The good thing about becoming sustainable is that the changes that you make do not impact negatively on the efficient running of your company in terms of profit margins, but ultimately benefit the health of you, your employees and the planet, and could save you money, which is advantageous for business, almost as much as hiring an HR graduate.
The lists of areas that can be easily worked on to build a sustainable workplace environment include energy, waste and transportation. Here are some things that you can easily do to reduce your company’s carbon footprint.
The efficient use of energy in the workplace offers massive savings and environmental impact associated with our use of fossil fuels. The best place to start, is to get your local utility company to give you a free energy audit which will give you an initial look into how to achieve ‘best practices’ and save money.
Use as much daylight as possible, rather than artificial lighting, and install sensors to turn lights off automatically in the office or factory space that is not in use. With heating and cooling, set your thermostats at 78 degrees in summer and 68 degrees in winter and do not change them.
You could also cut equipment to the minimum by consolidation, use efficient energy settings on work computers and unplug anything that is not being used. A great idea to encourage staff is to put notices up about sustainability and ask them to participate.
- Water conservation
Your workplace will consume more water than you think, and there are a number of things you can do for sustainability in this area. Conservation will lower water usage, and the workplace should be examined for any leaks, or problem areas.
By installing water conservation appliances like a low-flow toilet or sink fixture, you can reduce your water usage by half
–Dealing with waste
Workplaces produce a lot of waste daily, like, paper, computer equipment, printer cartridges and general substances such as food cartons and paper clips. One of biggest ways to save paper is to encourage electronic documents.
You should think before you print and ask yourself if you genuinely need to. Encourage e-mail rather than letters and recycle as much as you can. If you must print, then use both sides of the paper. Plastic waste can be eliminated by providing your employees with reusable plates and cups.
–Communicate with your employees
Sustainability will not work unless your employees are aware of what you are trying to achieve. There is no substitute for communication, and you can encourage them to use good practices in the office, by education.
A lot of the practices that they will be using will work for them in their own homes so you can save them money by clear messages sent out by line management.
Posting signs on walls and holding sustainability workshops are a terrific way to start, and staff should also be encouraged to bring their own ideas into the workplace on how to lower the company’s carbon footprint.
It is essential to remember that sustainability does not start or end in the workplace, but all those millions of people going to and coming from their place of employment can play their part.
Encourage public transport, vehicle sharing, cycling or walking to work. If you have company vehicles, then choose low carbon options, and most fuel efficient.