Companies that didn’t switch to the green way of doing business may be reluctant to do so because they think it’s more expensive. This is a widespread misconception – making green changes doesn’t necessarily involve huge investments. Quite the contrary – being eco-friendly reduces the costs of your business. Even small changes in everyday routine at work may bring a big difference. There are many steps that both employees and owners can take to help the environment and save money in the process.
The goal of “going green” is reducing pollution or the so-called carbon footprint. It’s an estimate of the climate change impact that a certain activity has, regardless of what that activity may be (business, product, lifestyle, etc.). It is calculated by adding up emissions of greenhouse gasses (CO2, methane, nitrous oxide). Thanks to various carbon calculators found on the internet, anyone can find out their carbon footprint and realise how much pollution they are responsible for (and hopefully, make a change for the better).
How can employees and business owners make their business green without spending money? Easy and simple. The first way, and probably the most cost-effective one is saving energy, water and reducing monthly bills. This can be achieved in several ways: using LED or CFL bulbs, turning lights and computers off after work hours, using natural ventilation instead of air conditioners, turning the thermostat down just a little bit, installing dual flush toilets and many more.
For instance, you can install separate recycle bins for office waste, collect it and then earn some money by selling it to a specialist contractor. However, before you throw away anything, consider if you can reuse it. Using recycled goods such as paper or ink refills has proven to be a smart and budget friendly move. Don’t shy away from “no name” cartridges – they do great work by producing more copies for less money, helping the environment at the same time. Also, printing on both sides doesn’t cost a business anything but it will cut paper supply costs in half.
If you haven’t done it already, ask your employees how they commute. You can arrange carpooling for people who live in the same neighbourhood or encourage them to use public transport and bicycles. When possible, hire work-from-home employees to reduce costs of commuting and cut down on office waste and operational costs as well. Many employers allow their “regular” employees to work from home at least one day a month or they arrange video conferencing when possible.
The costs of running an online business are significantly lower than having a regular, brick and mortar business – there are no utility bills, paying for office space and materials. Because of this fact, most startup businesses are conducted online or mostly employ work-from-home freelancers. If you are an online business owner, you need to know that websites can have carbon footprints, just like offline businesses. Thankfully, it’s much easier to make a website CO2 neutral, and it’s possible to do it for free.
A green strategy doesn’t include protecting the environment only – its aim is improving people’s health too, and the benefits are easily measurable. Employees who work in sustainable environments experience less health issues and they are less likely to go on sick leave (company loses less money). People who work in healthy surroundings are more productive and concentrated on their tasks. Also, just a building reputation as a green business can make owners attract staff and partners with enviable experience and qualifications.
The Sick Building Syndrome is a huge problem in the US, where 30 percent of employees suffer from nausea, skin rashes, lethargy, headaches, or respiratory problems. This can easily be prevented if you choose a sustainable building for your office – a building that has eco-friendly, non-toxic high-quality insulation, good ventilation, lots of natural lighting and comfortable temperature. Even the smallest details such as using green cleaning products and having plants in the office can make a great contribution to employee health – and it doesn’t cost money!