The importance of a greener office and how it can be put into practice
According to Government statistics, in Britain almost a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions come from businesses. Couple this with the amount of materials used and waste produced, and one thing becomes very clear – all businesses have a responsibility to become more sustainable. We’ve had a think about some of the ways you can start, or continue, your sustainability journey.
Make sustainability a business goal
Over 40% of young workers say they want to work for an environmentally responsible company. The very clear message here is that the millennial workforce do not want environmental issues to be kicked down the road, and to avoid estrangement with these young and energetic employees, businesses need to step up.
Along with financial targets, map out some ‘green’ targets – putting the two side by side show that you’re committed to protecting your business and the planet. Approach these green targets in the same way you would any business project, by creating plans on how to make these goals a reality. Being able to show that you are taking steps to bettering yourself will be a tick in the box for prospective employees, and is becoming a necessity not a nicety.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
A fancy, shiny office space with brand-new equipment is nice, but the constant production and disposal of new furniture has an impact on the planet. According to Reyooz, a website designed to find and repurpose office furniture, businesses in the UK spend over £500 million per year disposing of over £2 billion of furniture and supplies that could have been reused. It’s a waste of materials and a waste of money. So, instead of buying brand new furniture, take a look and see if you can recycle any – Reyooz is a great place to start. You could even upcycle some furniture that’s a little worse for wear, giving it a new personality and lease of life which will make your office space feel really unique.
The little extras
Small gestures are proven to boost colleague morale, and providing people with reusable water bottles, hot drinks cups or tote bags not only supports the reduction of single use plastics but helps to make colleagues feel good. You can also consider how to give a little extra back when looking at company benefits. Many people appreciate cycle-to-work schemes, discounted train passes and voluntary hours, which can be used for beach cleans or community litter-picks.
Become a ‘B Corp’
If you’re serious about sustainability, you can become a certified ‘B Corporation’. This rigorous assessment looks at how a business’s operation and model affects the environment, employees and community. B Corps are “legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers, community and the environment”. Joining this community tells your customers and employees that you are willing to hold yourself accountable. It’s a real commitment, and something you should be very proud to shout about.
Food for thought
If you have a canteen, it’s a great place to make some positive changes. Obviously, you can’t (and shouldn’t) dictate what people eat, but you can get people enthused about sustainability without asking for a lifestyle overhaul. Vegetarian food options lower the consumption of animal products, which are a major player in carbon emissions and water waste. You could consider providing free fruit, and introducing a meat-free Monday scheme, or reduce the amount of meat options you offer. Anything you do can only have a positive impact. You can also try sourcing your products locally, so you know that everything you use is good quality and ethically produced.
It’s simple maths. Investing in sustainability is not only beneficial to the future of our planet, but the future of your business too. It doesn’t require a culture overhaul or a huge budget; in fact, it’s quite the opposite!