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How Can a Business be More Environmentally Friendly?

Lauren Valensky
5 Feb 2022

In the current climate, with predicted global temperatures now being forecast between  0.97°C and 1.21°C above the average, turning the focus towards building environmentally-friendly brands and businesses has never been more important, and not just on the climate change front [1].

Customers are increasingly looking for organisations that align with their changing values, so failing to match these can see your margins melt.

We know that majorly adjusting the way your business operates can be overwhelming. So, we've compiled a list of earth-friendly advice, to help you get in the (o)zone. Read on if you’re keen to explore how your business can be more environmentally friendly and reduce your environmental imprint without making any major sacrifices.

Why do we need to make our business environments eco-friendly?

It’s crucial for businesses to take a step back and assess how their practices are affecting the planet. We all need to take measures to reduce our impact on the Earth, and with the ability to influence customers, businesses have a responsibility to lead by example.

There are a lot of great reasons to become an eco-friendly business. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it can also pay. There are several steps you can take to change your operations, that can have a big impact on the planet, as well as your profits: 

Pack in the plastic

Introducing environmentally friendly packaging is a great way to reduce your business’s impact on the planet.

You can find biodegradable and recyclable packing materials made from renewable resources, like cardboard, sugarcane, bamboo, and cornstarch.

You can also choose to print your marketing materials on recycled paper and use recycled content in your packaging whenever possible.

This will help divert waste from landfills and conserve resources. When selecting packaging, consider how it will be disposed of at the end of its life cycle.

The ultimate way to reduce your wrapping waste is by using less packaging overall. Try to design products that are easy to open and don’t require extra materials like boxes, inserts, and plastic wrap.

Go Paperless

One great way to reduce your environmental impact is to go paperless. You can do this by switching to digital documents and communications with your clients/customers (billing etc.), or by implementing a paperless system in your office, which includes features like digital signatures. This will ultimately help you save energy, conserve resources, and reduce waste.

You can also encourage your employees to go paperless by providing them with digital tools such as tablets, laptops, or e-readers. By making the switch to digital, you help reduce your business’s environmental impact and save money on paper and printing costs at the same time.

Reduce unnecessary travel/offer remote work

Encouraging employees to telecommute or work from home can help reduce your company’s environmental impact. By endorsing more environmentally safe methods of commuting, you can save on fuel costs and reduce emissions from vehicles... we're sure your employees won't mind. By doing this, you can also save energy by reducing the number of office appliances that are being used unnecessarily.

Offering webinars or other virtual meetings as an alternative to in-person meetings, can also further reduce travel needs. Eliminating this need for employees to commute saves finite resources such as gasoline and reduces greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

Provide public transport benefits

If your employees do need to travel for work, try to make it as eco-friendly as possible. You can provide incentives like discounted public transport passes, Cycle to Work schemes, or subsidize the cost of using carpooling or bike-sharing services. This will help reduce emissions from employee travel and make it easier for your workers to commute in an environmentally friendly way.

 

Practice what you preach

While your business may be doing a lot of things externally to reduce its impact on the planet, the most environmentally friendly businesses also focus on what can be done internally. This includes how your office is designed and how the work itself is carried out.

You can promote sustainability amongst your staff member by getting involved in things like tree-planting events or community gardening projects. If these aren’t viable options for your business, you can always provide some initiatives yourself.

Implement The Three R’s

We couldn't talk about businesses becoming environmentally friendly without mentioning the three R’s ... and the order of these concepts is more important than you might think.

Reduce:

  • As the first port of call, businesses should aim to reduce usage where they can.
  • This can be as simple as installing low emission lightbulbs, reusable crockery instead of disposable cups and plates, or printing double-sided if your business isn't yet paperless.

Reuse:

  • Once you’ve reduced, it’s time to reuse what you have, ie. utilising pre-used products and materials for as long as possible before disposing of them.
  • This could be as simple as filling an old printer cartridge instead of buying a new one, or using a cloth to wipe down surfaces rather than using paper towels. You could even use waste packaging to store or transport items.
  • Upcycling by repairing or refurbishing any of your business' furniture instead of constantly buying new, is also a great way to reuse.

Recycle:

  • The final step is recycling what can’t be reduced, reused, or consumed. Make sure you have the correct type of bin for recyclable materials (paper, certain plastics, tin, and glass products), and promote its use among your employees - offering a short training program on how to recycle correctly, can help you do this.

Get green-fingered

Another way to make your business more environmentally friendly is by incorporating greenery into the office. Not only does this look great, but it can also help improve air quality and reduce stress levels. You could start with something small, like a potted plant on each employee’s desk, or go for a full-blown garden installation.

Save water

While conserving water might seem negligible, it can make a big impact on your company’s environmental footprint, and since 66% of the world is predicted face water shortages by 2025, it’s clearly significant [2]

Amazingly, add ons such as low-flow taps, for example, can help reduce water consumption by up to 50%, with duo-flush toilets cutting water consumption by more than 70%...water the chances. You can also use sensors that will turn off the water when it isn’t needed. 

Businesses can also install water recycling systems, which not only reduce water usage by up to 90% but also helps reduce energy use and wastewater treatment costs. And while we’ve given you a few savvy ways to save water here, that’s just a drop in the ocean. 

Stay sustainable

While a large number of businesses only go as far as recycling when it comes to helping the planet, don’t be a product of your environment.

If you have offices, buying sustainable products lets your business benefit the environment from its foundation. Sourcing biodegradable toiletry items, or providing toilet paper made from sustainable materials like bamboo are just two of the great options available.

Save your energy with an award-winning POS system 

Epos Now are winners of the 2021 UK Business and Innovation Awards for Best Sustainability Innovation. We understand that becoming more sustainable is not something that can happen overnight in business. With the right tools, it’s possible. 

Make becoming eco-friendly more manageable with Epos Now’s state-of-the-art POS systems for retail and hospitality business. We let you choose the tools and insights to help your business achieve its goals. Designed to work as a complete business management system, you can control all vital aspects of your company from one cloud-based system:

  • View sales analyses on profit margin, cash flow, and other expenses
  • Access multi-award-winning inventory management systems that sync online sales and in-person sales for the most up-to-date stock levels
  • Create and send invoices using simple templates and a built-in VAT calculator
  • Integrate with the business automation apps that are right for your business

If you’d like to learn more about our industry-leading software, get in touch with one of our experts.

Want to explore even more ways to become an eco-friendly business? We'd love to hear from you!

 

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