If you run or work for a small business, you may think that the environmental impact of the business is insignificant. But small businesses can have a substantial impact on the environment, no matter what industry or sector they operate in. As the owner or employee of a small business, you can influence whether that impact is negative or positive. Supporting small business sustainability helps to ensure a positive impact.
By making sustainable environmental choices, small businesses can help to reduce carbon emissions and address the ongoing global climate crisis. Read on for our tips on how to use energy and resources more efficiently, and lessen existing waste streams, all of which can help promote small business sustainability.
- Work at home
As an increasing amount of work is carried out online, there is less need for staff to travel into the office to work. Remote working significantly decreases the time people need to spend commuting and so lessens the amount of traffic on the road. It can also help reduce the carbon footprint of a small business – with less employees in the office, the company can save energy and costs on electricity and lighting.
- Leave your car at home
Instead of driving to work, walk, cycle, or use the public transport system. Transportation, driven by an increase in the use of cars, continues to be a major source of carbon emissions around the world. Cycling, walking and using public transport are all cost effective ways of helping to clean up the traffic jams in our cities and tackle climate change.
- Make your workspace sustainable
A number of straightforward measures can reduce the environmental impact of your workspace. Make the most of any natural light to reduce energy usage, and if possible, switch off your desktop computers overnight. Instead of a single-use coffee maker with paper cups, use a regular coffee machine and ask your colleagues to bring their own mugs in from home.
- Reduce paperwork
The less paper you can use at work, the more environmentally friendly your small business can become. Online bills, receipts and invoices all help to cut down on paper usage. And think twice before printing handouts for your internal meeting, present to your colleagues on-screen instead. When you do have to use a sheet, use sustainably sourced, recycled paper, and when you’ve finished using it, recycle.
- Involve the team
Small business sustainability is more easily achievable when the whole team is included in the efforts. Encourage a work culture based around sustainability and environmental awareness and engage your colleagues on how to make positive changes in your workplace. Organise cycling to work days, bring your own lunch into the office days, and zero waste days, and praise the success of these initiatives.
- Use sustainable products
A simple way to make your small business more environmentally friendly is to ensure that the goods and services that the business sources are manufactured and supplied in a sustainable manner. For example, buy printer paper, notepads and toilet rolls that are produced from recycled paper. And always try to purchase from local suppliers.
- Reduce, reuse, recycle
Aim to reduce usage and reuse in any ways you can. Use ceramic mugs and plates and glass tumblers instead of disposable alternatives. Encourage your colleagues or employees to use both sides of paper for the printer (if they must use the printer). And recycle as much of the waste from the office as possible: paper and cardboard, plastic bottles and containers, aluminium cans, and glass bottles and jars.
One of the primary goals of Charge Around Australia is to raise awareness of our need to generate power from renewable resources, as well as the need to reduce carbon emissions and so limit climate change and the threat it poses to all our futures.