What can your business do to reduce your environmental and climate impact?

 

Businesses will benefit from reducing their environmental impact and being more sustainable by:

  • making cost savings from using resources more efficiently, such as cutting energy, water use and waste.
  • accessing new markets by developing sustainable products and services.
  • protecting reputation and credibility.
  • being prepared for future changes and policies.
  • attracting staff and improving morale having a strong ethos of sustainability is increasingly important to employees.

Where can your business start?

You can improve your company’s emissions with small and large actions:

Take action on energy

Promote plant-based diets

Bank for good

  • Use the services of a sustainable and ethical bank such as Triodos Bank.
  • Provide ethical funds for company pensions as the default.

Save water

  • Improve your company’s water efficiency – see Waterwise for tips for businesses.

Engage to create change

  • With suppliers – work to identify and reduce the carbon emissions of your business.  Consider implementing a green procurement strategy.
  • With customers – tell them about your sustainability actions and get feedback on ways they would like your services to be more environmentally-friendly.
  • With other companies – to share ideas, find new markets, products and solutions.  Consider joining Oxfordshire Greentech to be part of a business network that will advise on reducing carbon emissions.
  • With staff – ask for their ideas about what the company should do, run internal campaigns to reduce waste and increase recycling.
  • With your local community – support local climate and wildlife groups by allowing staff time off to volunteer.

Travel

  • Reduce the need to travel – locate your business so it is accessible for public transport, consider allowing staff to work from home or using video conferencing for meetings.
  • Promote sustainable travel offer a cycle to work scheme, including providing bike racks and showers; convert company cars to electric ones, consider taking the train to European destinations, and keep flying to an absolute minimum.

Reduce waste

  • Move towards a ‘circular’ economy business model  explore opportunities for sharing, leasing, rental, remanufacturing, repair and take back.
  • Aim for ‘zero waste to landfill’ – reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and follow the waste hierarchy.
  • Move away from single use products – invest in glasses, mugs, crockery and cutlery in staff kitchens and catering.  Minimise packaging and work with suppliers to reduce the packaging they deliver to you.
  • Reduce paper – go paperless where possible, or consider using a sustainable printing service like Seacourt Ltd

 

Develop a sustainability strategy 

This will help provide direction and a framework for achieving your sustainability goals.

  • Conduct a survey on your carbon emissions and use this information to plan how to reduce your emissions.
  • Take a look at Better Business’s tips, or see Corporate Citizenship’s guide.
  • Check out Bioregional’s One Planet Living framework! Used by giants like Kingfisher, B&Q and Nandos, our framework helps businesses look at sustainability in an engaging, simple, and cost-effective way.

Go further

  • One Planet Living mini toolkit for small and medium-sized organisations will help you create a One Planet Action Plan that embeds sustainability within your organisation.
  • Consider becoming a B Corp, a business that balances purpose and profit. B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers’ community, and the environment.
  • Work to achieve a recognised an international environmental standard such as ISO14001.