Small business owners and managers face an internal struggle between prioritising profits and reshaping the model of their business so that it is eco-friendly. Many of these decision-makers have good intentions to protect the environment, but in business the need to make profits comes first and for the small business manager, this is often a fine line that flirts between survival and going into administration.
The challenge is that businesses need to think long-term. The short-term financial profit will erode the long-term profits that go beyond income and will impact the quality of life of our ecosystem and environment in the future. Although many Western countries don’t currently face this threat, they only need to look at countries like China, Cambodia and India where cities have become slums and the simple things like clean air and water have become a scarce commodity.
It’s a responsibility that all businesses need to take and it doesn’t need to be a long-hard road. Here are 4 actions that businesses can start implementing in the next 90 days to become more eco-friendly.
Upgrade to LED lights
The majority of Australian businesses still use incandescent lighting, which consumes the most amount of energy. LED lights are the most eco-efficient solution that businesses can adopt. Because of their pricing in the past, it was tough for business managers to justify the cost of investing in LED lighting. Nowadays, the pricing point has come down so much that the installation, running and maintenance costs allow the business to save up to 60% when compared to their current incandescent lighting setup.
Furthermore, businesses located in New South Wales and Victoria can benefit from commercial LED lighting schemes offered by their local governments. This will allow them to claim discounts or rebates that will save the business money when upgrading to the sustainable solution.
Partner with external organisations to manage waste
People operating within small businesses typically have a lot of responsibilities that they need to manage day-to-day. Even though they may want to prioritise the waste management and recycling efforts, the reality is that these efforts will get pushed to the side to favour other priorities within the business.
The best option is for the business to partner with organisations that can give them an easy recycling solution. For example, your business can partner with Planet Ark who offer collections for printer cartridges to prevent them from ending up as landfill and distribute them to the appropriate recyclers, which helps to close the loop.
Invest in green buildings
The type and location of the business will have a massive impact on the environment. The business can contribute to carbon emissions if employees and distributors need to commute over long distances in their car to reach your workplace. Additionally, if the building hasn’t been designed with eco-friendliness in mind, then it’s likely that your business will pay for more in electricity, heating and water.
Before deciding on your businesses location, consider the building’s design and location. Additionally, you can reduce your employees commute by offering them the opportunity to work remotely from home.
Invest in eco-efficient technology
Sometimes it’s hard to change habits within the business. So an easier option is to leverage technology. For example:
Instead of forcing your employees to reduce water consumption by washing up, have them place their used cutlery and plates in a dishwashing machine that can be used overnight.
Have the building use smart technology to adjust the temperature controls so that less energy is consumed from air conditioning and heating.
Invest in energy-efficient equipment like computers and printers that shut down or enter a low power consumption mode, which will reduce wasted energy.
These are just a few methods that can be implemented, but they can be acted upon quickly and lead to big savings and eco-friendly changes in the future. Take a look at your business, start investing and commit to brighter future for our environment today!