The environment is everybody’s business. Whether you work in a multi-national, or run a small online store from your home, you can do your part in protecting the most important corporate resource of all: our Earth. Here are some ways for your company to ‘go green.’
1. Switch to mugs (and another coffee brand)
Time to wake up and smell the coffee. Non-recyclable materials like foam cups clog landfills (some environmental groups also say that chemicals emitted during manufacturing could affect the ozone). A simple act of telling everyone to bring their own mug can dramatically lower waste (and office expenses, too). While you’re at it, switch to resusable coffee filters and a coffee brand that’s shade-grown and uses fair trade practices.
2. Adjust the thermostat
Changing the airconditioner/heater settings by even just one degree can lower energy costs by as much as 8%! You can also save hundreds of dollars in the long run by making sure that the equipment is properly maintained. Old and broken machines consume more energy—and sometimes, emit more pollution.
3. Encourage car-pooling
Co-workers can save fuel (and money) by sharing the drive to work. Give them additional incentives (like premium parking spots) and a way for people to find someone who lives in their area (like posting lists on community boards).
4. Consider tele-comuting
With today’s technology, people can work from home and hold ‘meetings’ through the Internet. It saves on fuel, and saves company many too (in terms of renting office space and overhead costs like heating).
Some managers are wary of tele-commuting because they can’t ‘watch’ their people. Those fears are not only unwarranted, but counterproductive. Many studies show that, given clear performance objectives and measures, telecommuters actually deliver more on expectations. The company may even be able to pirate the best professionals in the industry—many highly qualified professionals are willing to take paycuts or work for smaller companies for the opportunity to spend more time at home. That’s a win-win situation, for managers, workers and the Earth.
5. Create a centralized messenger system
Your employees will actually thank you for this. Hire someone to do all the errands, so things like picking up or delivering packages or buying lunch can be done in one trip.
6. Keep it digital
While we may never have a paperless society, most offices can cut back dramatically on paper and ink by using electronic forms for billing statements, receipts, or payroll. A simple thing like transferring funds directly to a bank instead of issuing checks can save hundreds of sheets a paper a month. Instruct co-workers to recycle paper and envelopes, too.
7. Upgrade office equipment
Laptops use up to 70% less electricity and don’t emit as much as heat as traditional desktops. Flat screens are also more energy-efficient than older computer monitors.
It’s also important to remind workers to turn off their computers when not in use. Screensavers don’t save energy, they just minimize damage to the screen. Use the ‘powersave’ option or switch off entirely during long breaks.
8. Use recycled paper.
Using recycled paper for calling cards and marketing collaterals can actually boost your company’s reputation. It reflects your commitment to the community—which means more to your stakeholders than a laminated folder and spot-embossed letterhead.
9. Bring in office plants.
Not only does this help the environment, but it could actually ease the tension in the office. Studies show that beautiful surroundings can reduce stress and boost spirits—which is pretty useful at the regular budget meetings.
10. Organize office swaps, sales and donations.
One person’s trash is another’s treasure. Put up a community billboard where co-workers can sell their old things or trade them for other items. You can even hold a company ‘garage sale’ and ask people to bring old clothes, toys, gadgets or small appliances. After the swap, donate any remaining items to charity.