Insights and Business Advice
5 Ways Your Business Can Save Green By Going Green
Traditionally, most companies haven't considered their carbon footprint as part of their overall business strategy.
For some businesses the green movement has maybe extended to using Earth Choice type cleaning products or mission driven loo paper such as Who Gives A Crap, and whilst commendable, these offerings do not usually lower operating costs or shift a company's culture. This is more about ‘greenifying’ their brand whilst remaining as consumptive and wasteful as ever.
But as it turns out, there’s a commercial upside to adopting a green approach to business and there’s often much more every business can do to move the needle in both of the areas of lowering operating costs and increasing employee productivity.
As an example, a study from Practice Green Health found that hospital networks that that actively moved to reduce their energy consumption and waste could see savings of over $15 billion in just one decade.
Another study, by the University of Paris, documented a 16% increase in productivity for employees at eco-friendly companies when compared with the benchmarked average.
Not a lot of downside when you understand the bigger opportunities on offer. It could be well within reach of your company to immediately reduce your energy bills, water bills and other office costs that are so baked into our traditional mindset that we often forget to challenge them.
Let’s take a look at our Top 5.
Switch to eco-friendly and ‘smart’ lighting
Lighting tech has come a long way in the last decade or so. The adoption of the light emitting diode (LED) bulbs is widespread from home applications to car manufacturers. And it’s understandable why that is. Whilst the initial purchase of LED’s can be a little more expensive; they typically last longer and use anywhere between 25% - 30% less energy.
And they last on average 25 times longer too! In fact, some LED’s are warranted as lasting 20 years or longer which is mind blowing in many ways. And as they use far less energy, just switching out 100 bulbs turned on for 8 hours a day could save more than $1,000 per year.
The other consideration for an office environment is ‘smart lighting’. This can be as simple as using motion detectors to sense when a particular room has been empty for a certain amount of time and automatically switching off the light in that area. Sounds simple? It is. And it doesn’t have to cost the earth either (literally).
Let’s face it, energy and clean water are becoming expensive commodities and you probably already think about these realities at home when you get your quarterly bills.
But what at the office?
Whilst the moral argument for not wasting clean water is compelling this can be a hard sell to a closed minded board. However, given the savings on offer through some basic and cost effective solutions, such as using water efficient appliances, you can save about $300 annually per small office.
Plus, by using inefficient toilets, for example, your company may have a larger carbon footprint than you were aware of. In fact, businesses tend to consume more than 25% of the water used in metropolitan areas, according to NASA.
The good news is that there are lots of simple ways to conserve water in the workplace and government agencies, such as the Qld governments website, provide advice. For example, did you know that a slow dripping tap can waste 10,000 litres of water each year? That’s a lot of water that could be saved by installing a new $0.20 washer...
Use eco-friendly paper or go paperless
As long ago as early 1975 it was predicted that we’d have paper free offices. But, five decades later the reality is still very different.
But going digital can save some serious cash… Some large businesses have saved upwards of $250,000 per annum by digitizing paper manuals that used to require paper. What savings do you think you could make?
Of course, it’s not just the paper. It’s the ink too. And the ongoing maintenance costs. Plus the energy and green waste of yet more electronic devices, most of which will go to landfill at some stage in the future. What an ugly series of steps that’s helping to destroy the planet and your profit margins.
No doubt, sometimes it is imperative to print a document but, if you must do so, be sure to use recycled paper. These days it is often only a small premium for recycled paper and the message it sends to staff and customers alike is worth every cent.
Other practical ways of reducing paper waste is to mandate double-sided print documents and repurpose old printings by using them to take messages.
Whilst you may not be able to operate completely paperless, striving to be a less-paper business is stepping in the right direction.
Support Remote Working
Long before the C-19 pandemic there was an argument for remote working. Naturally, the role a person is in must lend itself to operating remotely and it can just be one or two days per week if needed.
But by allowing employees to work from home, you can reduce your company's carbon footprint and paper waste, whilst cutting down on energy costs too. Sure, if a light in the office is simply displaced to being a light in someone's home then the carbon footprint, in isolation, is questionable. But, the person working from home has avoided their commute and the carbon emissions that go along with it. A saving/reduction is made therefore.
And the savings do not stop there. According to Global Workplace Analytics: the average real estate savings for a full-time teleworker is roughly $10,000 per employee per year. If more people work from home (even part time) then you do not need as many desks… Some companies have saved tens of millions of dollars each year through reducing their real estate demands.
Cut food waste and encourage healthy eating
This is as true at work as it is at home. Every day, three times a day most people on the planet vote for the environment by what they put on their plates. And from a business perspective, a happy, healthy workforce is usually a more productive workforce.
So if you have a cafeteria at work, or vending machines offering food and beverage options, ask yourself how ‘healthy’ the offerings are. If they’re not (and they’re usually not) why not, instead, offer healthy options and incentivise your teams to purchase these better options. ** Consider removing this entirely as it isn’t relevant to our current or target clients **
And with wiser food choices come carbon footprint reductions too. Eating more produce than beef, for example can significantly reduce your collective contribution to the negative effects of the modern farming industries. To make the point, did you know that one beef burger requires the same amount of water as a 90 minute shower? Well, we’re not making it up - this is data from the Australian governments environment website.
Another key consideration is to waste less food. By that we mean, throwing less food away each week. A startling statistic is that one third of the world's food gets wasted. And that food waste produces 8% of global greenhouse gas emissions… significant isn’t it. So much so that the Australian government has created a campaign called Stop Food Waste Australia to support the national food waste strategy.
So these are an example of five ways your business can save money by going green. Savvy business owners are proactive in their ways to reduce all overheads and when there’s an upside for the planet and your company culture too, it’s hard to find reasons not to.
If you want more advice about possible tax savings or grants that are available to help businesses reduce their carbon footprint just get in touch with the Clifton team today.
If you have any questions about your business or personal tax position. Contact us for professional business and accounting advise.