Businesses are much more aware of the importance of social responsibility these days, with many trying to have more of a positive effect on the environment.
Since the outbreak of coronavirus and subsequent self-isolation and lockdown practices, one positive has been the ‘green effect’. For example, in Italy, residents of Venice noticed a significant improvement in the canal’s water quality for the first time in years, with fish visible in the usually grim waters. Clearly then, our environmental efforts aren’t wasted — is this a chance to turn things around?
There are many ways in which a company can reduce its carbon footprint or plastic pollution. For example, a switch from oil to gas to choosing your tools carefully, can make an impact. As well as having a positive effect on the planet, it’ll have a positive influence on your profits and consumer trust as consumers claim that they’re willing to pay more for sustainable products.
Bio-degradable is the future
Single use plastics are one of the most notorious killers of the environment. We produce 300 million tonnes of plastic every year, with 50 per cent of that for single use purposes. Considering plastic waste is extremely light, this is significantly more waste than it may seem. Although our businesses and consumers may make conscious efforts to recycle our plastic waste, according to research, only nine per cent of the global eight billion tonnes of virgin plastic is recycled — virgin plastic is plastic freshly produced that hasn’t been reprocessed before.
There are many global brands that are making the leap to greener alternatives for bio-based and biodegradable cutlery and packaging; Costa Coffee is planning on introducing coffee cup lids from wood and paper fibre, and cutlery made from biodegradable avocado seed alternatives; McDonald’s has replaced plastic straws with paper straws; and Just Eat is trialling takeout boxes lined with seaweed, tree, and grass pulp.
If your business serves food or drink, consider adopting biodegradable packaging and cutlery to reduce harm to wildlife and ecosystems, as these products can be broken down by microorganisms into carbon dioxide, water, and compost — which is essentially natural recycling.
Plugging in …
In line with the government’s 2050 net zero emissions target, the electric car market is soaring, with over 273,000 electric cars on the UK roads at the end of February 2020. The UK government has announced a £400 million investment into the infrastructure of electric vehicle rapid charge points across the country.
Similar to the electric vehicle home charge scheme, the government has introduced the workplace charging scheme, offering workplaces financial investment to install charge points at the premises, covering around 75 per cent of the installation costs to a maximum of 20 sockets.
Around 75 per cent of electric car owners are unable to charge their cars at work in the UK. Therefore, this grant will help resolve concerns and encourage employees to think about buying an electric vehicle, as well as support a fleet of commercial electric vehicles.
Smart thermostats allow you to control your office heating — smartly! They let you programme your heating in the same way a traditional thermostat does, but with the added benefit of efficiently using your energy. This means that you can control your system remotely, using a device such as a smartphone thank to GPS signals.
Many of these thermostats are able to monitor exactly how long your room would take to heat to a certain temperature, meaning you won’t be wasting unnecessary energy on warmer days. This is also an added benefit if you have many sections or rooms to your building. Using your smart thermostat allows you to control separate areas, meaning that those warmer or unused rooms won’t be receiving unnecessary heating.
Their ability to let you see your data in real time is a great asset in ensuring there are no hidden costs in your business too. In 2018, almost a quarter of homes had them, so why would your business not?
So, there are a number of products and measures you can take to make your business eco-friendlier. Not only will the planet benefit, but so will your profits!