Today, having an eco-friendly business is very much considered to be a helpful and innovative way of sustaining our environment. It can also be cost-effective, with financial incentives available to businesses, including tax breaks and government subsidiaries.
Being eco-friendly is also an excellent way to attract more customers and gain a competitive edge in an age where more consumers are placing a greater emphasis on company ethics. Whether you offer banking or travel services, or run a manufacturing company or wine bar, eco-friendly business practices are cost-effective and they are a smart and responsible business objective.
Read our guide on green business tips to ensure that your business does not only excel in its profits, but also excels in its commitment to saving the planet.
Consider your office space
An eco-friendly business starts with an eco-friendly office. Are your desks typically cluttered with mountains of paper that are screaming to be recycled? Do all the devices that are plugged into the extension cord need to be switched on? In cases where there is an issue, it is good practice to establish certain rules in the office to make sure that everyone is recycling and ditching the plug whenever they can.
Do something about the paper issue
If there are too many printers in the office, reduce them. If there is a fax machine that is constantly in the way, get rid of it. Virtually no one uses faxes anymore, and you can configure your computer to send and receive them in any case. Plus, it’s really simple to send digital documents over email or a file-sharing platform online.
As well as this, it is a good idea to switch to paperless statements and to introduce a digital signature policy in your eco-friendly office. Again, this can all be easily done on the computer. Digital filing reduces paper waste and means that all files can be accessed at the touch of a button. It also reduces the need for storage or offsite archiving, which can be expensive. However, do make sure that any digital files are stored securely and are regularly backed up to a separate off-site server. Engaging in these key eco-friendly business practices is just the first step to reducing the amount of paper that somehow manages to claw its way into your office space.
Want some inspiration? Take the story of Joe Miller, an eco-friendly entrepreneur who set out on a mission to do something about paper wastage. Joe’s company, called Print a Forest, acts as a free software application that allows a user to plant a tree for every hundred pages that they print.
Don’t forget about e-waste
An eco-friendly office does not just stop at the paper and plastic recycling bins – e-waste has to be considered as well. Unwanted electronic devices, such as phones, tablets, and computers, often end up in landfills. Therefore, when the time comes for you or a co-worker to dispose of an electronic item, look up e-waste recycling centres near you. Companies that offer this service include Virogreen and GIGACYCLE.
An eco-friendly entrepreneur who has used her creative ideas to repurpose recycled items is Janette Eusebio Hardwell. Janette is the founder of Box Play for Kids, a US company that turns throwaway boxes commonly found in recycling bins into fun toys.
Jazz things up
Are you an entrepreneur about to set up their first office space? A fast-growth company? Or do you simply want to change things up in your office? Whatever the situation is, make sure that you try your best to have eco-friendly business products in your office. These could range from anything such as recycled paper notebooks, eco-friendly pens, and solar USB pens. If you’ve got the money and want to be more ambitious, then consider getting eco-friendly flooring options made from renewable materials or sustained fabrics.
Renewable energy sources
Speaking of renewable energy, there is no doubt that the environment will benefit from an eco-friendly office that uses alternative energy sources such as solar and wind. Depending on the location and type of office, you could consider installing solar panels on the roof of your eco-friendly office. Another alternative is to subscribe to a green energy tariff that sources its energy from renewable sources.
Remote working and sustainable travel options
Do you or your employees have to drive miles to work every day? If the answer is yes, then it might be a good idea to consider remote working. There are already plenty of vehicles on the road, and introducing a remote working policy will not only save your employees time and money getting to work – it will also cut down on levels of pollution in the air. However, you do not have to go completely remote, you could simply just introduce weekly work-from-home days to your colleagues.
You can also introduce sustainable travel plans. If you have company cars, offer incentives for electric and low emission vehicles. You could also offer incentives for car share schemes, bike to work schemes and for the use of public transport. These can include loans or grants for bikes, free bicycle storage and staff showers on site, or free season ticket loan or subsidised travel for public transport.
Reduce your Taxes
Becoming more energy-efficient and utilising cleaner energy sources is also likely to have an impact on some of the taxes you may be liable for. As the UK looks to continue to reduce its carbon emissions, environmental or green taxes in the country are likely to grow. It goes without saying that Alexander & Co can assist your business to ensure you pay the right amount of environmental taxes and comply with legislation. We can also advise on incentives available for investing in environmentally friendly procedures and assets.
As well as being your trusted accountants, we at Alexander & Co are also your business advisors who can assist you in all aspects of growing your eco-friendly business. We know how industries work and how they succeed, so get in touch for more information.