There is at present a mass outcry against pollution and its hazards. This uproar is well and truly merited as pollution does have several harmful effects not only to humans but to animal and plant life as well. Furthermore, emissions of greenhouse gases have significantly increased global warming over the past century, bringing with it a set of problems of its own.
The masses of today, particularly the younger generation, are more environmentally conscious than ever before. People are opting to lead a ‘greener’ lifestyle in large numbers. Indeed, a vast majority of consumers now actively choose eco- friendly products and companies over their competitors. Thus, businesses are constantly under pressure to go green to keep their clientele satisfied. By doing this, businesses can market themselves and their products/ services as eco-friendly thus improving the brand’s reputation and gaining new customers while cementing the existing ones. This overall increase in brand loyalty translates to greater profits and general success.
Here is a list of some ways in which a business can go green:
Conventional cars use fossil fuels to run and produce greenhouse gases such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen oxides. A company should ensure that all its cars used for official purposes such as deliveries are hybrid vehicles (that partly run on electricity and use less fuel) or better yet, all-electric vehicles (that run solely on electricity).
Alternatively, biodiesel trucks, such as those used by the grocery supply chain Tesco, could be employed for the same purpose. They should give benefits to employees who travel to work by public transport. Moreover, workers should be encouraged to carpool if they don’t want to travel by public transport. Organizing company- wide carpool programs with incentives for employees who volunteer to take part will help speed up this process.
Technology has advanced to quite an extent, and all businesses now have tools such as the internet, video-conference calls and common cloud data available to them. Thanks to these advancements, home- based jobs can be offered where the worker does not need to be physically present in the office. Thus, emissions produced by transportation are reduced. This also makes things very convenient and time effective to add to the fact that the employer doesn’t necessarily have to settle for a candidate who is within the workplace’s vicinity.
Most of the electricity is produced by the burning of fossil fuels. So, the lesser the electricity used, the lesser the fuel burnt. In the office, lights, and air- conditioning should be turned off when it is not needed, for example in an unoccupied conference room. Motion sensors could be used that automatically turn lights off if no movement is detected in the room. The light bulbs that are used should be efficient, low energy requiring ones like LEDs.
Computers are often left open for long periods of time despite not being in use. These should be powered off when they are idle. The same applies to other office machineries such as printers and scanners. If possible, a time of day could be set where all these gadgets are turned off for around an hour to conserve power.
Another approach might be to produce ‘clean’ energy such as solar power for the office. Solar panels can easily be installed on the office roof, and the electricity they produce could be used for at least some if not all of the operations. Services such as those offered by scoop.solar will help with the solar operations and maintenance if you choose to take this route. The biggest name in the retail industry, Wal-Mart now only uses ‘clean’ power sources for their stores.
Paper, as we all know, is made from wood, which comes from chopped trees. While the paper is a necessity in the office, a lot of times we can make do without it. Share data such as reports via email instead of on paper. Records and files should be saved as soft copies on a computer instead of on physical copies. Replace paper usage in presentations with software such as Microsoft PowerPoint and in general move towards a paperless system. Avoid printing unless it is absolutely necessary. When printing is required, print on both sides of the page instead of wasting an extra sheet of paper. The Bank of America has taken this initiative quite serious and has reduced their paper usage by a whopping 32%.
Another great initiative a business can take is the promotion of recycling. Recycling has several benefits to the environment and is a great way to promote your business as a green one. Recycling bins should replace conventional trash cans, and a strict policy should be made for the disposal of waste to be carried out systematically, i.e., paper, metal, and plastic should be discarded separately. Old office machinery such as phones and printers may be sold or donated. These could then be refurbished and reused.
The company should also make use of recycled products themselves. Recycled papers and tissue papers are readily available in the market. Printer cartridges could be refilled and reused instead of being thrown away. If the business involves retail, customers should be handed the products in recycled/ recyclable paper bags. Discounts could also be offered to customers who bring their own paper/ cloth bags from home. As of 2012, McDonalds (the world’s largest fast food chain) uses 100% recycled paper cups and containers.
The office cafeteria should only offer freshly cooked meals and organic food such as vegetable salads and fruits. Things such as packaged chips and boxed/ bottled juices should be avoided as much as possible. This way, not only is non-biodegradable waste reduced, but office workers get into the habit of eating healthy.
Other than that, employees could be requested to bring small indoor plants for their desks to provide some fresh oxygen. Wastage of water in the toilet could be avoided by installing heat-sensing, automatic taps instead of the mechanical faucet. All in all, any other ideas that help make the company even more eco-friendly should be encouraged.
Going green is one of the best decisions you can take for your business. It provides several benefits besides improving approval ratings. For starters, money is saved in power, transportation, and stationary costs. It also improves worker’s health and morale as they work in cleaner conditions. Lastly, you play your role in protecting the environment and conserving non- renewable natural resources. It, therefore, comes as no surprise that large multinationals such as IKEA and Unilever have taken this recourse and so should you.