Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 21 September 2014

Be seen to be green

Cost and time disruption are the two main factors that put many businesses off the idea of committing to a ‘greener’ workplace but if you only knew the long-term benefits that a few ethical tweaks could make to your profits - your business and the environment could be friendlier than you think.

Going green is not only a cost-effective measure, it promotes attractive company values to employees, stakeholders and clients and in the long-term builds profits.

Going green can be as complex or simple as you want. It can begin from implementing easy procedures into your everyday routine to setting up a comprehensive all-green office environment.

To set you off on the right foot, we’ve put together easy steps to begin your ethical journey.

1) Communicate your commitment: Whether you’re a one-man workplace or a medium sized enterprise, inform all staff that you are serious about going green and stick to it.

2) Record your progress: Put in place a system that allows you to manage your green initiatives such as appointing an employee to record details.

This will not only re-emphasise your commitment to employees but allow you to discover exactly how much you are saving.

3) Start off with the simple things: We’re talking boiling just enough water in the kettle to make a cuppa through to ensuring all electrical equipment is switched off at night.

4) Calculate your carbon footprint and monitor it: Begin by analysing heating, electricity bills and car fuel consumption. Set a plan in motion that will allow you to reduce these costs from encouraging employees to car share, use public transport and enable computer energy saving tools.

5) Source environmentally friendly tools and equipment: If you need to update your computer systems, look for the best energy savers on the market. Source green ink refills or look to product providers who offer discounts in exchange for empty cartridges.

6) Recycle: Easy to do but often overlooked by many businesses, recycling is one of the easiest methods of being green. Disposing of waste often costs businesses but if you recycle, councils will collect and dispose of your waste at a lower rate.

7) Encourage electronic interaction between clients and staff: Inform customers and clients of your move to a greener world by requesting they send invoices electronically and keep as many company records as possible on electronic files and storage devices to reduce your need for paper.

8) Avail of natural daylight and only use lights when they are really needed: An effortless task that will reduce bills and your carbon footprint.

9) Make it personal: From you, the boss to your staff, encourage everyone to become that bit more environmentally friendly. Lead by example. Request that employees use mugs instead of plastic cups. Install a water cooler to use with company glasses and suggest homemade lunches as opposed to package convenience foods.

10) Shout about it: Get an external organisation to monitor your changes and advise you on how to make your workplace greener, in return, you’ll get an environmental audit that you can boast about.

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