It doesn’t matter what business you run; customer perception is changing. Over 55% of surveyed consumers would now willingly pay a premium if they knew that a product was environmentally friendly. On top of that is a growing concern about the climate’s future, meaning this figure will only increase.
Considering the big-name companies that are already planning for a sustainable future, you only have one sensible option. It’s time for your company to start considering the environment. While you may think that going green will mean splashing the cash, this isn’t the case. Moving to an eco-friendly future will actually save you money.
1. Streamline your paper printing
Every office has a printer, and it tends to get a lot of use. That’s a lot of waste paper going into the recycle bin! You can do a few things to cut down on this and reduce costs while helping the environment. Firstly, a switch to Post-Consumer Waste (PCW) paper can save you up to 50% without changing any printing habits. You could also encourage double-sided printing, and make it the default setting on all your printers and photocopiers.
However, one of the best ways to reduce paper usage is to put as much of your work as you can online. Storing everything in physical form is fast becoming obsolete, so if you haven’t already, now is the time to switch to e-documents. While it can be a pain to transition everything across, you will soon notice your costs come down once complete.
2. Ditch plastic or paper cups
The plastic cups you find in the water dispenser or coffee machines are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Carry your employees along in your quest for a more eco-friendly workplace by encouraging them to bring in a mug and a water bottle, or purchase some cheap ceramic cups for everyone. You will soon get the money back when you don’t have to buy plastic, and it also keeps your office much tidier.
3. Cut back on business travel
Fossil fuel usage from airplanes is a significant contributor to climate change and is incredibly expensive to boot. Video conferencing technology has reached a point where there is little benefit in travelling for face to face conferences, and it’s also free! Switch everything online, and you will save yourself a chunk of money and be environmentally friendly, while still getting the benefits of overseas collaboration.
4. Reduce packaging
If you are creating a physical product, explore ways to cut back the amount of packaging you use. Being eco-friendly with your packaging will not just reduce waste, but it will also save you a whole heap of money in unpurchased material. Even if you only send out a few packages, you can still look at ways to reduce your impact on the environment. You may be able to reuse old packaging or envelopes to send out mail. Anything you can do to reduce waste and save a bit of cash can only be positive.
5. Improve your lighting
Lighting will almost certainly be a significant part of your companies electricity usage. If you haven’t already, switch to the most energy-efficient bulbs available. They may cost a little more up-front, but this soon pays back with the amount of usage they get. You can also set a timer on the lighting circuit, or even install motion sensors that only turn the lights on when people are in the building.
If you are designing your office space from scratch, you can also try to use as much natural light as you can. Removing screens and partitions and moving to an open office environment can increase the lighting and improve productivity at the same time. You can save money from using the lights less, replacing current installations with more eco-friendly ones and earn money through a more productive workforce!
6. Embrace collaborative consumption as a business
According to Fast Company, collaborative consumption is, “The reinvention of traditional market behaviours—renting, lending, swapping, sharing, bartering, gifting—through technology…” Instead of buying a new ‘company vehicle,’ would it make sense to hire one? Could you rent out that vacant office space no longer in use since working from home became a thing in 2020? Make it your business policy not to buy any equipment that could end up in the storage piles covered in dust and unused for years. Instead, hire any single-use equipment.
7. Encourage a recycling culture
Be clear to your employees that you want them to think about the environment while they are in the office. Encourage them to turn off their computers and monitors when they are not using them to save electricity, and try to reuse and recycle as much as possible. You will save money by reducing your bills and the number of office supplies you need to purchase.
There is a misconception within the business world that going green means spending money. However, this is simply untrue, and you can save yourself plenty of cash through some modest eco-friendly changes. Without a doubt, the world is becoming more environmentally responsible, and it needs everybody to adapt. By making changes now, you are saving yourself a massive headache in the future.