Sometimes the simplest solutions are the most effective. This philosophy is doubly true when we’re looking to improve the environmental credentials of our business where reducing unnecessary energy output is key. Fast food company McDonald's claims to have reduced their energy requirements by 25% simply by opting for energy-efficient appliances. Switching off inessential electronic devices when they’re not needed is a very effective strategy for reducing our environmental impact. Consider switching computers off at the end of the day, rather than leaving them in sleep mode. Switch lights off in rooms nobody is using and explore investing in more efficient insulation and heating systems to save heat and money.
Work with Nature
Energy efficiency can take many forms and changes in work culture can have knock-on effects that benefit the environment. While we’re not blessed with as much sunshine as other parts of the world, we can still use the sun to benefit the planet and our bottom line. Consider prioritizing meetings and working hours across the year in sync with daylight hours. Working during daylight, ideally in work environments with plenty of natural light, looks after the health and well being of your employees and means less energy is required to light office spaces with electricity. Couple this with switching to more ecological energy providers such as Energia or Panda Power, who supply 100% renewable energy from wind and solar power, and you’re accounting for a major part of your environmental profile.
Make it Rain
Gaming company The Stars Group has been looking at ways they can decrease emissions and improve their ecological practices at their European HQ. One method they've adopted to great success is the installation of a water tank that collects and purifies rainwater. This strategy has enabled them to reduce water consumption by over 90%. With yearly rainfall in Ireland averaging between 750 and 1000mm a year, this is one strategy that could prove particularly effective here.
Clean and Green
Switching to more environmentally friendly products can be a fantastic way to improve the ecological profile of your organization. What’s more, this is a particular strategy that can be applied to varying degrees at all levels of your business. One example would be swapping out more ecologically harmful cleaning products for greener options like those developed by Belgium-based Ecover. Another example is taking steps to swap out office supplies to more readily recyclable options. Objects like single-use pens and printer ink cartridges are some of the largest unnecessary office contributors to landfill waste, this is why tech company Hewlett Packard has taken steps to ensure that all its products are now 100% recyclable.
Food miles are a value of how great distance produce has had to travel from where it is grown or prepared to reach you. By supporting small local businesses you are benefiting the environment and the local economy by minimizing the amount of carbon emissions involved in producing the food you eat every day. As a business looking to go green, incentivizing your employees to purchase from small local businesses by arranging deals and offers with these companies can go a long way to reducing the net emissions of your organization, and that of your local community.
Reducing unnecessary transport is equally beneficial to your employees as it is for their lunch. In Ireland, there are over 2 million registered vehicles on the road and most are used to commute to and from work daily. Encouraging your employees to walk, cycle or choose public transport over their own vehicle reduces congestion and harmful emissions, particularly in built-up areas. Carpooling is another great option, as it splits the net emissions of each vehicle between numerous people. Better still, where possible, is to organise your business in such a way that lets your employees work from home more frequently. This saves not only on the cost of lighting and heating office space but minimises the environmental impact of commuting in vehicles.