A greener workplace is not only good for the environment, it also helps to boost employee health and satisfaction, reduce the cost of your power bills and attract like-minded customers and partners.
If you’re unsure where to begin, start small! Making changes to your office inventory and supplies, paper usage and bin system can all help to reduce your corporate carbon footprint. Here are some suggestions to get you started.
Get a proper waste management system going
This should be the first port of call for any business wanting to become more sustainable. The ultimate aim of waste management is to reduce the amount of garbage that ends up in landfills, so recycling should be a key focus. Auditing tools such as Bin Trim can measure the amount of waste your business generates and come up with a tailored action plan to help reduce your waste overall.
Ensure you have separate bins for landfill, recycling, glass and bottles and organic food scraps. Use clear signage throughout the office and encourage staff to jump on board and do their part for the environment – a little goes a long way.
Choose sustainable suppliers
From cleaning products to coffee beans, there’s no shortage of environmentally friendly brands on the market. Start by doing an audit of your office inventory and flag any areas where you could switch to a more sustainable product or supplier. This can include natural kitchen or bathroom products, ethically sourced coffee, recycled paper and biodegradable cleaning supplies.
To really maximise your impact, see if you can order from a local supplier to reduce your carbon footprint when transporting your delivery as well.
Reduce your energy consumption
Making changes to the way you consume energy in the workplace is not only good for the environment, it reduces the overall cost of your power bills too.
Smaller ways to lower your energy usage:
- Use energy-efficient light bulbs in the office and turn off the lights at night if possible.
- Switch to energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen – especially the fridge. Aim for an energy star rating of at least four stars.
- Keep the thermostat at an energy-efficient temperature, ideally around 18 to 20 degrees, and make sure there aren’t any areas in the office being heated or cooled unnecessarily, such as storage rooms.
- Encourage staff to turn their computer brightness down, close any apps or programs they aren’t using and switch off their monitor at the end of the work day.
Thanks to technology we consume a lot less paper than we used to, yet many offices continue to use more paper than they need to. Digital documents are much more efficient and easier to store and retrieve. They reduce office storage and clutter, and can be accessed from virtually anywhere if they’re stored in a drive or cloud. If going paperless isn’t an option for your business, make sure you’re recycling properly and documents are printed using both sides of the paper. Look for shredding companies that also recycle if your business handles sensitive data.
Increasing sustainability in the workplace is easier than you’d think. It doesn’t have to involve wide-scale changes to the way your business functions as a whole and often starts at a grassroots level.
About the Author
Bessie Hassan has worked at a range of iconic publications with her widely published byline appearing in The Sydney Morning Herald, The Australian, Marie Claire, and Women’s Health, among many others. In her current role at Finder, Bessie combines her interest in the digital space with her other passion – helping Australians find better.