To cut back on costs and increase profitability, small businesses need to be innovative with the resources they have at their disposal. By introducing an eco-conscious plan into your workplace, you can not only optimise your brand exposure but keep your business on a sound financial and environmental footing.
Here are some top tips to help you create an eco-conscious plan for your business.
A suitable place to begin is by considering the areas that may have an environmental effect on your business – carbon emissions, waste, water usage and electricity to name a few – so you can gauge an idea of the challenges you are up against and how to implement any changes to your eco-plan. Evaluate the potential costs that each area brings with it and prioritise any opportunities to improve on these.
Create boundaries and limits for your costs and usage per month, so you are able to track the impact they are having on your business – this is arguably the best way to assess the true return of investment on these costs.
To make your plan a success, here are six areas that should be taken into consideration:
Reduce waste – The easiest place to begin. Although you may already be recycling, there is always room for improvement. Replace paper or plastic cups in your workplace with ceramic mugs branded with your company colours and logo – the initial outlay will be more, but in the long run it will enable you to become far more financially and environmentally efficient. Alter the settings on your printer server so every page printed out will be double-sided, thus cutting back on the amount of waste paper.
Turn it off – By simply turning off the lights and making sure any electrical product is switched off when no-one is in the office can save you upwards of 20 percent on your annual energy bill. The amount of energy wasted when the office is empty is staggering, so making sure everything is turned off is a must for any eco-conscious plan.
LED lights – In keeping with saving energy, the use of LED lights has become the latest trend in creating an eco-friendly workplace. Not only do these use much less electricity than the classic bulb, they also last longer so the added expenditure of purchasing new light fittings on a regular basis is eliminated.
Sustainable procurement – Your inventory of products and stationery needs to be both well suited to the job and sustainable. Introducing a green procurement policy is a great place to start, so make sure your colleagues are aware of what they should be ordering to fit in with the eco-conscious plan. Another top tip is to create a “favourites list” of all the products you order, so any employee who needs some new pens or a pack of coloured paper knows which to purchase. This will also help reduce the number of unnecessary orders being placed and thus adding to the costs.
Packaging perfection – If your business sends out a lot of parcels and packages, the incurred costs can reach unfathomable heights if not practised properly. Size up the item you are sending and ensure you are using the appropriate box and wrapping to cut back on waste, and material costs. To reduce the emissions that come with the delivery of parcels by plane or vehicles, search for more carbon-free methods to fit in with your eco-plan.
Only when needed – Depending on the industry your business is in, it may be worthwhile allowing your employees the option of working at home. That way, you will be cutting down on the energy costs of their computer, removing any travel expenditure and reducing the in-office waste.
The plan you draw up needs to become an important in-house document, and something that all of your employees are well aware of and fully understand. Not only will the eco-conscious plan help develop your business and find new opportunities for improving on the amount of waste and cutting down on costs, it will also enable growth and evolution.
Clearly signalling the ethos of the plan throughout the office is a quick and effective technique to get all your colleagues singing from the same hymn sheet. Put posters up around the printing area to highlight how you are aiming to cut down on waste paper, list the appropriate stationery products you are now using in your inventory room and put a sticker on every light switch and computer reminding the worker to turn it off. It may sound patronising, but everyone in your business must buy into the eco-plan for it to be regarded as a success.
To promote the eco-friendly feeling, get your workers involved with coming up with new ideas to enable a more environmentally aware and cost-effective company. A simple suggestion box can bring a whole variety of topics to a head, or holding brainstorming sessions at a whiteboard can help you come up with ideas. This will also ensure your employees feel their opinions are valued and can help boost their loyalty, work ethic and retention within the company.