How eco-friendly is your business ? Make your office more sustainable with our 10 TIPS to go green
Keep reading to learn about the Top 10 ways to make your workplace more sustainable.
WHY SHOULD YOU DEVELOP A MORE SUSTAINABLE OFFICE?
At New Reflections, we are always trying to better ourselves. This is why when we attended the last Bizruption event; the speakers immediately inspired us to create a ‘Green Chart’. Nicola J Murphy, the Head of environmental Sustainability at the National Australia Bank, and Bronwyn Darlington, lecturer in Innovation and Sustainability at Sydney University did such a great presentation that they inspired us to be even more committed to developing our business in an eco-friendly and sustainable way as well as engaging ourselves to promote Innovation & Sustainability for Small Businesses.
The word “ecology” was invented in 1866 by the German biologist Ernst Haeckel to explain the study of relations between living beings and their environment. Today, the meaning of the word has slightly shifted: it now designates the action of men on their environment.
Becoming a more sustainable office only requires a few easy adjustments
There are many ways for your business to be more respectful of the environment: waste management, preferring renewable energy to fossil energies, ecological habitat, food and health, avoiding cars… Indeed WWF says that the word “ecological footprint” designates “the amount of the environment necessary to produce the goods and services necessary to support a particular lifestyle“. This definition evidences the fact that our impact on nature is only a matter of lifestyle, in other words of habits.
Subsequently, there are many small gestures that every business can implement in their day to day life to reduce our ecological footprint, no matter their size. These gestures are often easy to implement and do not require a lot of effort: it’s just about changing our habits.
In order to implement changes, you have to understand what your actual impact is. No need to fill in a complicated survey, you can use websites such as:
Take the test now to find out what your actual impact is!
For a more global approach, you can use:
We tried the calculator for New Reflections, here are our results
Example: New Reflections’ results
At New Reflections we are already doing a great job being more sustainable, however, it is not enough for us and we will continue our green journey to always improve our results.
WHY SHOULD EVERY BUSINESS TRY TO BE MORE ENVIRONMENT FRIENDLY?
Companies in Australia are especially lucky: they are able to grow in a very rich and diverse wildlife. But it’s also a challenge. They have to be well aware of their practices and processes to protect this unique heritage. By protecting this legacy, your business also achieves a reputation for best practice. Whether you are a small start-up or a big international group, this heritage is common to us all and we all have to protect it.
However, business is business, and it’s unrealistic to expect companies to adopt policies that respect the environment but ultimately cut their benefits. This is why environmental accounting exists. It is a business process that incorporates both economic and environmental information. It is mainly used to track environmental costs and to link them directly to their specific cause(s). With environmental accounting, private businesses can identify activities that are especially expensive on top of being damaging to the environment. Once identified, methods can be found to improve these processes.
Ultimately, looking for ways to expand a company in a sustainable way also makes good business sense. Environmental sustainability is a long-term vision, just like economic growth. Even if environmentally friendly practices don’t have an immediate result as high as less friendly ones, it doesn’t necessarily make sense to toss them, just like it doesn’t make economic sense to only focus on short term profit.
WHAT CONCRETE CHANGES YOU COULD MAKE WITH A MORE SUSTAINABLE COMPANY:
In Australia, there isn’t any specific law for businesses and their environmental practices. However, preserving our planet is a very important cause to New Reflections, which is why we have decided to give ourselves an environmental code. We are proud to show you our ten guidelines that we have decided to obey to in our daily activities.
Do you know the 3R Green principles for a sustainable company?
These guidelines are based on the 3R principle
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
All of New Reflections’ employees come to work using public transportation, a bike, or by foot.
We try to be more environment friendly during our breaks. When preparing tea for example, we only use the amount of water that we need in the kettle and we make one pot that we share instead of using one tea bag each.
We know plastic is one of nature’s worst enemies. This is why we don’t use plastic bottles or bags for our lunches, but reusable tote bags .
We try to limit food-based carbon emissions and waste by preparing our lunches at home instead of buying pre-made meals.
As much as possible, we use recycled office stationary. We also re-use our scrap paper to print documents.
To clean the workplace, we have decided to use homemade and environment friendly cleaning supplies.
When new people join our team, we conduct a small , which remind everyone of these guidelines as well as transmits them to the newly arrived.
One single e-mail’s carbon footprint can climb as high as 9 grams (with attachment). For a company with 100 employees sending 3 e-mails a day each, it amounts to 13,6 tons a year, which is more than what a citizen consumes in a year. This is why we have decided to take our logo off of our e-mail signature.
As Australia isn’t a very wet country, we do our best to save water. We have decided to install a water saving device in restrooms as well as dual flush triggers.
We sort our wastes by separating glass, plastic & paper, and organic waste. We only have one bin for each waste category in order to avoid mix ups. We also try to have as little waste as possible, by putting a “No junk mail” sticker on our mailbox.
==> You can get your own “No junk mail” sticker for free here
On top of complying to these guidelines, New Reflections also promotes a more environment friendly lifestyle in the events we organise. We do believe that people can consume better, and by doing so both save money and reduce their impact on the environment.
For example, we organise between two and four “swap parties” a year. Swap parties are a place where people can trade clothes they no longer wear for clothes they would actually use. It’s a good way to clean your closet and get new clothes without producing any waste or carbon emissions.
We also encourage good consumer habits in our clients through a “buy less by buying better” process.
OTHER GREEN TIPS FOR BIGGER SUSTAINABLE COMPANIES:
New Reflections is a small structure, and we do realise that bigger businesses need tips that are better suited to their size. We came up with 5 simples habits for big businesses to changer their impact on the environment:
Our first tip and the very first habit to take is a classic: recycling. Australians have recycled 50 to 60% of their waste between 2014 and 2015. Australian companies should be inspired to do the same.
Our second tip would be to always prefer local products and produces when presented with the option. Not only does this habit participate in developing our country’s economy, it also allows you to cut greenhouse emissions by avoiding transports by plane or by boat.
Our third tip would be to not neglect small gestures: big companies should start small. For example, if all of your 500 employees are careful to make little changes such as using mugs instead of plastic coffee cups, the impact is huge!
Our fourth tip doubles as a team-building tip. In 2012 road transports accounted for 84% of emissions from the transport sector, and over 12% of all greenhouse emissions produced in Australia. Your company could organise carpooling options: it’s best for the environment, and your employees could get to know each other better. At New Reflections we believe that happy employees make a better team, and ultimately a stronger business.
Finally, we would advise companies with many branches to try and use renewable energies. A popular option is to install solar panels to generate your own energy. It’s time to put the Australian sun to good use! You could also try and use solar-powered objects as well.
Stay tuned for more eco-friendly articles with New Reflections
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