More and more small businesses are realising that they need to go green – not just to save the planet, but to boost their public image and their bank balances. Many SMEs have already taken environmentally-conscious steps, with many planning to take more in the coming few years.
Lowering the carbon footprint of a business, especially a smaller one, can be a daunting task. Will it involve fitting costly solar panels that won’t get a return for at least five years? Will existing electrical equipment have to be scrapped and replaced with newer, more efficient versions?
Not necessarily. Even if there are a few extra costs involved in going greener, they’re worth it in the long-run, in terms of public goodwill and the eventual savings that will be made.
Here’s a few ways for SMEs and start-ups to go green and stay green, without spending a fortune:
Make sure you’re emailing instead of snail-mailing
Paper is a big expense, and one of the most commonly-wasted resources in an office. If you don’t really need that hard copy, don’t print it out. People can get lazy about pressing ”Print”, when they could just as easily read a document onscreen. The same goes for mailshots and marketing – keep as much of it online as possible.
Use recycled, sustainable or durable packaging
Giving your customers plastic bags to take their purchases home in isn’t good PR anymore. Not if they have to pay five pence a shot, as well! Think about getting some branded eco-friendly cotton bags made by a company . Customers love touches like this.
Work from home every now and then
Ditch the commute every so often and save some carbon. Many businesses now host remote meetings rather than sending employees all over the place. This is a great way to decrease travel expenses, both in terms of carbon and in sterling! If employees do need to travel, why not encourage a car pool?
Use a fax-to-email service
Fax machines are expensive to run and they also waste reams of paper daily. Incoming faxes can be converted to email and pinged into your inbox instead. No mess, no waste and a permanent copy that won’t get coffee-stained.
Cloud storage makes everything lighter!
Transfer your IT system to a shared data network and you could reduce your carbon footprint by as much as 50 per cent. By storing your business’ data remotely, each employee can access it from wherever they are, meaning that less paper gets used.
Switch off at the end of the day
And we mean turn electrical items off, not just forgetting the stresses of work life! Disconnect phone and laptop chargers when they’re not in use, turn non-essential lights at the end of the day… It all adds up to a big saving.
Reduce, re-use, recycle
Recycle as much as you can. There will be lots of things that you throw away without a second thought, from scrap paper to takeaway coffee cups. Have a think about what you can re-use, or take to a scrap dealer, and make sure all your employees know about it.