Save Money and the Environment

Like individuals, businesses are increasingly turning to look at the impact of their operations on the environment. Being a sustainable company is no longer just about being financially sustainable, but also demonstrating corporate responsibility and leadership in becoming greener. There are simple things that a business can do to be more environmentally friendly without having to sacrifice your bottom line. Here are ten of them:

Leave the vehicle at home.
We could not be luckier in Fernie – almost everything is less than a 10-minute bike ride away in our community. Ditch the vehicle to drive to work and encourage your staff to walk or bike. You will reduce emissions related to your business and have healthier staff that are more active.

Reduce water usage.
Fix those dripping taps and plumbing leaks in your workplace. Consider installing low-flow toilets and faucet aerators in your washrooms. 

Embrace IT solutions like cloud storage/sharing.
For most small to medium sized businesses, having power-hungry computer servers has become a thing of the past. By embracing cheaper cloud storage platforms like Apple iCloud, Microsoft OneDrive, or Dropbox your staff can share and collaborate on files without the need to print out documents or travel to meetings. 

Avoid single use items in the workplace.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, Americans produced 4.51 pounds per person per day of municipal solid waste in 2017. This is something to consider in the workplace with things like non-recyclable single-serve coffee pods, paper cups and plastic water bottles, for example. Encourage staff to bring their own refillable water bottles.

Reduce your building energy usage – LED lights, thermostat, modern/greener appliances.
The cost of running a building can be the single biggest expense for a business behind wages. Making the switch to greener appliances and fixtures will help you be greener and save money on operating costs. Consider changing to LED lightbulbs, purchasing more energy-efficient appliances, and running your thermostat 
a few degrees cooler at night when the workplace is empty. 

Ensure a strong recycling program.
Think about ways to increase the amount of recycling in your workplace. Re-use scrap pieces of paper as notepads where possible. Ensure as a bare minimum there are separate bins for trash, recycling, and glass.

Source products and supplies from sustainable suppliers.
Try to stock your shelves and supply cupboards with goods that are produced and supplied in a sustainable way. Materials that are made from renewables or are 100% recyclable are ideal. Sourcing from local suppliers instead of shipping things from other provinces or countries is also a good place to start. 

Recycle old electronics.
Avoid throwing away old computers, cell phones, tablets and printers that will end up in landfill. There are a bunch of local programs and recycling options for old appliances. If they still work fine, consider donating them to a school or charity.

Keep your Zoom account post-pandemic.
In the heady days before the COVID-19 pandemic, I would regularly travel to places like Trail, Golden or Elkford for regional meetings. The last 12-months have really underlined the ease and convenience of teleconferencing without the associated greenhouse gas emissions of travelling for meetings. 

Think about what you print. 
Do you really need to print that document? Or can you just read it on a screen and save it digitally? Use programs like DocuSign instead of printing, signing, and scanning on a piece of paper that will then be thrown away.

Photo by Emily Pullen Marketing