Running your company in an ethical and sustainable way is becoming increasingly important to the environment, your bottom line, and your customers.

In fact, the far-reaching potential of greener business practices is why nearly half of businesses plan to increase their environmental sustainability this year.

To help you do the same, we’re sharing our 6 top tips for increasing your company’s green credentials for the benefit of everyone.

Sustainability areas to tackle

When planning to increase your green credentials, it’s crucial to understand which areas of your business you must address.

There are four main green components of any business:

  • Energy – including all electricity and fuel used.
  • Paper – the use and disposal of all paper and cardboard.
  • Solid waste – including the disposal of plastic, wood, and any other solid materials.
  • Water – the use and waste of water.

The benefits of improving business practices in these four key areas include:

  • Reducing your carbon footprint;
  • Saving money in the office;
  • Enhancing resource efficiency; and
  • Improving your corporate image among employees and customers.

6 ways to increase your company’s green credentials

Even better, improving your company’s green credentials in these areas is relatively easy with these practical tips and tactics.

1. Measuring and monitoring performance

The first step of increasing your company’s green credentials is measuring current performance and monitoring it going forward.

The main set of data you should collect on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis includes:

Energy

How much energy and fuel do you consume in your offices, warehouses, and home offices?

Paper

How many sheets and reams of paper do you consume, and what is the weight of paper or shredding that you dispose of?

Solid waste

How many tonnes, kilograms, or containers of solid waste do you dispose of, and how much do you recycle?

Water

How much water do you use and drain?

The collection of this data allows you to understand your current green credentials and set realistic benchmarks for future performance and comparison.

2. Reducing energy consumption

There are many small steps you can take to reduce energy consumption in the office, leading to big money and environmental savings. The key areas to tackle are:

Office equipment

Increase the energy efficiency of your office equipment by replacing outdated equipment, using energy-efficient equipment, and activating energy-efficient sleep modes.

If you’re using a managed print service to remove printer energy use from your business in its entirety, ensure that you opt for an eco-friendly partner who uses the latest energy-efficient equipment, conducts regular maintenance, and operates its own sustainability policy.

Heating and cooling

Reduce the energy used to heat and cool your buildings by regularly servicing HVAC equipment, turning off systems in unoccupied rooms, enhancing building insulation, and training employees on the correct use of air conditioning and heating equipment.

Lighting

Minimize the energy consumption used to light your buildings by using energy-efficient bulbs, regularly cleaning windows to enhance natural lighting, using motion-sensing lights in irregularly occupied areas, and encouraging employees to switch off lights at the end of the day.

Transport

Reduce the impact of travel by using remote communication tools, promoting efficient transport modes, and optimizing deliveries to take the most energy-efficient routes.

3. Reducing paper usage

Paper is one of the most common office wastes, yet it’s also one of the easiest to control.

There are many ways to reduce paper waste in the office, including:

  • Using electronic communications where possible.
  • Asking employees to think before they print.
  • Defaulting energy-efficient printing options such as double-sided printing, reduced scaling, and non-color printing.
  • Monitoring printer usage by department and employee.
  • Encouraging paper recycling by placing clearly labeled recycling bins around the office.

You can also use a managed print service for business to control printing across your entire business and implement controls that reduce unnecessary printing, printing costs, and inefficiencies.

When printing is necessary, ensure that your MPS uses recycled paper and recyclable printer cartridges.

4. Reducing solid waste

To reduce your company’s amount of solid waste and the associated costs, you should follow the waste hierarchy:

Eliminate

First, eliminate as much waste as you can, through methods such as:

  • Implementing a purchase approval process to avoid unnecessary purchases.
  • Actively purchasing minimally packaged products or bulk buys.
  • Operating a bring your own device scheme for electronics.
  • Removing disposable cutlery, cups, and towels from kitchens and canteens.

Re-use

Second, try to re-use waste materials where possible. For example, can you re-use equipment, refurbish equipment, or use equipment for training purposes?

Recycle

Third, if you can’t eliminate or re-use waste, can you recycle it? This includes regular recycling of plastics and paper, as well as recycling electronic equipment such as printers, computers, and monitors.

Recover value

Finally, recover any value where possible. This might involve using alternative recycling schemes for hard-to-recycle waste, or contacting your suppliers about disposal schemes or buy-back options for materials, office equipment, and furniture.

5. Reducing water usage

Water usage can be difficult to reduce, after all, you don’t want to discourage employees from drinking water or washing their hands. However, you can eliminate unnecessary water waste by:

  • Fixing leaking taps or toilets.
  • Ensuring dishwashers are full before use.
  • Installing motion-sensor taps in restrooms.
  • Checking your water pressure.

6. Helping others

Your green credentials aren’t just about your own usage and waste; they also cover the usage and waste of those associated with you.

Take steps to help others enhance their green credentials. For example, can you source products locally to reduce delivery mileage? Can you install electric vehicle charging points for your employees? Can you conduct home energy assessment for remote workers? Or can you use recyclable packaging for your customer deliveries?

Final thoughts

Hopefully, these small tips can help you make big steps to enhance your company’s green credentials. However, it’s important to remember that a company’s sustainability values go far beyond an environmentally friendly mission statement and policy.

You must practice what you preach. This requires employee involvement, education, regular monitoring, and continually looking for ways to improve your own practices and those of others.