It's fair to say that in 2019, people are far more aware than ever about the planet and the damage that we humans have done and are continuing to do to it. As more and more campaigners speak out, more government bodies pledge to do something to help the environment, Hollywood A-Listers talk about climate change in their award acceptance speeches and protestors make themselves known in big cities all over the world. Even if you wanted to ignore this, you couldn't. The issue is so prevalent now that it could have damaging effects on your business. If you are using plastic bags, but your competitor across the road isn't, then who are you environmentally aware customers going to go to? It doesn't matter what industry you're in either as according to the State of Fashion 2018 report by BoF & McKinsey Sixty six per cent of global millennials are willing to spend more on brands that are sustainable and an equal percentage of respondents said they would be willing to boycott a fashion brand if it was not sustainable. It does not stop there either when it comes to free-range meat and vegan skincare products; many brands are starting to see the appeal and opportunity to change to suit the millennials' preferences. UK sandwich chain Pret A Manger now has three all-vegetarian outlets, and L'Oréal has unveiled its first vegan hair colour range. According to Global Web Index, millennials are more likely than any other generation to say that they would pay extra for eco-friendly or sustainable products. Over 60% say this, compared to 55% of Gen X (aged 36-54) and just 46% of baby boomers (aged 55-64). So what can you do to get onboard and make sure you don't lose out but also do a good thing for the planet at the same time?
There is no one size fits all approach here, it all depends on your business so all you can really do is look at some ideas and see where they can be adapted for you. One thing that you most certainly can do, though is to start turning things off. Switch off plugs, don't leave computers on all night as this means that they are using energy for 168 hours a week instead of your regular working hours. Simple things like this could save millions of dollars and as well as energy. Don't leave chargers plugged in unnecessarily, if you're device is charged, unplug it! The one thing you can do though is to invest in smart power strips which work to reduce your power usage by shutting down power to products that go into standby mode. By plugging all your gadgets into a power strip, you could save some serious cash and help the environment too.
Be Bright About Your Choices
If you choose to switch to energy-efficient compact fluorescent bulbs which are also known as CFLs then according to the Environmental Defense Fund, this can cut your energy usage by up to 75%.
Reuse and Recycle
Most people seem to be onboard with recycling now, with the different coloured bins and what goes with what, but before you rush over to the blue bin with your piece of scrap paper, is there something else you could use it for first? The other side, perhaps? This can be said for many things, so think twice before you put anything in the bin. Then look at what office materials you are using, are you buying recycled paper products and ink cartridges? Are enough people sharing stationary and ordering refills rather than getting brand new items each time there's a stationery order?
Make The Most of Flexible Working
Thanks to advanced technology, we can now work from anywhere and not all your staff have to be in the office to get the job done. Broadband Internet, smartphones, emails, video conferencing and cloud computing mean that not as many people have to commute to work any more as they can work from home and reduce carbon emissions, as well as saving money and time. This also reduces office energy consumption and rental costs. Similarly, when it comes to staff meetings, you should have a look at greener ways in people could travel to work, whether it's public transport, car shares, cycling, and walking. If you can provide on-site washing and changing facilities or negotiate discounts with local gyms to access their facilities, then this will encourage more people to cycle to work. If you can offer incentives for this too, it will help to make people aware and get involved. Alternatively, make the most of the tech again and use conferencing technology to hold your meetings.
Get an Energy Audit
Did you know that you could get a free energy audit for your business from a professional engineer? As it's free, it's worth doing to find out what simple changes you could make or even if there are more significant changes with a long term gain. There are pioneering new technologies that you could be using such as CHP (Combined Heat and Power), Thermal Storage, Solar PV, Smart Metering, Solar Thermal, Biomass, Inverter Drives and Aquifer Energy Storage which could all be saving you a fortune. An expert will be able to advise on whether you could save on your water as well and install bore water as this is environmentally friendly as it naturally renews itself. Some of these options would be bigger jobs but, for example, this one would need an earth rod drilling company to come in, but as mentioned it could provide a long term gain and save you a lot of money in the future. Bore water can be used as an alternative to other water supplies, which saves you money on water bills, and they are efficient and last a lifetime.
Use Eco-Friendly Products and Suppliers
Finally, one of the easiest things you can do is choose carefully who you use to supply your business too. Look at locally sourced products and suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of your deliveries. Look into 'Chemical-free' cleaning companies and anything else that you use as these little changes can make a huge difference.
Shout About It!
While of course, you want to do good for the environment and a little bit for yourself, you can also tell people about the good you're doing. Use you social media channels to make sure that your customers and potential customers know that you're doing your bit to go green and that if they have any suggestions to do anything greener, then they are welcomed.
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