Feature articles

12 May 2021

Little and often sustainability

BUSINESS | PPC103 MAY 2021

Lorraine Norton, BPCA’s Operations Manager, looks at the steps a small, office-based business can take to reduce its carbon footprint.

913 little-and-often-sustainability-main-image

Terms such as ‘business sustainability’ and ‘carbon neutral’ are well known but often instil fear in a business manager.

They can feel like they’re going to require more time and money than they’re worth (especially with all the challenges we’ve had to face with Covid). They’re on a ‘to-do’ list’ somewhere.

There’s probably even an environmental policy kicking around in a file, but that’s just not a priority now… and some businesses feel they’re just ‘too small’ to benefit.

That’s all completely understandable and something I can relate to.

BPCA is a small business itself, but if we reflect on how we’ve changed over the last year, we’ve been forced to do more to reduce our carbon footprint than any conscious effort previously – and we’ve coped with grace, style and ease. Covid has forced us to break some habits that have been long-standing.

As a Staff team, we’d always been conscious of the environment and within the traditional office environment had adopted good practices. It’s the ‘little and often’ that works for us.

How can a small business reduce its carbon footprint? In this article, I look at some quick wins and easy-to-implement stuff that can make a real long term positive impact on: the environment, your carbon footprint, your costs and your staff satisfaction.

Make being ‘eco-friendly’ fun!

  • Offer rewards and incentives to help embed change; internal healthy competition isn’t a bad thing
  • Have fundraising activities with proceeds going to environmental causes
  • Charity days give staff the opportunity to participate in environmental events – such as beach cleans and woodland maintenance
  • If your business hasn’t been focused on being environmentally-friendly in the past, don’t worry – it’s never too late to start. Do your part today and go green.

BPCA is a small business itself, but if we reflect on how we’ve changed over the last year, we’ve been forced to do more to reduce our carbon footprint than any conscious effort previously.

Lorraine Norton, BPCA Operations Manager

Reduce, reuse, recycle

This is the gateway to building a greener, more sustainable office.

REDUCE

  • Paper use: Set double-sided print as default, reduce print and digitise (eg online contract signing), make documents available on a server or online. We have one printer/copier in the BPCA office which has been more than adequate for our diverse needs for the past 10 years. Good procedures and a decent support contract have eliminated downtime due to equipment failure
  • Energy consumption: Maximise natural light in workplaces, turn it off (lights, computers, automate power downs of unused equipment) and turn it down (air conditioning)
  • Replace light bulbs with low-energy ones; grants can be available to upgrade to LED equipment or you can install motion-activated lighting
  • Switch to sustainable energy sources
  • Invest in energy efficient, low/zero-carbon technology. Enhanced capital allowances are available.

REUSE

  • Source recycled equipment for the office – paper, pens, notebooks, ink cartridges, even secondhand or upcycled furniture
  • Donate any redundant or surplus equipment and supplies to a good cause.

RECYCLE

  • Remove under-desk bins to encourage staff to use recycling bins instead (we’ve done this for years at BPCA with great success)
  • Make clear and easy-to-use recycling areas
  • Know what you can throw – there are lots of resources at recyclenow.com

Improve the commute

Continue to embrace remote working – in 2014, the Carbon Trust suggested that increasing the number of people working from home in the UK could save more than three million tonnes of carbon a year.

Offer a cycle-to-work scheme.

Choose more fuel-efficient vehicles such as alternative fuel or electric vehicles (EVs). Government incentives are available to subsidise the cost of new low-emissions vehicles along with subsidies to install charge points.

Encourage carpooling and public transport options (when it’s safe to do so #begonecovid!)

Keep staff informed and engaged

Lead by example: foster a green culture explaining changes and reasoning, and make it as easy as possible for employees to do the right thing.

Use your internal communications that staff actually pay attention to - keep the messages short and sweet (they’re busy!), and update regularly.

Encourage staff to take part and involve EVERYONE if you truly want a greener, leaner business.

SHARE YOUR TIPS

Do you have any advice on running a more green and sustainable business? Share them on social media and tag us!

facebook.com/britishpestcontrol

@britpestcontrol

Source: PPC103

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