Three steps to becoming a more sustainable business
Updated: Feb 27
In recent months, the noise around climate change and the threat it poses to the planet has reached fever-pitch. As a result, businesses are facing more and more pressure to manage their waste and their impact on the environment.
Fortunately, becoming more sustainable can also help businesses to reduce their operating costs and increase profit margins. With this in mind, here are just three of the simple steps that businesses can implement today to reduce their carbon footprint:
Implement a recycling policy
Impressively, recycling is estimated to save more than 700 million tonnes of CO2 every year, according to a study by the Bureau of International Recycling.
All businesses should invest in clearly marked recycling bins in the office for food, paper, plastic, cans, glass and printer cartridges. These should be placed in all kitchen and work areas where appropriate, ensuring all employees have easy access to the correct bins when needed. This will help to dramatically reduce the amount of waste sent to landfill sites, and therefore minimise the business’s impact on the environment.
The biggest struggle businesses tend to encounter with recycling bins is successfully encouraging employees to use them. In order to overcome this problem, they should work to create a culture in which environmental issues are taken seriously.
Expectations should be regularly communicated to staff, with helpful information posted above bins making it clear exactly what can be put in each one.
Analyse printer habits
It’s thought that some office workers can use up to 10,000 sheets of copy paper each year. That's 20 reams of paper (500 sheets per ream) or four boxes of paper in total with an estimated cost of £10 per box.
Companies should be encouraging their employees to question themselves every time they go to print a document – is this necessary or can it be shared digitally? This has the benefit of not only minimising needless paper waste, but it also reduces the amount spent on paper, and thus office costs.
Some businesses also choose to put in place printing restrictions, to limit employees’ ability to print unnecessarily. This can include setting all print jobs to double-sided and black and white as default, for example.
Others are making use of user analytics software to identify individual users that are printing significantly more than others. This information can then be used to establish if there is any particular reason, and how to help them cut down.
Developments in technology are also helping to lower the amount of paper that’s used, aiding businesses in their quest to become more environmentally friendly. For example, our award-winning mobile data capture app allows businesses to replace paper forms and reports with digital versions, helping to improve operational efficiencies and communication with field workers.
It allows users to create digital forms relevant to the specific job in hand, such as site inspections, health and safety forms, and timesheets. They can also use the app to capture all essential business data, including signatures, videos, photographs and GPS locations.
Automatically stored securely in the cloud, this information and documentation can be accessed and shared instantly by the relevant employees, helping to improve communication, streamline administrative processes and reduce back-office paperwork.
Businesses are now becoming expected to take a more proactive approach in their waste management and make a positive contribution to the environment. Becoming more environmentally friendly not only helps companies to fulfill this expectation but can also help to lower operating costs and increase profit margins, making it a no-brainer for savvy business leaders.