How can your business be more sustainable?

In case you haven’t heard the UK is hosting COP26, the 26th United Nations climate change conference next week in Glasgow.

Somehow although we are hearing about this huge event almost daily, for most of us it will still feel as if it is something that is happening out there with the politicians.

But should it feel like that?

At a micro level we all have a responsibility to protect this planet.

In recent days and months there has been a lot of talk about what individuals can do to help the environment. This week there were also announcements by the government which includes grants to encourage us to change the way we heat our homes etc.

But what can business do?  How can you start your green journey?

 

7 simple steps to a greener business

 

  1. Set your Values

Your green or sustainable values will be part of your business decisions.

What are your values? Have you defined them?

Profit is likely to be one of the core values for your business but there are normally other values attached to it.  Sustainability can be one of them!

Spend some time thinking about this and bring sustainability to the core of your business values.

Any future decision your company takes, you must then think of its implications on the environment.

If you need help to relook at your business values, then we can help.

  1. Do more Digitally

Doing business digitally is more environmentally friendly.  Here are some examples:

 

  • Emailing the invoices to your customers or sending them via your cloud software. This will save not only on paper, but you use less electricity printing, use less ink saving on the plastic, the packaging and other resources that went into getting the ink cartridge to you.
  • Opt for electronic invoices from suppliers rather than insisting on paper ones. You don’t need paper invoices anymore.
  • Offer more remote working (see below) and meetings. There is always an argument that face-to-face meetings are important but is it necessary everytime?
  • Can you conduct some of your meetings virtually?  The last eighteen months has shown yes, we can.
  • Use more digital marketing. The use of social media to communicate with your current or future customers means there is less need for traditional advertising such as leaflet dropping.

If you needed other reasons to go digital when it comes to your finance function, you can read more about it here

 

  1. Offer remote working when you can

This has been made slightly easier by the pandemic.  Before 2020 there were a lot of businesses who always wanted physical visibility of their team.

But that went with the first lock down.

Since then, most businesses have adopted their practices to include teams working from home.

When we speak to clients and contacts, it is now unusual to come across many who will work from the office, one hundred percent of the time in the future.

Blended or hybrid working is here to stay. Look at our guide to get remote working right for your business

  1. Use green sustainable products

So, the first question you may ask here is what is “green sustainable” product?

With so much jargon out there, it can get confusing.

Green and sustainable products are products that are made using as little water, energy, and raw materials as possible whilst cutting carbon emissions.

It is now common to find many alternatives whether it is your morning coffee from Rainforest Alliance, your biodegradable desk and floor wipes, ball point pens made from re-cycled plastic and even the toilet paper from “forests for all forever”.

There is still a belief that green products costs more and affordability does come into the equation, but small steps will mean overall change.

Making choices which are environmentally sustainable might not be immediately profitable but remember you are planning for the future.  In the long term it will be worth it.

  1. Recycle your waste

We have all been used to re-cycling our domestic waste for several years now.  We like separating items we can re-cycle, food waste we can compost and things we throw out.

But do all businesses have the same facility at work.  Do you re-cycle as much as you possibly can? If not perhaps now is the time to start?

How about items of equipment that you no longer need or use?

Just this week W3RT (Watford and Three Rivers Trust) launched an initiative to donate your old laptops. Not only is this environmentally friendly but it also ensures that those in need get the equipment. Further information on this is on our Twitter account.

How about your ink refills that you use for your printers? Do you recycle them?

As we have already said, less paper, less waste and that will also mean less ink cartridges.

 

  1. Be more energy efficient around the office

Many people aren’t aware of how much carbon emissions simple everyday activities create.  This is hard to calculate so the trick is to keep it simple.

Here are some everyday things that we still do in the office sometimes without a second thought:

  • Leave lights on – can you install a light sensor, so it turns off automatically?
  • Airconditioning – does it need to be on all the time, or should you control it manually adjusting with your comfort. Shall we go back to opening windows again?
  • Light bulbs – can you change these, so they are all LED?
  • Computer monitors – are they left on overnight?
  • Plastic water bottles – can these be replaced with reusable glass ones?

 

  1. Work with other green businesses

As you know with everything else, working with like minded people makes life a bit easier.  That is not to say you do not want to be challenged in fact quite the opposite.

Once you have decided to put sustainability within your business values you will find it harder to work with those who are not on your wavelength.

Working with other environmentally focused business will give insights and knowledge that you will most likely find encouraging to grow your own journey.

 

Why does it all matter?

Apart from the obvious which is to save our planet, you also need to prepare the business as best you can for the future.

Your future buyer will be

  • Well informed
  • Environmentally conscious
  • Have green and sustainable values
  • Will only buy from brands and business that resonate those values

So, it is not just about jumping on the bandwagon.

Myers Clark as a business are going through a similar journey.  We are nowhere near done but we have started thinking about it and making small changes.

Global pressures are driving change and transforming business.  Your business needs a roadmap to prepare for this change.

Your stakeholders are going to demand greater transparency, accountability, and responsibility from you. So even if you implement one or two changes in the next year, it will be a good start.

Finally…The Treasury has released a report, ‘Net Zero Review’, this week alongside Green Budget 2021 issued by the Institute for Fiscal Studies.

The conclusion from these reports seems to be that new taxes will have to be introduced to pay for ‘net zero’, especially given the significant contribution that fuel and vehicle excise duty currently make to UK GDP.

Perhaps Green Taxes are something else to look out for in this week’s Budget.

Have you received your invitation to the Budget presentation we are holding on 5th November?  If not please email us.

 

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