How Your Business Can Help the Environment in 2021

17th Dec 2020

Businesses all over the world, large and small, are taking significant steps to change the status quo and adopt practices that are better for the climate, for people and for the planet. When it comes to being more environmentally responsible, it’s no longer a question of if but when, and the New Year is the perfect time to make a resolution to sustainability and a greener future. If you want your business to be part of the solution and want to do some good, consider some of these accessible ways to start making a difference.

Reduce, reuse, recycle

It’s a simple environmental mantra that’s as relevant today as it ever was. In your business, can you see a way to reduce overall waste produced? Try to foster a minimalist work culture and encourage staff to recycle where possible. Use upcycled or renovated office furniture or fittings, or use ceramic mugs instead of disposable paper cups in the kitchen. It’s easier to have a recycling strategy if you have the right tools. Consider renting a cardboard baler to compact bulky packaging, taking up less space and making it easier to recycle.

Switch to green energy

One of the most impactful ways to keep both your conscience and the planet clean is to reduce your company’s overall carbon footprint. Today, it’s easier than ever to use energy from green and sustainable sources – and you may even save some money in the process. Even if that’s not a possibility, you can still make an impact by switching to more energy-efficient appliances and bulbs, reducing electricity use and putting boilers on timers.

Change your suppliers

A great business New Year’s resolution is to take a fresh look at your suppliers. Could you switch to companies that are more ethical, transparent, sustainable or local? Suppliers with a clearly stated environmental policy are no longer a rarity. See whether you can go with a smaller local supplier, so you incur fewer air miles and carbon dioxide emissions, or buy from groups you know have pledged to treat their workers fairly.

Give to a good cause

If there’s something you’re passionate about, why not commit a portion of your profits to a charity you know is doing good work in the world? Not only will this make you feel good, but you might also win the respect and approval of your target demographic, who may appreciate the opportunity to be a part of something bigger. You can voluntarily take steps to offset some of the waste your own business creates, donate directly to a charity or even poll your staff to get an idea of what’s important to them – then make it happen. People no longer admire neutral, profit-only organisations. Give your business a little heart, and you immediately stand out from the crowd.

Consider green investing

There are many ways to put your money to good use, and green investing is one of them. Chat to a financial planner about reworking your portfolio to include companies that pass a certain standard for working to mitigate climate change or improve social, environmental or political chaos in the world. Even if your business doesn’t directly affect the environment, it can be very encouraging to know that money generated is indirectly funding those projects, companies and technologies that are making the world a better place.

Think about remote working

The Covid-19 pandemic has certainly forced the hand of many a business owner when it comes to working from home. But remote work is not just more convenient, it’s also more environmentally friendly, and cutting the commute saves countless tonnes of greenhouse emissions. Even if your employees are not able to work fully from home at this point, you can still make a difference by asking them to come into the office less regularly, offer incentives for car-pooling or public transport use, or even set up a cycle-to-work scheme. It’s an understatement to say that the world of work has changed drastically over 2020, but 2021 may be the year for creative recovery, innovation and finding smart solutions going forward.

As a business owner, you are ideally positioned to make a real difference to your employees, your customers, and the environment in general. You can lead by example and make conscious choices today to build a business that will help to create a more sustainable future for everyone – and every little bit helps.

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