Let Earth Day Kickstart Sustainability in Your Business
We’ve been working to make Artisan Accounts more environmentally sustainable for some time. So, it’s with great interest that we’ve noted that the theme for Earth Day 2022 is Invest in Our Planet, and urges all of us, businesses, governments and citizens to take action.
While sustainability is right on the top of our list of priorities, we know we still have much, much more work to do. Even so, we thought it might be useful to share a list of things that businesses, even small businesses, can do to make their working processes kinder to the environment. We’re already doing most of these and we’re always looking out for new ways we can make a positive difference.
Although we should all be doing our best to reduce our carbon footprint because it’s the right thing to do, we also think it’s useful to understand how long term sustainability relates to your businesses long term success – this will help to keep you motivated! We call these sweet points where sustainability and benefit to business crossover with each other Sustainability Business Benefits, SuBBs for short.
So, start by assessing your footprint, create goals to improve, finally, after following actions to reduce your emissions as much as possible, take further steps to offset what’s left.
6 Steps to Improving Business Sustainability on Earth Day
Reduce paper use
It’s the most obvious step and so much can be done online now, there really is no excuse not to reduce your use of paper as much as possible. At Artisan Accounts, we are almost completely paperless. To do this, we use cloud accounting and storage to save and store records, share communications and submit accounts. While we still receive some paper from HMRC and our clients, we send all proposals, updates on your accounts and communications digitally. Through MTD (Making Tax Digital) we now submit all VAT returns digitally as well, and that will soon apply to income tax and from 2026 to corporation tax as well.
In order to reduce paper even further you could; ensure all communications are sent via email (important documents can be attached), make notes paperless, use online and cloud storage to keep your files, enforce a print policy to reduce the amount of unnecessary printing, switch your bills to paperless and keep plenty of recycling bills to hand to make sure the paper you do use is recycled properly.
SuBB: Using digital methods can make your business more efficient, so it’s not just good for the planet.
Move to recycled materials
You probably can’t cut paper out completely, but you can move to recycled paper and if your business involves shipping to customers, switch to recyclable materials.
SuBB: It can be difficult to see the business win here, as sustainable packaging is currently a little more expensive, however, this is due to supply and demand and we can expect to see costs going down as more businesses follow this route. In addition, the business question to ask is “What does sustainable packaging mean to your customers and what does it say about your brand?”
Embrace Sustainable Working Practices
Encourage your staff to embrace sustainable working practices every day, not just on Earth Day. Such as using public transport, cycling or walking to work and arrange meetings online where it can reduce unnecessary travel.
SuBB: This can lead to improvements in health and reductions in stress levels, upping productivity as well as reducing sick days and waste.
Reduce Energy Use and Waste
On Earth Day take the time to evaluate the ways your office or premises use energy and cut out as much waste as possible. Turn out lights in corridors, toilets, kitchens when not in use, turn off computers at lunchtime and the end of the day, make sure your heating switches off before the end of the working day and look at ways to insulate your space. Carbo Footprint has a questionnaire that will help you evaluate your current footprint.
SuBB: strategies like this will almost certainly reduce your energy bills.
Get everyone involved – brainstorm ideas to reduce energy use and make sure that everyone, including new recruits, knows the company policy and procedures.
SuBB: Working together towards a good cause can increase your team’s sense of belonging, loyalty and improve relationships.
Offset Unavoidable Emissions
Finally, when you’ve reduced waste and emissions as much as you can, you can look to offset your carbon footprint for the things you cannot yet eliminate. At Artisan Accounts, we’ve signed up with Ecologi and you can see our burgeoning forest here.
SuBB: Knowing you are doing everything you can to reduce your carbon footprint and offset your unavoidable carbon emissions can be a source of pride and relief to the whole team, encouraging loyalty and commitment to your business.
If you’re not sure how to start assessing your footprint yourself, companies such as ecoact help you identify areas to reduce your carbon footprint.
In a Nutshell – Our Top Tips to Reduce Waste
- Conduct an energy audit to understand your current carbon footprint
- Turn lights off when not needed and switch to LED bulbs
- Don’t leave electrical equipment on standby
- Go paperless
- Reduce unnecessary travel – meet remotely if possible
- Make sure your office is as well insulated as possible
- Manage hybrid working carefully – there’s no need to light and heat spaces that are not being used