n honor of World Earth Day, it's the perfect time for small to mid-sized businesses like us to reflect on their environmental impact and adopt more sustainable practices. According to the World Economic Forum, small companies are critical to a more sustainable and inclusive world. Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up 90% of businesses globally (and create 2 out of 3 jobs worldwide!) They also make up for 50% of greenhouse gas emissions! As we have experienced firsthand, we understand it's challenging to balance environmental, social, and governance (ESG) consciousness on top of everything else!
But! Going green doesn't have to be challenging. Remote employees (Like Carbon Edge, we're 99% remote!), save time and reduce carbon footprints by not having to commute. Using digital tools like Microsoft Teams, Slack, video conferenceing, Sharepoint, cloud storage isn't just good for business – it's also good for the environment!
Cognisant of SMEs' limited resources bandwidth, here are some small actionable tips for doing our part to foster a more sustainable future for us and for the next generation!
#1 - Conduct a Waste Audit: The First Step to Sustainability
The first step in creating a sustainable office is understanding where you stand. Conducting a waste audit will help you identify areas where you can improve. If you work in an office, grab a team and do an office scavenger hunt to find all the places that could benefit from waste reduction! This can include everything from paper and plastic waste to energy consumption. Once you clearly understand your current waste generation, you can start to develop a plan to reduce it.
#2 - Set Goals and Targets: Get Creative with Sustainability
Once you've identified areas where you can improve, setting goals and targets is essential. To make this fun, create a sustainability vision board with your team to establish the green initiatives you want to accomplish. Hang it in the office for everyone to see and monitor progress over time. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, and achievable. For example, you might plan to reduce paper usage by 50% within the following year.
#3 - Promote Recycling: The Eco-Friendly Competition
Recycling is one of the easiest and most effective ways to reduce waste. Make recycling fun by creating a friendly competition between departments to see who can recycle the most. Create recycling champions and give rewards to those who recycle the most. You might even consider implementing a recycling incentive program to encourage employees to recycle more.
#4 - Switch to Sustainable Products: The Sustainable Swag
From office supplies to cleaning products, there are many sustainable alternatives available that can help reduce waste and promote environmental responsibility. To make this creative, have a team-building day where you make your eco-friendly products! Look for products made from recycled and biodegradable materials, or have a lower carbon footprint. Significant impact can be made over time by making small changes like switching to sustainable products!
#5 - Conserve Energy: The Power of Green
And if possible, why not switch to renewable energy sources like solar or wind power to power your company? If not, offset your energy consumption through programs like carbon offsets or renewable energy credits. Changes like these can make a big difference in the long run, and your business and the environment will thank you for it!
#6 - Go Paperless: The Digital Age
In today's digital age, many tools and technologies can help reduce paper usage (US businesses waste $8 billion annually just managing paper, aka wasting time!). From online collaboration tools to digital filing systems, going paperless can help reduce waste, save money, and improve efficiency. Encourage your employees to use digital tools whenever possible, and consider implementing a paperless policy for internal communications.
#7 - Get Creative and Engage Employees: The Sustainability Movement
#8 - Give Back to the Community: Supporting Local and Charity Initiatives
Key Takeaway - The Power of Sustainable Thinking
By going green, small to mid-sized businesses can not only positively impact the environment but also improve their bottom line. Studies show that 66% of consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and companies. Additionally, companies that demonstrate a commitment to sustainability are more likely to attract and retain customers and employees who share the same values!
So on World Earth Day, let's commit to making a positive impact, incorporate the eight actionable tips above, and create a more sustainable future for ourselves and future generations!