According to the World Economic Forum, failure to reduce the impact of climate change is the biggest risk to face the world over the next decade.

If you run a ‘green’ office to minimise your impact on the planet, you are of course helping to protect it for future generations. But you can also reduce energy bills and boost your business reputation into the bargain, among other benefits.

Of course, climate change can sometimes seem such an overwhelmingly huge issue that it can be tempting to believe we can do nothing about it. But the good news is that, in fact, there are many simple and cost-effective ways you can make a difference.

  • Go green with your energy

Think about how you could switch to 100% renewable energy. Prices are lower than you may have realised, plus you’ll be doing the environment a huge favour.

  • Reduce disposable plastics

Plastic is easy to transport, lightweight and flexible – but its environmental costs have been well documented. So look at the disposable plastics you use in your workplace and seeing what you could ditch. Cups and cutlery made from this material are the obvious choices, but also be sure you’re only using the bubble wrap, Sellotape and packaging you need. Can you swap anything for longer-lasting, more sustainable alternatives?

  • Eco-friendly travel

Think before you travel, especially by road or air. Consider alternatives such as video calls, which, of course, also save time too.

  • Set tangible targets

Setting yourself a vague goal of ‘becoming more sustainable’ is unlikely to be effective. Set achievable targets instead, for example to reduce travel emissions by 5% over the next three years, or to cut water or energy use by 2% a year. You can also record your progress on your website, to underline your commitment.

  • Use the waste hierarchy

This is simple but effective:

  1. Refuse – don’t buy certain items
  2. Reduce – e.g. packing
  3. Reuse – as much as you can
  4. Recycle ­­– as above
  5. Rot – e.g. composting food waste
  6. Energy recovery – e.g. incinerating general waste rather than sending it to landfill
  • Understand your carbon footprint

You may not be aware that emissions are classed as ‘Scopes’:

  1. Scope 1 emissions are those you produce directly yourself via fleet vehicles or on-site energy production
  2. Scope 2 are emissions from energy you have bought
  3. Scope 3 are those for which you are responsible indirectly, for example staff travel

Learn more about how you can measure these various tiers and seek advice from emissions-reporting organisations. (There are also online calculators you can use.)

  • Paper and printing

You are no doubt already encouraging your staff to print out as little as possible, to help reduce both the financial and environmental impact of doing so. (One figure from Kyocera has it that the average UK office worker prints 6,000 pages annually, more than 60% of which is unnecessary or wasted.) Use digital alternatives or set a maximum per-person printing target.

But, of course, using paper is sometimes unavoidable. Use products which are 100% recycled or Forest Stewardship Council UK (FSC) certified. This means they’re guaranteed to come from responsibly managed forests.

Clearly, the things above are just starting points. There are so many other elements you can potentially think about, from where you invest to the food you order on-site to the suppliers you use. Consider becoming certified to the international standard on Environmental Management (ISO 14001) to show commitment to continuously improving environmental performance. Giving back to the local community is another part of sustainability.

How Octopus Office can help

Talk to us at Octopus Supplies. We offer advice on recycling printer cartridges, can dispose of these for you and provide a range of environmentally friendly products including FSC paper. Plus we deliver locally across the north-west, reducing the impact of ordering from further afield. Get in touch today to learn more.

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