How green is your company?

6 steps to improving your environmental credentials

With sustainability a growing concern for consumers across the world, improving your environmental performance makes good business sense.

With sustainability moving rapidly up the agenda and consumers becoming increasingly conscious of their purchasing decisions, taking steps to ensure that your company is environmentally responsible simply makes good business sense. However, it can seem like a daunting prospect, so here are some of our top tips to help get you moving in the right direction.

Get your staff on board

Improving your environmental performance often requires a significant culture change, so it’s important to have your employees on board from the very beginning.  Engage your staff in your mission by asking them for their input and ideas for improving sustainability; giving employees the opportunity to be involved at an early stage will give them a sense of ownership and help ensure their continued ‘buy-in’ throughout the project. You can also make sustainability fun by setting clear targets, running internal competitions and celebrating successes.

Cut unnecessary travel

Travelling between sites for business meetings and conferences can make a hefty contribution to your carbon emissions, so try to eliminate any unnecessary travel by using modern technology, such as Skype and video-conferencing, to conduct face-to-face meetings without leaving the comfort of your office. Where travel is necessary, encourage employees to use public transport wherever possible, and set an example by doing the same yourself. Air travel should be kept to a bare minimum but on those occasions where it is impossible to avoid travelling by plane, consider making a donation to a carbon-offsetting scheme.

Embrace flexible working

Another relatively easy way to make your company greener is to embrace modern, flexible working practices. Allowing people the freedom to work from home on a regular basis will cut the amount of traffic on the road during rush hour and will also reduce energy use in your office buildings, helping you to save energy, carbon and money. A more flexible working policy will also help to improve employees’ work-life balance, increasing productivity and making your company a more attractive place to work – so it’s a win-win all around.

Demonstrate commitment

Improving the environmental performance of your company can seem daunting and it can be easy to become overwhelmed and lose motivation, but pursuing certification such as iso 14001 can help you to stay on track. Iso 14001 requirements will give you a framework to work to, guiding you towards key actions and milestones. As well as keeping you focused, an environmental accreditation will also demonstrate to your customers and stakeholders that you take your environmental responsibilities seriously, bolstering your reputation as a green organisation.

Buy green

As well as looking at your own activities, you also need to pay attention to your supply chain. Procurement should be an important part of any sustainability strategy, but all too often it’s an area that gets overlooked – and this can have a negative impact on your environmental performance. Take the time to review your procurement policies and make sure you are buying as sustainably as possible – think about elements such as the use of renewable and recyclable materials, reduced packaging, sustainable delivery methods, non-toxic materials and buying local.

Don’t rest on your laurels

When it comes to improving your environmental performance, the most important advice we can give is not to rest on your laurels. There is always something more you can do, so be sure to ask yourself ‘what’s next?’. With a commitment to continuous improvement and a desire to go the extra mile, you can ensure that your business is as green as it can possibly be.

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