GOING GREEN AT WORK - CAN YOU AFFORD NOT TO?
There is a variety of reasons to go green, but most come back to supply and demand. We have a limited amount of resources available and more and more people using them up. If we want our future generations to enjoy the same standard of living we've experienced, we need to take action.
For The Environment - Want to make the world a better place? Implementing green practices into your home or office can help reduce waste, conserve natural resources, improve both air and water quality, and protect ecosystems and biodiversity.
For The Savings - Want to make your rand go further? Green systems and materials reduce energy consumption, which in turn reduce your energy bills. They also increase asset value and profits and decrease marketing time; making your rand go further for longer.
For Your Health - Want to live healthier? Green building isn't just good for the environment; it's also good for YOU. Sustainable design and technology enhance a resident's overall quality of life by improving air and water quality and reducing noise pollution.
Yes both big small business can make a big green impact. Green business is all the rage at the moment and many companies are beginning to implement changes and strategies to offset their large environmental impacts and save money in the process. Here you will find great ideas for how your company can become more eco-friendly.
Spread the word - The first and most important part of greening a small business, or any business for that matter, is the circulation-of-green-information phase. During this phase, everyone involved in the company is notified of the company's green intentions, and the importance of adopting sustainable principles is outlined. Employees and stakeholders also need to understand how crucial their co-operation is in the success of this new business entity. By educating everyone who is involved in the business on how to follow these procedures, you ensure that your small business is well on its way to becoming a sustainable business.
Be water wise - Water is precious, and no one would like it to become an expensive commodity. Therefore, businesses need to make an effort to conserve it. Include using water with care in the environmental education of your team. Teach them (1) To close taps when they are not in use. (2) To water green areas only in the early morning or after sunset to decrease water loss due to evaporation. (3) To integrate water-wise thinking into every business action and operation. (4) Consider installing multi-flush toilet systems and waterless urinals. These can save tonnes of water yearly, which helps to relieve the pressure put on the domestic water supply and natural ecosystems. It also saves your company money on water bills.
The power of electricity - By saving electricity, you help to conserve natural resources, improve air quality and combat international issues such as global warming. Saving on electricity can also be extremely useful for a small business looking to cut costs while becoming a more efficient operation. Adopt these energy saving tips to cut your electricity consumption and reduce your impact: (1) Replace old light bulbs with energy-efficient ones, use more energy-efficient laptops where possible, and activate screensaver mode to save energy. (2) Try to purchase new equipment that has either the Energy Star, EnergyGuide or EU Energy label efficiency rating. (3) Use natural ventilation to supplement air conditioning by opening windows on opposite sides of a room to allow for airflow. (4) Use blinds to control heat penetration, and maximise the use of natural light instead of relying on artificial lighting. (5) Only boil the kettle with as much water as you need, to avoid electricity wastage. (6) Turn appliances off at the wall overnight or when they are not in use for long periods of time, including lights. (7) Insulate walls, lofts and water boilers.
Wise up to waste - Many useful 'waste' materials are thrown away everyday and get buried in landfills where they are removed from the resource stream and cannot decompose properly. Dealing with waste properly is a crucial part of any sustainable business. Here are a few simple processes that a small business can apply to minimise its material impact: (1) Reusing - Conserve raw materials such as scrap paper, containers and packaging. (2) Reducing - Purchase less packaged goods, buy more bulk items and rethink every wasteful business action. (3) Recycling - Separate waste into different recyclable materials, then have it collected by a third party or dropped off at a recycling depot.
Cutting the carbon - Every business has a carbon footprint. A smaller business is likely to have a smaller footprint, therefore it should be easier and cheaper to reduce and offset. Offsetting carbon emissions is a good option for a small business if its impact is small enough; however, reducing the footprint is probably easier and cheaper and should be considered before offsetting. Adopting a number of simple strategies can do this (1) Ridesharing, carpooling and commuter transport plans. (2) Committing to electricity consumption reduction (3) Regular planting of trees.
Green products and services - Many of the impacts from small businesses are caused along the product and service chain. This sector is linked to all others, so greening it can go a long way to reduce the overall impact of a business on the environment. Here's how to get started: (1) Source goods locally (2) The three R's - Make sure all goods bought are; made from recycled materials, are recyclable, and can be reused. This reduces the material impact of waste and saves resources and money. (3) Conduct an internal analysis of your business's chain of products and services from start to finish. (4) Support green suppliers.
Commitment - Besides these practical measures, a company can develop an Environmental Policy (EP) in order to commit to these changes openly.