With the growing concerns of climate change and the need to move towards sustainability, many companies have realized that integrating sustainability into their business operations is not only profitable but helps to improve a company’s image while building its competitive edge. Today we see big corporations as well as small companies developing sustainability strategies that help them to innovate, create value and perform well in the marketplace because consumers are increasingly becoming aware of their production and consumption patterns in order to protect the eco-system.
In that regard, what are some of the low-hanging fruits of adopting a green office for your business? Is recycling or going solar good solutions for sustainability? This blog attempts to explain some low hanging fruits that small and medium-size businesses might want to explore to help them adopt a triple-bottom-line i.e. a business good for the environment, social and economic dimensions of sustainability.
Is sustainability good for your bottom line?
Sustainability as a concept helps companies to innovate and become more efficient in their processes and operations. It helps companies to determine areas of continuous improvement or ways to conserve time, raw materials and reduce energy wastes while at the same time improving their bottom line. With sustainability, eco-efficiency is key to business processes helping companies to adopt the triple-bottom-line concept that is not only driven by profits but also the well being of society and the eco-system (environment) from which companies derive their raw materials.
What are some of the entry points for small and medium-sized businesses to adopt sustainability?
Implementing sustainability into business operations and processes can be implemented by small and medium-sized companies that are interested in creating a brand that recognizes the principle of sustainability has a value not only for their corporate social responsibility (CSR) strategy but also profitable for companies in the long-term. However, since implementing sustainability can demand a lot of resources in terms of human capital, time and financial resources that many small companies may not have; companies can target low-hanging fruits such as greening their office operations and processes.
What are some of the low-hanging fruits for adopting a green office?
When you want to think about making your office sustainable, you can think about your inputs and outputs. Just like in an industrial process, you may want to find out your materials and energy balance i.e. what raw materials are you feeding into the system and what is the resultant (product or by-product) and as such you can identify areas for continuous improvement. It is about following your products and processes and seeing the impact they have on the environment, society and the economy. For instance, is your product made with biodegradable or recyclable materials or are your processes efficient and utilizing less energy and what components can be added to help minimize or completely eliminate waste.
With this background, perhaps you can start to figure out opportunities for adopting different technologies for your office or practices that can help reduce energy and eliminate waste. Some of the low-hanging fruits we can think of are energy and paper. Energy and paper are both inputs in a process called printing and some technologies or sustainability practices can be adopted to help your company become more profitable while helping to conserve planet earth. Energy is another input that you could target since it is being used to run your computers, printers, light bulbs, computer servers, air conditioning, refrigeration, scanners, and other office equipment.
By targeting energy and paper, you want to innovate, create value and determine how much you can save by optimizing your processes to use less energy and generate less paper waste.
So, what are some green office ideas when it comes to saving office paper and energy conservation?
- Saving office paper
Saving office paper is great for your pocket and for long-term sustainability since the cumulative savings of paper and cash will help to conserve trees and save you money that you could have used to purchase the extra paper. When it comes to determining the numbers for example how much paper you can save based on your current baseline, there are some tools out there like the office footprint calculator that can help you determine your sustainability impact.
In that regard, you want to determine some of the best practices that your office can adopt to change the trajectory of your paper usage through paper minimization strategies and recycling or buying recycled paper.
- Some of the common practices is adjusting your printer’s default settings to automatically print on both sides of your paper.
- Purchase energy-efficient printers that are Energy Star rated to conserve both energy and paper at the same time. There are various places that you can find energy-efficient printers. Check out the green office for some options. Find energy-efficient printers, fax machines and more on Amazon!
- Buy office paper that is recycled this could range anywhere from 25% recycled to 100% recycled. Such paper with recycled content is usually paper certified to sustainable forestry standards. You can learn more about buying green paper or recycled paper through Amazon. Learn more about how you can with the green office and Make Earth and your wallet happy! 100% recycled paper products at amazing prices available on Amazon!
- Use electronic means such as emails and scanning to share information and this can save you tonnes of paper in the long-term.
- Energy conservation
Energy efficiency is one way of saving energy and can be explored to help you conserve energy in the long-term. Below are some ideas you may want to consider:
- Switch to LED lighting and save on lighting costs
- Adopt energy-efficient appliances for your office including energy-efficient printers, scanners and other equipment that uses energy. There are various places you can find such green office appliances. Amazon has hundreds of green electronics, accessories and more!
- Consider going solar which could reduce your energy bill with about 30% to 75% of your energy bill while at the same time improving your company’s brand. Today there are online solar calculators that can provide you with a good estimate of the savings that you can achieve with going solar. Check out this solar calculator to determine the cost of going solar and answer some questions you may have concerning switching to solar such as:
These are just a few ideas that can help your company start moving towards being sustainable or achieving a triple-bottom-line (Environmental, Social and Economic).