How to Adopt Sustainable Business Practices
Business| By Amy Vagne | December 02, 2020
Sustainable business is a buzz phrase of our times but adopting green practices requires consideration and commitment. Here's how to do it authentically.
There have never been more reasons for businesses to adopt environmentally-friendly office practices – actions that help in reducing waste and your carbon footprint can also improve employee engagement. A survey revealed 10% of workers (and three quarters of millennial workers) would be willing to accept a reduced salary to work for a company that’s environmentally conscious. There’s also something to be said for the goodwill fostered by going green and adopting sustainable business practices – and the flow-on effect to your bottom line is a nice bonus.
Make Reusable Cups and Bottles The Norm
Most offices run on a steady stream of hot coffee – how else would we get anything done? But the stats on our coffee habits are pretty shocking: Australians throw away 2.7 million takeaway coffee cups every day. You can make a big difference by ditching the disposable cups and plastic stirrers and going eco-friendly, relying on reusable cups instead. Employees should provide and care for (read: wash) their own (this is especially important in post-COVID times). The same rule should apply for water. Reject single-use bottled water and encourage thirsty workers to fill up their own reusable drink bottle. Sustainable and green office initiatives such as “reduce, reuse and recycle” will help to reduce the carbon footprint of your business.
What To Try
Have a Plan for Recycling Paper
Here’s an easy step to action right away: source paper recycling bins and set them up around the office. Next, send a friendly email encouraging staff to curb their printing habits, where possible. Make a commitment to only buying recycled paper going forward – both for the printers and for note-taking. (Did you know paper fibres can survive the recycling process up to seven times?) In addition to using recycled paper, with Officeworks’ Restoring Australia Initiative you can be paper positive – for every one tree used, two are planted, which restores landscapes across Australia. For printing, consider refillable cartridges for printer ink or choose printers with ink systems that last longer. Over time, it might be worth trying to go paperless where possible, instead relying on digital storage as well as sharing solutions, like Google Docs, Dropbox and cloud computing.
What To Try
Save and Switch to Energy Efficient Lighting
Here’s how to save a buck on your business energy bill while also being environmentally friendly. First up, switch off the overhead lights, draw back the curtains and utilise natural lighting if you can. Replace traditional light bulbs with energy efficient ones – hot tip: LED lights use less power than other types, making them a more eco-friendly option. Make sure lights are being switched off at night and over weekends when the office is empty, or try installing motion sensor lights. Choose light switches that incorporate timers and dimmers, as these can dramatically increase your energy savings. Win-win.
Hot Tip: Discover how Officeworks is committed to making a difference with its move towards sustainable energy, reducing emissions and planting trees to replace ones used.
Choose Green Cleaning Products
Start a revolution in the tea room or kitchen by swapping out paper towels for a more sustainable option, such as microfibre cloths. Note, too, that if you are still relying on heavy duty cleaning products, particularly in the bathrooms or food prep areas, these can be damaging as they make their way down the drain and out into the environment. Instead, opt for eco-friendly cleaning brands that are free from synthetic preservatives and fragrances.
What To Try
- Oates Microfibre Cleaning Cloth Blue
- Ecostore Dishwashing Powder Lemon 1kg
- Sabco All Purpose Microfibre Cloths 3 Pack
- Ecostore Multi-purpose Cleaner Orange and Thyme 500mL
- Dettol Antibacterial Liquid Handwash 250mL
- Ecostore Dishwasher Tablets 50 Pack
- Ecostore Dishwashing Liquid Grapefruit 1L
Reduce Waste & Recycle Everything
Make recycling a priority for your business. Provide bins for recyclables such as cans, cardboard and glass and PET bottles, and ensure they have clear labels so workers can quickly and easily sort their waste. Fun fact: you can drop off your used ink and toner cartridges at Officeworks stores and they’ll recycle them for you. You know what else? They also recycle e-waste, like old computers, printers and accessories, mobile phones, batteries and even writing instruments such as pens. Visit the customer recycling page to see all the things you can keep out of the bin by bringing back to Officeworks for a new life.
What To Try
Buy In Bulk
Save money, time and excess plastic packaging ending up in landfill by choosing to buy office supplies in bulk. With volume purchases, you save on fees (and carbon miles) by having fewer deliveries and, especially with cleaning supplies, larger capacity items mean less plastic to reduce waste. Items to consider for helping your business’s carbon footprint are bulk purchases of toilet paper and tissues, photocopier paper and other office necessities.
Go Green, Literally
Visit your local nursery and stock up on indoor plants for your office. Bringing nature indoors has multiple benefits – workers feel less stress and are more productive, plus some plants help to improve air quality and reduce pollutants, including this list of recommended indoor plants, such as peace lilies and fiddle-leaf figs. You may even want to consider a green wall, which, as well as being sustainable, really makes an impact.
Choose Better Office Products
Being economical is one thing but sometimes scrimping on workspace supplies, tech and furniture can lead to being wasteful, when you wind up having to replace these items more frequently. It pays to do your due diligence – research before you buy and invest in high quality pieces and supplies for your business that will last the test of time. Vote with your wallet by purchasing eco-friendly goods made from sustainable materials such as bamboo or cork or opt for products made from recycled materials. For office furniture, aim for items that have FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certification, which tells you that the wood has been harvested sustainably.
What To Try
- Otto Pen Cup Bamboo
- Otto A4 Magazine File Bamboo
- Otto Recycled A3 Storage Box Grey
- Otto Bamboo Memo Holder Natural
- Otto Recycled 4 High Drawers Grey
- Otto Landscape 2 Drawer Cabinet Bamboo
- Otto Recycled Pen Cup Grey
- Otto Recycled A4 Storage Box Grey
- Otto Recycled A4 Lever Arch File Grey
- Otto Suspension File Holder Bamboo
Establish Broader Sustainable Practices, Too
Do what you can within your business, then look outwards for ways to increase your reach. Buying from, working with and supporting other companies with eco-conscious initiatives is an easy first step. Officeworks has a long-term plan to reduce their environmental impact with customer recycling programs, as well as native tree planting and land restoration projects. Encourage workers to be environmentally friendly on their commute to and from the office by installing bike racks or considering a system whereby employees can work staggered hours to avoid peak hour traffic, or even work from home 1-2 days a week.