Green issues have never been so important to consumers, which is why proving that you’re responsible and intelligent with your resources has become so vital. The best way to do this is with an environmental policy.
For SMEs as part of a supply chain your buyers will be feeling the same pressure to provide environmentally sound services as you are. These days it’s not only the biggest contracts or the public sector that require an environmental policy as standard. Green targets and Corporate Social Responsibility mean that everyone is just that little bit more concerned about the environment.
There are lots of reasons to think about how energy efficient your company is. You might have a genuine concern for the environment, you may understand that being green sells or you could just want to cut the cost of waste. Whatever the reason for creating your environmental policy there will be lots to think about. How many of these apply to your business:
- Energy Efficient technology – Whatever sector you’re in there will be energy efficient technology you can update to. Though initial costs may be high, check how much you could save over the lifetime of a piece of equipment. There are even savings to be made in the office: ‘Office-based business activities are responsible for the emission of around 6.8 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year. It is estimated that energy savings of up to 20%, equivalent to more than £157 million, are possible across the sector’ [The Carbon Trust – http://bit.ly/8ZbDIL].
- Behaviour Change – If you don’t want to shell out for lots of new, green equipment simply changing behaviour in the workplace can still have an effect. Making sure that employees understand why these new practices are being introduced and that they’re motivated is key to success. You could even appoint a head of efficiency to help get everyone on board and make sure they follow through.
- Wrapping and Packaging – The amount used in packaging is increasingly an issue so it’s useful to think about what you can minimise and what can be recycled. If you want to find out about legislation or savings there’s a lot of info online, here’s a good place to start : http://envirowise.wrap.org.uk/.
- Water – We don’t often realise how much water we use. Putting in a water metre can help monitor how much your business spends. Also, fitting different appliances can help, did you know spray taps can reduce water use by 60 – 70% compared with conventional taps?
Once you’re ready to write your policy, keep it short and easy to understand. Make sure your goals are realistic, and that the actions you’ll take to achieve them are ones your employees understand and are enthusiastic about. Schedule reviews so you know what targets you’re hitting and what you’re missing. Getting it right can really make a difference, so if you need help you can always ask about our services.
You can keep up to date with new environmental legislation by subscribing to NetRegs Update, a free, monthly email newsletter.