18 Jul 2023 - 6 minutes to read
The record breaking 52 degree summer temperatures and the consistent growth in natural disasters, floods and droughts during the past decade has shown us one thing; action needs to be taken now and by everyone. Both individuals and businesses can take permanent steps in becoming more green.
However as all business owners know, it can be difficult to balance sustainable strategy with business survival and growth. After all, a more profitable business is better equipped to make green changes and investments in their business model and assets.
To help get you started, in this guide we have prepared five easy-to-implement steps to make your business more green. Suggested by members of the small business community and Cardiff coworking members.
Prior to launching your new green strategy, there are three essential foundations your business must put in place to ensure maximum efficiency and cooperation in your new sustainable plan.
Those four foundations include:
Once you’re confident these three foundations can be met, follow the following six steps to make your business more green.
Six achievable ways to make your business more green include:
A combination of these methods that most suit your business can be used to create a short and long-term green strategy. Below we’ll explore those 5 methods in more detail to help build your strategy.
For many startups, deciding on your vision, mission and values is often missed or overlooked in the torrent of pivoting and building that tends to populate your business acivity in the first year.
However, announcing and publicising your vision missions and values can be a great way to get both potential customers and employees not liking but loving your brand. So why not integrate some green values into all three?
Below are some examples of how some of the world's most well-known brands have integrated sustainability into their vision, mission and values.
“Our Reason for Being: Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis” - Patagonia
“Apple Computer is committed to protecting the environment, health, and safety of our employees, customers and the global communities where we operate” - Apple
“Our practice of returning to society what we earn evokes trust among consumers, employees, shareholders and the community” - TATA Group
Print them onto your walls, add them to your website and put them on your t-shirts. There’s no end to how you can display and remind your team of your values.
Many common office items have not changed since the first marketing agencies and high rise offices of the 1940’s, with single-use products such as pencils, paper and post-it notes still common in many 21st century offices. However the reality is that many of these pieces of equipment now have more sustainable and easier-to-use alternatives.
Below are some equipment changes you can make which not only improve your sustainability but will also improve your productivity:
It’s absolutely essential that you adopt an approach to working that suits your business, its culture and its business model.
Remote working usually consists of very little to no office working at all and therefore eliminates the need for a daily commute which reduces the amount of CO2 emissions each member of staff generates.
In fact, studies have found that staying at home for just four days a week can reduce nitrogen dioxide emissions by around 10%. There are also side-benefits such as reduced stress, digital nomadism and flexible working hours.
Hybrid working normally consists of half of staff time being spent in an office environment, and can often be a great compromise if your business regularly trains or introduces new staff and you need to maintain a strong corporate culture.
Ultimately, selecting your working environment is about dedicating yourself to your decision. If fully remote, try to embrace workaways and regular social events. If hybrid, try to make the office days flexible and offer flexi-hours so workers can arrange their working week to suit their lifestyle.
Adopting a four-day workweek as an alternative way of working has increased in popularity over the past decade, particularly where pilot schemes have shown positive results in Iceland, Japan and Portugal. The strategy commonly includes extending the weekend from Friday to Sunday whilst condensing office hours into Monday to Thursday, making working days often 9 or 9.5 hours long.
The trials have shown significant increases in employee wellbeing, happiness and even productivity with 92% of employers saying they would continue with a shorter workweek following the pilot scheme.
However it’s the green benefits that make the four-day workweek so beneficial. The findings have concluded that:
Whilst the results from four-day workweek trials are still being conducted, there is already a clear benefit to both improving productivity, staff wellbeing and sustainability.
There are a plethora of green charities and non-profit organisations in the UK, with new causes springing up every year. With every new charity comes a new way to engage your business in green causes.
Finding a way to integrate green engagement into your business can generally be split into product and service based businesses.
One of the most common forms of charity engagement is donations-per-purchase. This is where for every product your business sells, a percentage of the revenue or profit is donated to a sustainable cause.
For example, GreenEcoDream, an emerging marketplace for sustainable bath and beauty products, gives back a portion of every purchase to Clean Miami Beach through their 1% for the planet membership.
For service-based businesses such as law, financial and tech businesses, engaging with a green charity can be a great excuse to get your office staff outside, moving and working together.
For example, Welsh marine conservation charity Sea Trust, does exactly that by offering away-days, seashore safaris and workshops to local businesses who want to engage their staff in everyday ways to protect marine life.
We hope you’ve found this guide useful in integrating green strategies into your business. Remember, the trick is to start small and achievable by separating actions into short-term and long-term. Within 12 months you will not only be a greener business but a more productive and happy business as a result.
Written by Aled Nelmes for Tramshed Tech.