Meet Tim. Tim runs his own small finance business and wants to reduce his office’s carbon footprint and energy consumption. He asked for some suggestions so here they are!
Like Tim, there are thousands of small business owners who are looking to reduce their carbon footprint. Some are able to install solar panels and LED lighting but many owners rent office space and don’t have the autonomy to make structural or building changes.
But don’t worry Tim – there are still many things you can do to greenify your office! Here are six of them.
There are heaps of things in your office that you can dispose of in an environmentally friendly manner, like batteries and mobile phones (in addition to the usual paper and plastic).
Recycling though, is not just waste disposal. It also includes use of organic and recycled products including recycled paper, refillable pens and printer cartridges. You can also use upcycled or vintage furniture for that extra touch of old school wisdom and style.
Going paperless is the most obvious step, but its still difficult for many small offices to go paperless. Why not try printing double sided on recycled paper? It’s the next best thing! Furthermore, changing your font can reduce your ink and paper consumption each year. Don’t believe us? This grade-six kid worked out how to save the US Government $400 million a year by changing font type and size.
Cut out disposable cups from your daily coffee excursions and you’ll help to keep thousands of paper cups out of landfill each year. There are heaps of alternatives and lots of coffee shops sell them to you right at the counter! Furthermore, stop buying bottled water. More than 60 million plastic bottles get dumped in landfill every day. Just use a glass! Come on Tim.
Check your office devices and replace energy inefficient for efficient ones. Computers, printers, photocopiers, phones, heaters, and dishwashers can all increase your carbon footprint (assuming your electricity comes from non-renewable sources). Smart power-boards are one of many new products that can help reduce your carbon emissions and save you money on your electricity bill.
If you’re worried about your inefficient lighting but can’t replace them, try using a light colour scheme in your office. The reflective nature of high gloss paints will make the most out of your ambient and natural light and reduce your dependency on artificial light. YEAH SCIENCE.
4. Bulk Buy
Buying in bulk not only reduces your long term costs, but it reduces the amount of packaging used to transport and ship your products. That’s it. Pretty simple. A lot of packaging companies now are going green, meaning they are using recycled or biodegradable products. Sustainable producers will be signatory to the Australian Packaging Covenant, and will ensure your supply chain is that little bit greener.
5. Choose Green
Like transport, there are many hidden carbon polluters that affect your overall footprint. Many companies forget about additional external services and contractors. Web hosting/ISP selection telephone carriers, utilities and cleaning are just some of the parts of the value chain of any business that can be affected. The Sydney Opera House recently reduced their carbon footprint to zero and this covered all of their external costs.
6. Switch Transport
Yes your Humvee is fun to drive, but if you’re serious about it, you’ll switch to carpooling, public transport, ride a bike or even walk. Use of alternative modes of transport will drastically reduce your carbon footprint. Personal transport is one of those things that often gets missed in a carbon audit as is not a fixed asset or office expense; and with the new RAC Electric Highway, you have no reason to ignore electric vehicles anymore!
Final Advice for Tim (and everyone else)
Going green doesn’t mean an immediate and total overhaul of your business Tim. Audit your business properly and then plan accordingly; understanding these factors will significantly impact how successful you are. We recommend using software tools like Carbon Compass or Carbon Friendly’s Business Calculator to make an initial start.
Most small businesses don’t have large enough profit margins to invest significant capital all at once, so change is best managed step by step.
Good luck Tim, and remember as Neil Armstrong said when he landed on the moon – “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”; even incremental change can make a difference.