Becoming a more sustainable operation is more than just a buzzword these days. It is becoming a way of life. Many older businesses, especially those that are based in older buildings or rely on outdated production methods, may find it more of a challenge to become a more sustainable operation than newer companies. If you're worried about making your business more environmentally friendly, here are a few steps that any business can take to become more responsible.
We use paper every day without thinking about it - we print contracts, notes, instruction manuals and everything else under the sun. While it can be more convenient, most of the things that we do on paper can be done digitally without too much trouble. With the average U.S office worker using 10,000 sheets of paper annually, which equals 4 million tons of copy paper every year - doing what you can to encourage paperless offices can help to reduce your company's environmental impact.
You don't need to stop using paper entirely, just reduce the amount of paper that you use and recycle or reuse waste paper.
This is much easier if you're based in a city or a significant population center but it can work for other business as well. Encourage your employees to carpool with one another, use public transportation, or even bike to work to reduce the amount of CO2 emissions being produced by their daily commute. In addition to lowering your global carbon footprint, it can save your employees money and even turn their commute into a useful tool for checking emails or talking about the upcoming workday.
Rethink Your Building Heating
If your business is in an area that sees the temperature drop during the year, then keeping it warm during the colder winter months is a priority. Older building especially are likely equipped with inefficient or out of date oil burning furnaces. Modern furnaces can be more efficient and oil furnaces are more cost effective today than they have been in the past. Instead of gutting the whole system and replacing it with something new, why not upgrade your existing system to be more energy efficient and generate fewer emissions.
Invest in Renewables
You don't necessarily have to rely on the local power grid to keep your lights on. Consider investing in clean energy sources like solar, wind, hydroelectric or geothermal. The exact options available to you will depend on where you are located, but chances are you can find at least one clean energy source in your area.
Keep in mind that these will likely require a substantial initial investment, but once you have your new power grid set up, it will start to offset your monthly energy costs almost immediately.
Move Forward on Responsible Sourcing
If you rely on other businesses to supply you with the components for creating your products, make sure you're working with suppliers that source their raw material sustainably. This is especially important for things like wood, the harvesting of which can damage the environment or non-renewable resources like steel or plastic.
It doesn't take much to make your business more responsible and sustainable. Even small steps, like choosing more responsible and sustainable suppliers and going paperless, can make a big difference in the long run.
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