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Green statistics: The truth about green businesses

Here are five easy ways start-ups and small businesses can reduce their carbon emissions immediately

Upping sustainability is much harder for a business than it is for a household – you can’t just limit how often you flush the toilet and start composting your food waste and say you’re carbon neutral.

Depending on how much you want to spend to make your business green, there are varying levels of sustainability, but these are Startups’ favourite quick fixes to reducing your business’ effect on the environment:

Do a ‘walkabout’ of your business

It’s estimated that up to 60% of the energy used by office equipment in the UK could be wasted because equipment is left on, so walk around your office and have a look at what you can do immediately to reduce your emissions:

  • Has someone left aphone charger plugged into the wall while they’re not using it?
  • Do you leave the lights on overnight?
  • Do you always make sure the last person to go home switches off the printer?

Assess your firm’s carbon footprint

It may be a bit tedious sitting down with all your bills and trying to work out exactly how many units you’ve used over the last three months, but once you know exactly what your output is, you can work out exactly how much you need to reduce your emissions by and start to set goals.

Check your start-up’s appliances

It has been estimated that small businesses now spend more than 10% of their annual turnover on energy bills, so reducing your energy output has financial as well as ecological incentives.

If you have a smart meter installed, you can easily monitor your business’ energy usage. Smart meters wirelessly and automatically send gas and electricity meter readings to your energy supplier, displaying accurate information regarding your business’ energy usage and how much it is costing your business. Smart meters enable you to set targets to increase your business’ energy efficiency and reduce costs.

Assess how hard your computers work – if you are a web designer or graphics company, your employees may need a computer each, but if you only use your computers for word processing and internet browsing, you may want to consider using a multi-user system.

Evaluate your energy tariff

Your energy tariff makes a huge amount of difference to your overall carbon footprint. Some suppliers offer green tariffs which can ensure your energy is sourced sustainably, support the development of renewable energy sources, and offset your carbon emissions.

There are also suppliers who make sure all their energy is sourced from renewable sources, which could reduce your business’ carbon footprint dramatically.

Reduce before you recycle business waste

Reducing the amount of waste you create before you start recycling is one of the best ways you can put a dent in your carbon footprint. As Julie Gartside, an environmental consultant at Enviros, puts it: “Reduce first, don’t use recycling as an excuse mechanism”.

There are lots of ways to reduce your waste: encourage staff to limit printing as much as possible, for example, or make the switch from bottled watercoolers to filtered water from a tap.

Once you’ve reduced your waste, contact your local authority for information about recycling services in your area.


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