How SMEs Can Be More Environmentally Friendly
With deadlines to meet and targets to hit, thinking about the environment is rarely a priority in the workplace.
But just a few surprisingly simple changes can have a significant positive impact on the environment – and also on your finances.
The Carbon Trust Standard estimates UK SMEs could collectively save nearly £400 million per year in energy costs, and over 2.5 million tonnes of CO2, by reducing their carbon footprints.
Could your business…
…Go without paper?
The practicalities of this one depend on your particular industry, but going paperless could be easier than you think. Document checking, copying and even signing can all be done digitally these days, which is particularly helpful for legal firms, estate agents and other professional services, while freelancers and retailers can email bills and receipts rather than printing them.
…Switch to suppliers who recycle?
Selfridges recently announced its iconic yellow paper bags would be made using coffee cups from its headquarters and in-store, in response to data showing 1.5 billion paper coffee cups used in the UK each year could not be recycled. If you manufacture your own supplies, could you incorporate an element of up-cycling or switch to eco-friendlier raw materials?
…Use less energy?
Some simple tweaks can make a big difference to your energy bills, and simultaneously create fewer carbon emissions. Make sure heating timers are set to the right date and time – especially when the clocks change – and turn them off at weekends if nobody will be in. You can also install timer switches to make sure lights are turned off outside working hours.
…Ditch the office entirely?
Dramatic, maybe, but committing to all employees working from home means cutting commutes, smaller emissions and no energy used to heat, light and power an office.
Pebble Magazine, a digital ethical lifestyle publication, scrapped their central London workspace in favour of remote working.
“Industries are slowly waking up to the fact that being sustainable will save their bottom line – and ultimately the planet. Consumers are more willing to support brands that offer a less wasteful experience or product,” says editor Georgina Wilson-Powell.
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