Top Green Initiatives for Business

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    Guide Author

    James Longley

    Managing Director

    min read
    Last Updated April 5, 2023

    Environmental concerns are now high on the agenda of many businesses across the world, and as a result, a rising number of companies are implementing green initiatives. But what exactly are businesses doing to be more eco-friendly, and why are these measures so important?

    Here, we explore these issues, and also look at the steps specific types of organisations – from schools to hotels – can take to help protect the planet.

    What are green initiatives?

    Put simply, a green initiative is a project or plan intended to help protect the environment. Businesses are implementing diverse green initiatives around the world in a bid to reduce their carbon footprints and protect natural resources. From recycling initiatives to making the switch to green energy sources, there is a wide range of things that companies can do.

    How can businesses go ‘green’ with green initiatives?

    There are a wide variety of green initiatives that businesses can implement to become more sustainable and eco-conscious. And they don’t have to be changes implemented overnight – there are many preparatory steps that can be taken to identify opportunities to become greener.

    If you’re looking for green initiatives to make your company more planet-friendly, here are some of the prime examples:

    Switch to renewable energy sources

    It’s now easier than ever to access green energy packages. As well as the selection of specialist green energy providers, many mainstream providers now offer green energy tariffs too – giving you greater choice to purchase all of your electricity and gas from renewable sources.

    Renewable energy can come from many sources, including wind turbines, solar panels, hydropower stations and biomass plants. Making the switch to green energy is quick and easy, and the team here at Utility Bidder can help.

    Arrange an energy audit

    Energy prices have risen at an unprecedented rate in recent times, having a significant impact on the financial stability of businesses across the UK. So, as well as thinking about where you source your energy from, it’s important to consider how you use these resources.

    It’s easy to waste large amounts of power due to inefficiencies. Spotting these inefficiencies, however, can be much more difficult. This is where regular energy auditing can help. These audits monitor the power you use in your workplace – often to the individual pieces of equipment and machinery.

    The results an energy audit can provide will allow you to see at a glance where you’re using excessive amounts of energy. With an audit you’ll be able to identify which green initiatives you can take to make your premises more energy efficient – whether it’s turning down heating and air conditioning systems, replacing inefficient devices or turning off equipment when it’s not in use.

    Increase recycling, reduce waste

    How can recycling affect businesses? Well, you may find your organisation gets through a lot of resources, from plastics to paper to chemicals. It’s important to make sure you take advantage of recycling schemes to prevent as much of this waste ending up in landfill.

    You may also find prime opportunities to reduce waste in your business – whether that’s water waste , unnecessary electricity consumption, or adapting manufacturing processes to make them less wasteful. Naturally, the less resources you waste, the less money you waste.

    A big part of this is simply about educating employees about the importance of preserving resources – from both an environmental and a cost standpoint.

    Focus on green procurement

    Green procurement or green purchasing policy (GPP) refers to purchasing goods and services that cause minimal environmental impact. So, for example, buying recyclable products and equipment that are designed to reduce energy or water consumption.

    Become recognised as a green business

    Want your customer base to be aware of the green initiatives you’ve been focussing on (such as switching to 100% renewable energy )? Gaining an official accreditation that recognises these steps is the route to go down.

    For example, businesses can obtain the Green Mark, an internally recognised environmental accreditation and route to ISO 14001. If your company gains this certification, you’ll be provided with a set of marketing tools designed to help you promote your achievements in environmental sustainability.

    Take advantage of government support

    There are various forms of government support available to businesses to help make them more environmentally responsible. This includes loans and grants that can help to fund the purchase of energy efficient equipment, as well as other government-sponsored initiatives, such as the provision of free business advice on this topic.

    The types of support open to your organisation will depend on a range of factors, including your location, the project you are planning and the nature of your business.

    Finding and applying for government support can seem daunting, but you can discover more about your options online. You can visit the GOV.UK finance and support finder to get more information.

    Specific measures for different types of organisation

    The measures outlined above are generic and can be adopted by a wide range of businesses and other organisations. Below, we’ve outlined some more specific measures that can be used by particular types of organisation.

    How can schools be more sustainable?

    When it comes to schools becoming more eco-friendly, there are many simple but really effective starting points. The school run, for example, could be transformed through ‘walking buses’, where groups of children walk to school chaperoned by adults – rather than commute by car.

    Green measures can also be taken when it comes to canteen supplies – schools could procure ingredients from local suppliers to reduce the carbon footprint of school lunches. Students can also play their part by getting involved in recycling and upcycling projects.

    How to make an office more sustainable

    In today’s digital age, one of the easiest steps offices can take to become more sustainable is to switch to paperless systems. This can help to cut paper and printer waste by a significant amount.

    Staff can be educated on the importance of energy conservation. It’s as simple as switching off appliances, like printers, PCs and monitors, when they’re not in use. Through this simple step, organisations can save on business energy bills.

    How can hotels be more sustainable?

    As big water users, one of the natural starting points for hotels looking to become more sustainable is through the installation of sink aerators and low-flow showerheads. These simple devices can help reduce water consumption. Hotels can also encourage guests to reuse towels to cut down on the amount of laundry.

    Installing occupancy sensors in guest rooms that control lights, electronics and temperature settings can help to cut out any unnecessary electricity usage.

    Some hotels are encouraging guests to ditch hire cars and cabs in favour of green transport methods. By making bicycles available or providing shuttle bus services to the city centre and airport, they not only offer convenience, but they also help to reduce carbon emissions.

    How can restaurants be more sustainable?

    Some level of food waste is unavoidable in restaurants, but there’s still plenty that can be done to improve sustainability. For example, using digital inventory management tools and highlighting expiration dates on produce can help eateries to minimise food waste. Surplus meals and ingredients could also be donated to soup kitchens or food banks.

    Appliances can have a huge impact too. Restaurants can really benefit from choosing appliances with high energy efficiency ratings, such as ovens, hobs, fridges, freezers and dishwashers. Chefs can play their part too – devising dishes using in-season ingredients with low food miles can also help to make restaurants greener.

    How do I start a green initiative at work?

    Starting a green initiative at work can be daunting, but don’t let this put you off. The key is to devise an effective plan that is suitable for your particular organisation, and to spend time educating and persuading your colleagues to get on board. Buy-in from co-workers is key to getting these measures to work. To help with this process, it often pays to involve your colleagues at the ideas stage so that they feel fully invested in it. This can also help to ensure that your green initiatives are as strong and effective as possible.

    What is the cost of going green for businesses?

    With minimising costs such a focus for many businesses, particularly now in these challenging economic times, you might be wondering about the cost implications of becoming more environmentally friendly as an organisation. After all, certain measures – such as making your building more energy efficient or upgrading your recycling facilities – will cost money upfront.

    However, over the long term, many of these changes could save you potentially significant sums of money – for example by lowering your energy bills.

    As mentioned previously, it’s also vital to consider the positive impact that going green could have on your business’ reputation, and the effect this could have on sales. A recent global study by Nielsen found that more than eight in 10 people polled said it is extremely or very important that companies implement policies to improve the environment.

    By being proactive in this area, you could help to secure the long term popularity and success of your business.

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