With the environmental situation the way it is, we all know that we need to do what we can to help our planet recover – or at least reduce and eventually cease the damage that the human race is causing.
This can be tough as an individual or a family; there is so much that isn’t under our control, with supermarkets providing vegetables in a mountain of plastic wrap, and online stores sending a pack of 5 pens in a box big enough for 5 packs of paper (yes, really).
However, what about as an organisation? You may have come across or even considered taking up an ISO 14001 certification to improve your organisation’s environmental management, but that can be a daunting undertaking. There are many options out there including assessing and offsetting your Carbon Footprint, managing your Chain of Custody, and getting an ISO Certification. However, these things can take time and there are things you can probably start doing right now!
Here are 5 ways you can make your organisation more environmentally friendly.
We’re all used to the domestic recycling scheme now; most local councils provide kerbside recycling collections, and some will hit you with a heavy fine for not recycling your plastic, paper and food waste. But did you know that a lot of councils will also provide a commercial and corporate recycling service alongside their general waste collections? If your local council is still behind the times, perhaps contact them to highlight this and see if they can recommend a suitable contractor to take away your recycling until your local council get up to date.
Put some recycling bins in your office for non-confidential paper and mixed recycling waste – you may be surprised how much it gets used!
For the last two years there’s been a huge push by utility companies to get “Smart Meters” fitted to domestic premises. That’s because in simple terms the government made it law that utility providers had to be accountable for the use of fossil fuel electricity (it can get quite complicated, if you feel like researching it).
For corporate and commercial premises though, there’s a few things to be done to save electricity:
- Turn off lights or fit motion activated lighting. Also, make the most of natural daylight, it’s much better for you.
- Turn off equipment and screens whenever possible.
- If you’re making less than 7 cups of tea at a time, use a kettle. Large “tea urn” and water boiling equipment use a lot of electricity and should be avoided and switched off wherever possible.
- Keep heating on a low setting to stop a room getting chilled or damp, rather than cranking it up high every time someone gets cold. Also, encourage staff to wear layers to work so they can adjust their own body temperature without the office heating-battles.
Another small change that can be made is to switch to environmentally responsible office supplies and, by extension, suppliers. Once upon a time it was much more expensive to buy recycled or sustainable paper or notebooks, recyclable pens or business cards. Thankfully this is no longer the case. Small changes such as sustainably certified paper, pens made with plant fibre casings, and Rainforest Alliance certified coffee are now much easier to source. Another element that goes unnoticed is business cards; ditch the shiny laminated or metallic detailing, and make sure they are made with recycled materials.
Likewise, research your suppliers. Do they operate environmentally friendly fleets to conduct deliveries? Are they part of a carbon offsetting scheme? What is their packaging made of, and how much of it do they use?
Transport / Commuting
Aside from the obvious environmental impact of “single occupancy” commutes by car, driving to work can present issues with weight of traffic and the cost and difficulties of finding somewhere safe to leave your car.
Encouraging your staff to take public transport is not only better for the environment, but generally more efficient and reliable. If you’ve got some more active staff, and if it’s safe to do so, cycling is also a great option for transport (and good exercise).
If public transport or cycling is not viable, perhaps suggest car-sharing to reduce the number of cars being used.
Environmental and community focused activities are not only excellent for the environment and local community (obviously), but they are also great bonding and “breaktime” opportunities for your staff. Get your staff out of the office and helping to plant trees at a local preservation project, or clearing litter whilst bodyboarding along a river, or maybe donate a whole “working day” by volunteering at a local wildlife trust.
It could do a whole lot of good for the wellbeing of your staff and the atmosphere of the office as well as for the environment.
We hope at least some of these five tips can be put into action at your organisation. For more information on how your organisation can take some positive steps for the environment, or to find out more about ISO 14001 and other environmental schemes, Get In Touch!