As a business owner, a large amount of responsibility lies with you. People often rely on you to set an example, to have the answers, and to choose a path going forward. This has been especially true during the last eighteen months as every single company has been trying to chart a course through the pandemic. Clear leadership has not always been in great supply during the last few months and, as a result, managers and business owners have been under intense scrutiny. This has not just included an increased focus on employee health.
Looking ahead at the next few months, and indeed years, one of the most important issues that we all need to be addressing is climate change. In fact, it feels safe to say that climate change is going to be the main talking point long after COVID-19 fades in our memories. With increasingly alarming predictions coming through on a regular basis, this is a problem that we need to address for the generations that come after us, and as a business owner, you have a platform that allows you to do more than most. If you are wondering how you can effect positive change in your company, here are a few tips to help you get started.
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Set The Tone
One of the most important things that you can do as a business leader working on something as massive as this, is to set the tone in your business. This is not something that you can do as an afterthought, by sending out the occasional email reminder to ask everyone to use the recycling bins. This is something that you need to be thinking about on a daily basis, setting the tone is very important.
What does setting the tone mean? It means being an example. You need to show that this is an issue that means a lot to you personally as well as professionally. Assess the suppliers you are working with to see if they’re also committed to a greener future. If you feel like the materials and methods that they are using are not up to the standard that you would like, then consider changing to suppliers that better align with your needs. Making going green part of your brand and corporate strategy is going to be increasingly important moving forward, but you need to be able to back it up with your actions.
Start With The Basics
Let’s talk about what you can do to help your business be more environmentally friendly in the office itself. Before you tackle larger-scale projects, it is always a good idea to ensure you’re getting the basics right first. That means making it as easy as possible for your employees to recycle as much as possible as neatly as possible.
You can start small by replacing any single-use plastic utensils or crockery in your office with reusable ones. Another small change you could implement is ensuring that everyone has properly switched off their computers at the end of the day before leaving the office to make certain your business is not using unnecessary amounts of electricity.
Then it’s time to think about your hardware. Consider upgrading to newer machines with a better energy efficiency rating. It is an upfront cost, but it will reduce costs in the long term as well as cut down your wasted energy. On a similar note, think about switching out your old light bulbs for LED ones. They create less waste energy through heat than the traditional alternatives. In addition to energy, you also need to think about how you can conserve other natural resources, such as water. For example, you could look at low-flow options if you want to cut down on the amount of water your business is using.
Do You Still Need An Office?
The return to the office has been one of the most widely discussed and controversial issues of the last eighteen months. Most of us assumed that it would be a temporary measure when the world locked down and we all started working from home. Now, we are deep into autumn and a lot of businesses have only just started bringing everyone back.
The controversy has largely focused on whether or not employees want to return to the office, and whether vaccine passports are a good idea (the government has said no to vaccine passports for now). While the amount of animated discussion surrounding those elements of the issue is understandable, there is another factor that needs to be a part of the debate: giving up the office for good could be a greener choice. One potential benefit would be that it will cut down on the amount of energy and carbon emissions that your company is responsible for, as no one would be commuting to work and you will not be heating and powering a large communal space.
It certainly feels as though we have all been given something of a crash course in climate change over the last few years, with a new hard lesson to be learned every month or so. But if you want to make a positive change, you should shift your focus away from the current situation and more towards future developments. You should assess what measures you can put in place now to prevent the situation from worsening in the future..
Sustainability is a buzzword that is thrown around a lot at the moment, and what it really boils down to is finding solutions that will allow our businesses to continue to thrive and develop with little to no impact on the planet. This is something that requires a new way of thinking and a new approach to old models. A course in business sustainability from reputable establishments like The University of Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership (CISL) will give you the fundamentals you need to have a firm grasp on the concept and how to apply it to your business. CISL’s Business Sustainability Management online short course will give you the tools that you need to help educate your employees and encourage them to become part of the solution, which brings us to our next point.
Involve Your Employees
One of the most important things that you can do as an employer is to make your employees part of the initiative. Without their involvement, your ability to implement real change can be limited. However, it is highly likely that encouraging them to be a part of going green is something that will have a very positive impact on your team morale.
After all, this is an issue that can sometimes feel overwhelming and it can be difficult to see how we could have a real impact. But recent studies have shown that we all want to do our part, feeling like we are part of an organization that is taking positive steps helps us to feel like we are moving in the right direction. So, think about what you could do to encourage your employees to get proactive with this issue. You could set up regular meetings to discuss concepts for how you can set a path towards a more sustainable future for your company.