"As a business it was essential for us to go beyond the required environmental standards "
A spokesperson from Tamnavulin Distillery
As a society, we are becoming more eco-conscious, both as consumers and as businesses.
After seeing the phenomenal difference that the lockdown made on the environment — the Reducing UK emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament noted that the emissions for 2020 are likely to fall by a record 5-10 percent as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic — meaning it would be a shame to revert back to normal, and see carbon emissions skyrocket once again.
The responsibility of sustainability does not fall on any one group of people, but business owners have a huge influence and the chance to empower their employees and change how their company works. We are currently at a “historical turning point”, and therefore it is time to update your company’s eco-policies, or risk falling out of step with the modern, green-focussed consumer. After all, research shows that the UK’s medium-sized businesses are responding in full force to threats to the environment, with 57.5 per cent claiming that sustainability is ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ influential in their decision making.
What’s more, in one survey, 71 per cent of the companies involved reported that their environmental improvements also led to reduced costs — a clear win-win!
So, whether it be for the sake of the environment, worker-wellbeing, or value for money, it’s time to update your business’s approach to sustainability in order to inspire and empower your employees. Here’s how to make a change.
Encourage greener transport
How your employees get to work is as important to their carbon footprint as what they do when they get there. In many cases, multiple employees will be using their own vehicle to travel to the office, and although this might be convenient, it’s a wasteful method of commuting. In the UK, a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions come from road transport, so it’s important that you do your part to encourage employees to utilise different methods.
For one, you can ensure that your employees are aware of the cycle to work scheme — a system that will save them money, benefit their fitness levels, and cut carbon emissions.
In the wake of lockdown, it might also be useful to consider taking a more flexible approach to working from home. Over the past few months, many companies have found that their employees work just as well from home, and this move towards remote working is a great way to tackle the commuting carbon emissions.
Re-think your energy
No matter what sector you’re in, the energy supply that your business runs on makes a huge difference to your carbon emissions as well as your costs. Switching your energy from oil to gas is sure to benefit your business in a massive way if you are off the mains gas grid— with potential cost savings and reduced emissions , making this switch will result in a reliable and dependable energy supply. A spokesperson from Tamnavulin Distillery explained the company’s reasoning behind making the switch from oil to gas with Flogas: “As a business it was essential for us to go beyond the required environmental standards and not only have we achieved significant emissions improvements, but we have reduced our fuel bill as well.”
As well as making changes like this one within your business, make sure that your employees are aware of the benefits of reassessing their energy choices as well — it could save them money and reduce the emissions created in their home as well as in the workplace.
Consider carbon offsetting
If your business emits unavoidable carbon emissions, such as those caused by essential activities, why not investigate a way to offset carbon emissions? your carbon offsetting options? Opting into a carbon offsetting initiative can mitigate your business’s energy emissions while also supporting essential sustainability projects around the world.
If you lead by example and make your employees aware of the benefits of carbon offsetting, this initiative doesn’t have to be exclusively for the workplace either — spread the word and encourage your employees to consider carbon offsetting in their lives outside of the office.
Support sustainable vendors
Working hand-in-hand with other sustainable businesses is a sure-fire way to create a greener culture and champion and eco-friendly way of working. Connect with sustainable vendors the next time you host a social or a networking event or build relationships with sustainable firms by offering company discounts or other incentives.
Make steps towards a paperless office
We are already in the digital age, and there is little need for paper waste in a modern office. Why not go one step further and make ‘paperless’ your policy? This could also extend to kitchenware, new starter packs, and any other disposable products that could be switched out for a reusable or digital alternative.
Create a green company culture
Although there are plenty of tangible and practical steps you can take to reduce your company’s emissions and become more sustainable, the company culture has the ability to truly empower your employees and change the way they think about sustainability. Ensure that you communicate your eco-efforts clearly and proudly to your workforce, and make sure that sustainability is worked into discussions and meetings whenever possible. Creating a green company culture will inspire your employees and ensure that sustainability is always at the front of their minds.
As a business owner, you have the opportunity to pave the way towards a greener future, for both your company and your employees. It has never been more important to improve your sustainability measures and empower your staff to do the same.