Sustainability is becoming increasingly important across the globe, particularly within business environments. Creating a sustainable workplace will not only benefit the planet, but also your business. With three-quarters of SME staff stating sustainability is important to them, going green can do wonders for your brand’s reputation, and in attracting new customers and staff. Here are five top tips to help.
- Be smart with office supplies
In the US alone, over $17 billion is wasted on office furniture each year. Consider using upcycled or second-hand furniture to kit out your office, as it will be both cheaper and have long-term benefits to the environment.
Furthermore, though we are living in a continually digitised environment, the use of paper is still frequent. However, half of SME employees are now trying to reduce the amount of paper they use. From making documents that can be shared, edited and stored digitally, to investing in eco-friendly envelopes, there are many small but significant ways to reduce paper usage.
- Aim for zero waste to landfill
It may be a high target, but with careful planning, your business could ensure zero percent of your wastage goes to landfill. “There are lots of simple steps business can take to meet this goal,” explains Phil Jones, Managing Director of Brother UK. “Examples include engaging expert waste treatment contractors, issuing staff with reusable water bottles and replacing fluorescent tubes with LED lighting.”
- Become a B Corp
Rather than Birmingham, the ‘B’ in ‘B Corp’ stands for ‘benefit’. B Corps are businesses that are voluntarily certified every couple of years for their social and environmental performance. This allows your business to help meet the environmental needs of the planet and grants you access to a wide-ranging network of other businesses.
“Becoming a B Corp gives you the opportunity to make a very public declaration that you care about more than profit,” says Karim Abouelnaga, the owner of successful company Practice Makes Perfect. “This is a signal to your investors, your customers and your employees (both current and future) that you are about more than just your numbers – you’re committed to something bigger.”
- Embrace remote working
It has been regularly reported that allowing employees to work from home could have a huge impact on a business’ environmental footprint. Even as far back as 2014, the Carbon Trust advocated such an endeavour, claiming remote working could save more than three million tonnes of carbon a year. The benefits of remote working for your business could be considerable – less electricity will be used, carbon footprints will be reduced and fewer office supplies will be wasted.
- Review your procurement policies
One universal rule for SMEs is to know your suppliers, and it’s perfectly applicable when considering your environmental impact. Reassess your procurement policies when it comes to your choice of suppliers, and look to source goods and services that have been produced sustainably. Ensure your supplies don’t contain substances that are toxic and harmful to the environment, and look to source items made from renewable materials.
If you are interested in finding out more about making your workplace more sustainable, STEAMhouse is hosting an innovative STEAMlab with leading fuel cell company Adelan in order to unlock new cleantech solutions. The two-day conference will aim to provide solutions to the West Midlands’ air pollution and environmental challenges.
Want to help create a more sustainable environment for your business? Visit our STEAMlab event page to find out more.