ELLA HENDRIX JULY 31, 2020
We’ve all had to consider making adjustments to how we do things due to the coronavirus pandemic, and the way we approach our working lives is no exception. Whether you’re a business owner, working within a company or are self-employed, you might be thinking about the next steps for your business post-pandemic.
You may have started to think about the impact your business is having on the environment and whether you are doing enough to offset your carbon footprint, as concerns over the impact of climate change increase with each passing year.
Now could be the perfect time to adapt in order to survive and thrive in a new era. Your business’s green credentials could also allow you to stand out from the crowd commercially. Here are some steps you can take to promote sustainability throughout your business post-pandemic.
Perhaps the biggest factor in creating a sustainable business is choosing the best source of energy. Business owners have a moral – and often legal – responsibility to ensure that operations have as little impact on the environment as possible, which could in turn have a positive impact for them financially. Making the switch to renewable energy is a great first step in reducing your business’s carbon footprint.
If your company operates out of an office or retail space, consider installing solar panels to the roof to power your premises. You might also consider taking advantage of good roof space at larger scale commercial properties by switching to solar power.
Renewable solutions such as solar could also allow your business to make huge financial savings longer term. Solar professionals Mypower says that a solar PV system delivers electricity at a rate of around 5 pence per kWh, compared with the current grid-supplied rate of approximately 15p per unit.
Other large-scale operations might consider using other forms of renewable energy such as wind, biomass, or geothermal systems.
Taking stock of the disposable materials your business uses can also have a big impact on sustainability. Consider using less single-use plastic packaging and using more recyclable materials instead. Using recyclable plastics, paper, cardboard and organic fabrics where possible will lessen your business’s contribution to a growing worldwide problem. Check out this guide from the Green Business Bureau for more information on recyclable packaging.
Re-using materials where possible is an even better way to reduce your carbon footprint. If multiple uses mean that your materials are no longer fit for purpose, think about how they could be used elsewhere within your business instead of sourcing new materials externally.
Reducing the use of packaging and disposable materials altogether is probably the best way to become sustainable. Ask yourself what is required when reviewing your packaging and aim to strike a balance between environmental impact, convenience, and aesthetic presentation.
Reviewing how your business delivers goods and services is also an important factor in reducing your carbon footprint. Transportation can have a huge impact on your business’s carbon emissions, so it’s a good idea to consider changes to offset this as much as possible.
Reducing the number of miles traveled in conjunction with your business’s operations is a good place to start, such as sourcing goods from local suppliers. Consolidating your deliveries into as few trips as possible is also a good step towards sustainability.
If your business operates a fleet of vehicles to provide services in your community, consider replacing some petrol and diesel vehicles with electric or hybrid ones.
While making the switch will save you money on fuel costs, most electric vehicles are zero-emissions and will go a long way towards offsetting your business’s carbon footprint.
You and your employees might also benefit from opting into the Government’s Cycle to Work scheme. The tax exemption allows employees to purchase bicycles and cycling equipment tax-free and allows them to pay over a period of time. Provider Cyclescheme says that employees could save between 25-39% on bikes and accessories. The scheme – which is completely free to join – was started to encourage green travel and healthy living amongst employees and opting in will certainly boost your business’s green reputation.
The coronavirus pandemic may have meant that you and your employees have had to work from home for an extended period. While this may have been a challenge initially, most of us adapted more and more to new ways of working since the start of the UK lockdown. Communicating via email, by phone, or video calling apps such as Zoom has become the new norm for many of us.
Remote working can have environmental benefits too, with less travel by car or public transport helping to reduce our emissions on a personal level. Consider allowing staff members to continue to work from home where possible. Having fewer people in an office-based environment could also reduce energy costs at your premises.