remember, if you want to get serious about sustainability and CSR, [email protected]