Sustainability is more than just a buzzword and is becoming increasingly important for all businesses and industries. An increase in focus on sustainability for business is led by higher expectations from both the public and government bodies on corporate responsibility related to the environment and reducing the countries carbon footprint.
62% of executives consider a sustainability strategy necessary in order to be competitive, and another 22% believe it will be in the future. However only around a third of businesses in the UK have an environmental sustainability policy, and this needs to change as governments look to turn incentives into laws for businesses to reduce their impact on the planet.
Some of the big names are stepping up, with the Co-op creating whole recycling centres at easy to access stores, Nike has made huge strides in reducing waste to become a retail leader in sustainability, and Innocent Drinks work with farmers to conserve the land’s biodiversity and protect farmworkers’ rights, to name a few. Sustainability for business is within every business’s grasp though, whether you have 10,000 employees, 100 or 10.
How to achieve sustainability for business
Achieving total sustainability might seem like an insurmountable task, but having a long-term plan made up of smaller areas and targets means that you can take small steps to make a big difference. As technology advances and government initiatives are rolled out, they’ll be even more opportunities to set more targets and tackle more areas.
So what can be your first step? Remember, even a couple of small steps is a great start.
Recyclable, and recycling
Think about everything you use in the office. What could be swapped for something more sustainable? Is any packaging you use made from recycled plastic or cardboard? Is it also recyclable? Are you using plastic cups when you could be using cardboard or reusable? These days there are even new eco-friendly alternatives to office basics such as sellotape and plastic biros.
Are you recycling everything you could be? Lots of businesses have basic recycling facilities, but what about office equipment no longer needed or broken appliances?
Energy and efficiency
If you choose your own energy supplier then there are lots of options that use 100% renewable electricity, or if you’re choosing a serviced office space you can look for one that uses such a supplier or even generate their own such as with solar panels or wind turbines. Well-insulated buildings that also make the most of natural light and heat will also reduce energy use.
Look at smaller ways to reduce the amount of energy you use such as LED lighting, motion sensor-based lighting, and instant heat taps. Choose energy-efficient appliances and devices.
Using other natural resources such as rainwater harvesting for flushing toilets will also reduce an office’s carbon footprint.
Encourage greener travel
Finding an office space that reduces the need to travel, for example, offices outside the major cities that make use of local workforces, can reduce the number of cars driving longer distances on roads or overcrowding on buses or trains. Encouraging car sharing and the use of public transport are also going to reduce your travel carbon footprint.
Build a sustainable supply chain
In-house sustainability is important but it’s possible to take it further by looking beyond your own actions. Take a look at your suppliers and try to ensure you are sourcing materials from businesses that are also practicing sustainability. Ask what their plans are for sustainability in the future, and show them it’s important to you.
Avoid suppliers that use toxic substances that are harmful to the environment.
Show your hard work in sustainability
It is only by publicly stating what steps you are taking in sustainability and making long-term plans that the world of business and industry will reduce its carbon footprint. Let your customers, suppliers, your team, and the general public know what you’re doing to reduce your negative impact on the planet or even make positive steps in improving the environment, for example preserving or creating green areas and planting trees.
Office space designed with sustainability in mind
Tannery Studios is a serviced office space built in a repurposed warehouse and was designed to be as well insulated as possible using repurposed materials. It’s a SMART building with all areas equipped with open-source IoT fuseboards to monitor energy used, so occupants can monitor their individual usage on a web interface or via a communal dashboard, so they can look to nudge down unnecessary energy usage.