How can we make offices more ecofriendly?
As COP26 in Glasgow revealed that the world is heading towards disastrous global temperatures, reducing carbon emissions and becoming more ecofriendly is more crucial than ever. And although it’s up to governments to implement the required legal changes, it’s also down to people and companies to follow suit.
While one fifth of companies are taking considerable action to combat climate change, many struggle to be proactive, as investing in being eco-friendly can be time-consuming and costly. Firms often also find it difficult to identify where they’re going wrong and what the solutions are.
However, there are plenty of simple steps your own company can take to boost its sustainability credentials, including these four.
1. Enhanced office products
One way of being more eco-friendly is by buying sustainable office equipment alternatives such as FSC-certified printing paper, soy and vegetable-based inks, and recycled paper notebooks. Another is to buy your office snacks from environmentally-conscious suppliers, and in bulk, if possible. The same can be done with your office coffee too.
Meanwhile, energy-efficient appliances, like water coolers, not only use less energy but generate less plastic waste and prevent water loss. Take these PET water cooler bottles by sustainable packaging company Petainer, for example, which are robust, fully recyclable and BPA-free. They can be refilled up to 40 times and are much more eco-friendly than single-use plastic bottles.
2. Monitor energy usage
Heating systems and electricity needed for technology, lighting and air conditioning consume plenty of energy. In fact, UK offices are losing £60 million in wasted energy every year, which is enough to power over 10,000 homes.
As such, it’s a good idea to invest in a smart monitoring system to keep track of lighting, heating and cooling, and general electricity usage. This will help you better understand your building’s energy consumption and pinpoint how to reduce what you use, as well as save your business money. It might be the case that your employees aren’t switching lights off when leaving the office, or PCs aren’t being properly turned off at the end of the day — these are unnecessary and expensive uses of energy.
3. Create team green goals
Working together with your whole team can help you raise awareness around sustainability and take action together to implement changes and best practises. Considering that 81% of workers aged between 21 and 30 expect their workplace to follow sustainable business practises, getting everyone’s input is important. This could begin with a team meeting to discuss environmental problems and for employees to propose ideas.
It might be that you start to refine your waste management process, providing more recycling containers to ensure everyone does their bit to improve overall recycling rates. You could also suggest team initiatives like Meatless Mondays or working together to source sustainable suppliers.
4. Encourage greener commuting
Commutes make up 15% of all journeys in the UK, the second highest after shopping. While we all need to get to our workplace somehow, the method you choose is important. Road vehicles, including cars, buses, trucks and motorbikes, are responsible for nearly 75% of greenhouse gas emissions generated by transportation.
So, as part of your new office sustainability initiatives, encourage your staff to make greener commuting decisions. Walking and cycling, if possible, are great ways of reducing your carbon footprint. Even swapping your car for a bike one day a week can make an impact.
Providing incentives for these changes will likely convince more employees to make these eco swaps. For example, some companies offer a Cycle To Work Scheme, in which the cost of a bicycle is subsidised by their employer. Allowing employees to work from home can also limit commutes and reduce carbon emissions.