There are potentially many benefits to making your business more environmentally friendly:
- cost savings;
- a more efficient way of working, so more productivity
- you may attract more customers because you are “green”
- you may be able to apply for a green business grant
- having a cleaner and healthier work environment.
Depending on the type of business you run, you may also have a legal responsibility to manage the effects of your business on the environment. This includes things such as electrical waste, business waste, whether your business needs an environmental permit etc. Find out more at the Government website here.
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Even making a few, subtle changes just around your office can make a real difference to how green your business is:
- discourage unnecessary printing;
- email invoices and statements etc (saving trees, costs and even fuel);
- place recycling bins for plastic bottles, cans and paper around the office, making it easy for staff to recycle;
- if you have to travel to meetings, try and do several meetings all in one day, thus reducing your carbon footprint;
- encourage staff to car share – or, if your staff are local, sign up to Cyclescheme, which offers tax free bikes for workers;
- if your office has a kitchen, source fairtrade products;
- see if local catering businesses are happy to offer your staff a discount on food – so you are supporting local businesses as well as sourcing local food;
- ensure your office cleaning supplies are eco-friendly;
- introduce a “lights” off policy at the end of each working day;
- purchase recycled paper, toilet rolls etc;
- get staff to bring in their own mugs or cups – that way you’ll save throwing away mountains of plastic cups;
- use digital storage facilities, saving paper and space;
- make the most of natural light and ventilation;
- look at water saving tips.
Investing in order to go green
If you want to go really green and invest in new technologies, for example, which will help the environment, speak to your local council about the different types of grants available.
Do note that grants can take time to get approved and can involve a lot of paperwork (which isn’t particularly eco-friendly!).
Another option could be to use an online small business loan provider. There are several of these operating online – “Everline” being one provider with a good track record of lending to young businesses. Because these types of providers work mainly online, less paper is used (saving trees) and there are no postage costs (so no carbon footprint).
It can be a quick way to get business finance – you’ll typically get a decision in one working day – so if you are keen to start implementing green initiatives in your business, this may be a solution.
Going green can be as small or as big as you like, whether you start small and implement double-sided printing, which can save lots of money over the course of a year, or ramping it up so that you invest in green technologies.