Did you know that making simple changes could reduce your business’ energy costs by up to 10%? Many SMEs are already taking steps towards making their business more sustainable by implementing sustainable business ideas, and in turn, saving money.
Having an “energy walk-around” can help you identify where your business is wasting energy. Often, lights are left on when meeting rooms or toilets aren’t in use. Photocopiers, monitors and printers are left on standby when not in use, while doors and windows can be left open during colder weather, causing heat loss and drafts. Making sure these things are checked at the end of the day can easily become part of the daily routine.
Assigning responsibility for energy saving and sound planning are both essential to reducing your energy use. Having a systematic plan for energy reduction – supported by a policy and reduction targets – will help to secure long-term, sustained savings. Energy plans help to distil your energy policy goals into practical, measurable actions, so you can track overall progress.
The report points out that the government is committed to reducing UK emissions to net zero by 2050, so it is imperative that all businesses take steps to reduce their environmental impact. Energy savings not only lower a business’s carbon footprint and energy bills, but customers are increasingly attracted to environmentally conscious companies.
Businesses should also rethink their plastics use. According to government estimates7, five million tonnes of plastic are used in the UK every year and nearly half of it is packaging.
Much of this plastic waste will not decompose when sent to landfill, while a high volume of plastic litter blights our natural environment, polluting our soil, lakes, rivers and seas, harming and killing creatures that inhabit them. The government has a target of eliminating avoidable plastic waste by 2043.
Claire Potter8 is a Brighton-based sustainable design, circular economy and marine litter expert. “There are so many single-use plastics in our daily lives and all of us should do as much as possible to stop using them,” she says. “Use recyclable materials for packaging and other things. Responsibly dispose of all materials that enter your business and recycle where possible.”
You could have fewer general waste bins around your premises, to prevent employees and customers from not recycling plastic, cardboard and paper. Your business should have plenty of clearly signposted recycling bins. You could also choose to buy from suppliers who are also committed to minimising their plastic use.
The Carbon Trust offers publications and interactive tools that are specifically designed for sustainability and UK SMEs. They provide a step-by-step guide to reducing energy bills and include the:
It has also published The Better Business Guide To Energy Saving6, which is free to download from its website.
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