If you own a small or medium-sized business in the UK you’ll know all about the stresses and pressures to succeed that you face every single day. From dealing with your employees, suppliers, building a customer base, adhering to strict health and safety regulations and industry-specific legislation, alongside a whole host of other matters, it can be incredibly taxing. One area in which we all need to take some extra responsibility in right away is that of the environment. We all need to take a long, hard look at ourselves and attempt to significantly reduce our carbon footprint and become sustainable. As a small business owner, what can you do?
The biggest hurdle to becoming a sustainable company is to change the culture of a company, and to build positive habits that become second nature. The earlier you can do this within the lifetime of a business, the easier it will be of course, but that’s not to say that a seasoned company owner that has been running a business for years shouldn’t even attempt positive change in this way.
There are several ways in which you can begin to change the culture of a company to ensure it is set up to be more sustainable and environmentally aware in the future. This can include cutting your emissions, having flexibility of working patterns (in terms of remote working and flexible hours, as well as car share schemes), as well as working out what to do with your paper and other physical waste.
The first thing to do is to work out how you can improve your work setting immediately. Every workplace is unique, with a sole trader working at home facing a very different prospect of change than a company working in a warehouse with 30-operatives, or an office space with hundreds of employees. There are always things that you can do immediately to change the way your business operates. All it takes is a careful analysis of your environment and a commitment to consistency. So, for instance, add double glazing if the windows don’t have that already – it will help to make the property more thermally efficient and reduce your bills at the same time. Source suppliers of renewable energy wherever possible, to do your bit to help build a sustainable planet for us all.
Another thing you can do is to implement a system of smart working, where your employees are incentivised to car share on the way to work, to cycle or walk to work, or to work from home more often. All of this helps to cut down the need for travel, which in turn reduces the carbon footprint of the company as a whole.
Finally, what to do about paper waste? It is a problem that blights every single company, no matter what industry, and no matter what size the company is. You can find a local shredding service that is discreet and can come and collect your paper waste on a regular basis, helping you to adhere to GDPR, as well as recycling your paper waste after it has been shredded.