We have reached the point where the oceans are choking, species are disappearing, while the landfills are full. It is a grim present but to head for a bright future, we have to act resolutely and to act now. Every change starts with the individual, and as an entrepreneur, you have an opportunity to raise awareness and change things on a larger level by making some changes to your business as well as influencing your employees, who will, hopefully, embrace that good practice and apply it at home. For those business owners who want to be a part of the global change, here are 7 pieces of advice on how you can endorse environmental sustainability.
Re-think your office supplies
Unless you appoint somebody to overlook the situation, you wouldn’t even be aware of how much of the office supplies is wasted and thrown away. Just think about all the plastic pens that are used up monthly by your employees and you will get an overall idea. It would be wise to put somebody in charge of overlooking the supplies’ expenditure, not for the sake of employees justifying why they need pens but for them to become more rational with the usage. Also, you should consider pencils and pens with ink that is refilled as an eco-friendly addition to your office supplies.
Consider furniture repurposing
The office desks you and your employees sit at are made from a number of different materials and chemicals and they are incredibly durable so why throw them away just because you wish to re-design the office? Many pieces of furniture that end up on a landfill are still functional so before you decide that you need new furniture, first think hard whether your old one is worn out and if you can repurpose it. If you really need new pieces, you can consider office desks and cafeteria chairs made of bamboo because bamboo is a renewable building material with astonishing strength and quality.
Give something back to nature
To make green thinking a part of your business philosophy, it is practical to start with your office but as your income grows, you can go a step beyond in helping the environment. Depending on your budget and the available time, you can always volunteer within your community and motivate your employees to do so as well. If you have space in your budget allocation, you can consider investing in foundations, in the likes of Jack Brown Invest Islands Foundation, which aims to provide education and medical care to the less privileged Indonesians, as well as raise awareness about the environment through education and waste control.
Strive towards energy-efficiency
Nobody is saying that we need to return to middle ages but it’s high time to be more rational about our expenditure of resources, both at home and in the office. In an average workplace, you have dozens of lights and computers working virtually non-stop, especially since people most often don’t turn them off before they leave home. What you can do, for starters, is to replace traditional lightbulbs with LED ones since they give more light and spend less energy. Also, extension cords can be a great addition combined with a notice to your employees that those who leave the office last have to turn everything off, which would take less than a minute with an extension cord.
Migrate to the cloud
Your business data and your clients’ personal data are of great importance for your business operations and your reputation as well so it is vital that they are kept safe. Physical storage units in your office can be quite expensive and they require hiring an expert to tend to their maintenance. Migrating to the cloud is practical and good for your business: your employees can safely access the data from anywhere in the world while the maintenance, software updates, and security are tended by professionals which reduces the overall costs. Since there is no hardware storage going to a landfill once it is outdated, your company will be reducing its carbon footprint significantly.
Reduce the need for paper
We live in a digital era where most of the communication is done via the internet and while on the move but there a lot of companies still cling to using paper for a lot of things. Tending to bureaucracy often leaves us wondering what the purpose of the bunch of papers you are holding is when you could have gone paperless. This is why you should strive to use as little paper as possible and that you recycle each sheet that was used. Naturally, you need to involve your employees in this strategy and post special boxes where they can place the used sheets of paper.
Encourage alternative means of transportation
If every employee came to work alone with their car, that would be an incredible waste of resources. This is why should encourage alternative means of transportation, depending on the location of your offices and the work schedule. Those employees that live close to work can walk or come by bike, while others can go by bus. Alternatively, they can organize themselves so that one employee picks up several others by car meaning that they share a ride and costs. Naturally, you as an employer need to set an example, which means that coming every day to work by car alone is out of the question. Also, if your budget allows you and if your business is small, you can provide a bus which can pick them up and drive them together to work and then drive them back home.
Changing your business philosophy is a crucial step for raising awareness about the environment. By showing others that the transition is not impossibly complicated and that it won’t have a negative effect on their budget, you will inspire other businesses to start thinking green. So, what are you waiting for?