How to Make Your Business More Environmentally Sustainable
We can all do our bit to tackle climate change.
Businesses of all sizes are becoming more sustainable in an effort to cut carbon emissions to protect the planet and reduce spiralling utility costs.
Experts from The Carbon Trust say, “A 20% cut in energy costs represents the same bottom-line benefit as a 5% increase in sales for many businesses.” A significant saving, especially for SMBs that, in today’s economic climate, need all the help they can get.
If you’re looking to incorporate sustainable practices into your business but don’t know where to start, here are some changes our business and our clients have made that you can also adopt to help you on the path to net zero.
10 Steps to Sustainability
- Insulate your premises
- Install solar panels
- Adjust temperature levels
- Electrify your vehicle fleet
- Switch to LED bulbs
- Install a smart meter
- Set up a cycle-to-work scheme
- Reduce product and packaging waste
- Use a greener supply chain
- Do carbon offsetting activities
How to meet environmental expectations
Unily’s Future of the Sustainable Workplace Report states, “83% of UK-based workers feel their employer is not doing enough to be more sustainable and tackle the climate crisis.” In an already highly competitive employment market, being seen as environmentally proactive could also have the additional benefit of helping you attract and retain more staff.
But it’s not just your workforce’s expectations you need to meet. Numerous studies show that today’s consumers and potential investors expect businesses to lead the way when it comes to carbon reduction, and the vast majority prefer to do business with companies that are more environmentally responsible.
If the target market for your product or services is Millennials, having greener credentials is even more critical, as these tech-savvy consumers are the ones who, for better or worse, are more likely to take to social media and let others know about your company’s environmental sustainability practices and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) activities.
A word of warning – businesses that falsely claim their products are eco-friendly to boost their marketing campaigns are likely to be immediately called out by well-informed consumers whose cries of “greenwashing” will do more reputational harm than good.
Benefits of becoming a sustainable business
Sustainability is an issue that organisations can’t afford to ignore and one which can bring a multitude of benefits. But don’t just take our word for it; look at the research.
According to Deloitte, “In 2021, 40% of UK consumers chose brands and providers with environmentally sustainable practices and values. An increase of 6% compared to 2020.”
And a recent McKinsey study found that the greater a company’s resource efficiency, the stronger its financial performance, with organisations seeing up to a 60% improvement in operating profits alone.
Becoming more sustainable helps you:
- Attract customers and investors
- Enhance your brand and reputation
- Reduce operating expenses and improve efficiency
- Increase revenue and long-term profitability
- Attract and retain employees
- Support energy security
- Reduce business waste
- Lessen business risk
- Comply with environmental regulations
- Make employees and shareholders happy
Be part of the climate solution
You don’t have to be a big business to make a difference. Even those of us with smaller companies can be part of the climate solution and start effecting change. From a business viewpoint, our own investment in solar panels, electric cars and charging points, switching to LED lights, using sustainable products like 100% recycled PVC boards for signage, and installing a shower for staff to use if they decide to cycle to work, are all relatively simple to do and have given long-term benefits in terms of reducing our energy consumption, boosting staff morale, and increasing revenue.
Our latest project is inspired by our client, Edwin James Group, whose Musk Peterborough office has installed an environmental zone with a bug hotel and bee-friendly planting area. We plan to use the green space behind the FWD studio to establish our own wildlife garden to encourage bees, insects, and biodiversity.
Tips on going green in the workplace
Even small changes in the workplace can have a big environmental impact.
Here are a few things we’ve put into place at the FWD studio:
- Installed 36 solar panels
- Put in 2 electric car charging points
- Acquired 2 fully electric and 1 hybrid vehicle
- Encouraged the use of electric bikes
- Installed a cycle-to-work shower for employees
- Creating a bee-friendly garden
We hope it encourages other businesses, no matter their size, to explore more environmentally sustainable options and make a change too.
Say no to office water coolers!
Did you know that 45% of plastic bottles used in the UK end up in landfills? One of the easiest ways to reduce plastic waste at work is to swap out your old water cooler and choose a more environmentally friendly alternative.
We’ve switched our old cooler for a Virgin Pure Water System that taps into our studio’s water supply.
- No more carbon-fuelled deliveries
- No more plastic bottles to landfill
- Boils or cools with less energy than a kettle
- Integrated energy-saving mode
- Long-lasting filters that minimise waste
- Fills cups, mugs, jugs and sports bottles
- Economical to run
- Serves up to 40 people
- Dispenses up to 60 cups per hour
- Energy-efficient LED lights
- Promotes a greener workplace
Where to get help and advice
A quick Google search will quickly help you find a wide range of green and sustainable initiatives designed to help businesses of all sizes reduce their carbon footprint, like The UK Business Climate Hub, The Energy Saving Trust, and Investors In The Environment, to name a few.
Our advice is to encourage staff to get involved, have a good brainstorming session, and see what ideas you can all come up with. The more eco-positive changes you make now, the more business and environmental benefits you’ll see in the future.
At FWD, we cover all disciplines in-house, from marketing and design to development and print. You can contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 01246 439045.
Author: Helen Culyer