In the wake of the enormous challenges faced during the first half of 2020, the awareness of environmental issues is perhaps greater than ever, and businesses all across the UK are looking for smart, green ways to rebuild after the Coronavirus crisis. Luckily, there are plenty of practical, easy ways to make your business more eco-friendly and sustainable, and you could end up saving money in the process too. If you’re looking for some green inspiration, consider these easy-to-implement changes.
Go green – quite literally
If your office or premises is in a more rural area, you could experiment with eco-friendly building and design ideas, such as grass rooftops. These are lovely to look at but are also a genuinely effective way to cut insulation costs while making the world a little greener.
If you have a more urban work environment, you still have options: enterprising business owners are now finding novel ways to invite a little nature in, including vertical gardens and green walls. Why not plant edible herbs or blue and purple flowers that attract bees?
Consider eco-friendly building alternatives
Unfortunately, inefficient and poorly maintained buildings and offices have an enormous carbon footprint and are responsible for much of the greenhouse gas emissions in the UK. Though it may be a little tricky to switch to a completely eco-friendly building, you can still experiment with options like modular buildings and eco-cabins.
Some business owners are even using affordable and sustainable shipping containers converted into temporary accommodation, medical testing sites, pop up offices, modular classrooms and even as a storage solution. Some suppliers offer modified, repurposed shipping containers, and can install personalized racks, doors, shelves, electrics and security as needed.
Reduce, reuse and recycle
No matter what your business or industry is, you likely produce plenty of waste paper, packaging and plastic. If you don’t already, why not clean up your recycling act and find ways to reduce your waste?
For example, if you have a kitchen or canteen, you could compost food waste or even, if you’re adventurous, consider the fascinating option of composting via a worm bin, i.e. vermiculture. Consider going paperless where possible and reusing or repurposing used items rather than sending them to the skip. Finally, if you can, seek out zero-waste suppliers who provide their products in minimal or recyclable packaging, or you can even enquire about reusable or refillable container schemes.
Cultivate a more flexible work culture
With the pandemic forcing many businesses to adapt to remote work, it’s the right time to proactively reconsider old work schedules and the assumptions of the conventional 9 to 5 work model. Not only will your employees appreciate a more accommodating work approach, but you’ll spare the environment the enormous carbon cost of daily commutes and save yourself money on potential overheads.
If working from home is not appropriate for your business, you could try setting up an employee cycle-to-work scheme or offer incentives to use public transport. Shorter work weeks or opting to do meetings online where possible are also great ways to minimize traffic pollution and work stress.
Switch energy providers and cut your energy expenditure
It’s no longer the case that only big business can afford green energy. It’s easier now than ever before to switch to a more eco-friendly energy supplier, and you may save money in the process. It only takes a few moments to make some comparisons and see where you could be making improvements – both your bank account and the environment will thank you.
If this isn’t an option for your business, you can still make an impact by doing an energy audit on your premises and removing any old, inefficient appliances that hog electricity, placing boilers on timers or using more energy-efficient light bulbs.
Every little bit helps
Modest changes can make a big difference over time. Little upgrades are easy to make: opt for biodegradable toilet paper, source milk from local dairy farmers for the tea room, use mugs and cups rather than disposable cups or stock a green and ethically produced hand soap in the bathrooms.
As a business owner, you have the responsibility and the privilege of setting the tone for both your employees and your customers. By communicating your willingness and awareness of environmental issues, you boost your green reputation and position your company as one that has its eye on the future. Meaningful action doesn’t have to be drastic. Start small and get everyone involved. It can be truly inspiring to see how easy it is to make a difference!
Looking for more green ideas for your business? Here are 10 more green business ideas we have outlined.