If you’ve ever been overwhelmed by the
amount of ‘going green’ messages that have been directed at your business, you
aren’t alone. Implementing green business practice isn’t always a quick fix,
especially if you are a multi-site company with hundreds, if not thousands, of
However, in today’s competitive landscape,
businesses don’t have a choice when it comes to going green. Overwhelmingly,
it’s what consumers want to see. It
makes both financial and environmental sense; taking steps to reduce your
carbon footprint often makes your business operations more efficient and, as a
result, more cost effective.
At the moment, there’s a big gap between
truly eco-friendly businesses and those striving to be greener. There are,
however, several green practices that every business should be able to achieve,
regardless of size. Here are five ways you can reduce the carbon footprint of
Office: Switch from Paper to Digital Records
When a company decides to go paperless, it’s
normally to benefit the environment and save money. But there is also a third
YouGov reported that small to medium-sized
businesses waste more than £42.2
million per day in time looking for documents, especially if they have been
lost in an old archive system that desperately needs to be updated.
Invest in Sustainable Practices
With over 7bn mouths to feed, the production
of food has a huge impact on the planet and produces
30% of greenhouse gas emissions. And this figure is set to dramatically
rise, with estimations that there will be a 60%
increase in demand for food by 2015.
The most concerning thing, however, is how
much of this food ends up in the bin. According to the UN’s Food and
Agriculture Organisation (FAO), 1.4 billion hectares
of land is annually used to produce food that is subsequently lost or not used,
which is unarguably a huge waste of energy and resources.
There are a number of ways businesses can
make their catering more sustainable, including using ethically sourced
products, such as Fair Trade and Red Tractor, and encouraging recycling by
using 100% biodegradable packaging.
It’s also important to ensure that any food
waste is composted. This prevents it from adding to the 1.6 billion tonnes of
global food waste (FAO), which will mostly end up in landfills where it will
rot and release harmful methane gas.
Optimising your Cleaning Operations
Cleaning can have a big impact on the
environment, from harmful chemicals to inefficient practices leading to wasted
resources. However, it is, of course, something that is impossible to simply ‘cut
down’ on, or carry out less frequently.
Fortunately, there are a number of ways
that businesses can reduce the environmental impact of cleaning. For example, by
using enzyme cleaning products, you can reduce the number of harmful chemicals
the environment is exposed to, as well as improving performance due to enzymes’
residual cleaning effect (they continue cleaning after the product has been
Other steps include recycling and reusing
micro-cloths and floor mops, using ionised water (electrically charged water
which attracts dirt and lifts it from surfaces) and changing working patterns
to optimise resource use.
Taking these steps will not only make the
cleaning process kinder to the environment, but will also make it more
efficient and, consequently, more cost-effective.
Management: Use Energy More Efficiently
Wasting energy is bad for the environment,
but it also makes little financial sense. Every time you use energy when it’s
not needed, it’s money down the drain.
Some of the simplest changes, such as
utilising natural light, installing sensors or turning equipment off or down,
can make the biggest difference. And, as a result, with little to no
investment, you can easily reach a 5-10% reduction in energy usage in no time
It’s essentially about looking at your site
and working out where you’re over-consuming, and what changes you can make to
reach your target consumption level.
Management: Recycling and Diverting Waste from Landfill
The UK produces around 290
million tonnes of waste each year, of which a massive 50% gets sent to
landfill. And with just 22.9 million tonnes of this coming from homes, a huge
proportion of this waste is the result of businesses and other organisations.
Improving your waste management is easier
than you think. By simply removing recyclable waste from general bins and
encouraging staff to recycle where possible, you can make an immediate saving
on waste disposal costs – as well as reducing the amount of waste you’re
sending to landfill.
In today’s competitive landscape, operating
sustainably is the only option for
businesses. Not only is it more efficient and cost-effective, it’s what
consumers want to see. And contrary
to popular belief, every business can implement the above green practices,
regardless of size and budget.
To find out more about how to reduce your
carbon footprint – and why it makes environmental and financial sense, read our
eBook, The "Convenient” Truth About
Sustainable Business: Why It Pays To Be Green. Contact OCS today for more information on how
we can help you.