Did you know there is a tax efficient way to make contributions into employee’s pension…
The time to debate the importance of protecting the environment has passed. As droughts wither crops across Western Europe, and areas of Australia see their fourth round of torrential floods in a year, the threat posed by climate change is clear and action needs to be taken.
But recognising something needs to be done is one thing – knowing what to do is something else entirely. Especially for businesses, where common suggestions can sometimes mean hefty costs to implement.
There are plenty of simple steps that you can take to grow a greener business. From supporting employees in making more sustainable choices, to subtle changes in company operations – this is one area where small shifts can yield big results.
At FC Payroll Solutions, we applaud anyone who wants to lighten the load they place on the planet, so we’ve put together some tips and suggestions to help you grow a greener business and improve working conditions for your employees.
Rather than being a financial strain on your company, sustainable practices can actually bring many benefits for you as well as the planet. In fact, when choosing between similar products, 90% of customers would buy from a company that demonstrates environmentally-friendly practices when possible.
The same research has shown that customers are even willing to help share the cost of sustainable choices. In fact, they are happy to pay up to 20% more for products that are environmentally sound.
There are also grants to help you cover the initial outlay for more sustainable upgrades.
From signing a Climate Change Agreement in order to receive rate reductions to applying for a Green Business Grant to cover the costs of installing more efficient equipment, you don’t have to be scared off by these early costs.
Once you’ve implemented more eco-friendly equipment, you will start to notice the ongoing financial benefit. Being more environmentally friendly is all about using less resources and less energy. And the less you use, the less you need to pay for.
Some steps you can take to cut your energy usage and cut your energy bills are:
- Change over to Smart energy meters to allow closer monitoring of your energy usage and spot unnecessary use
- Switch from desktop computers to laptops – they use a lot less power
- Insulate your office building
- Open a window to cool down rather than reaching for the air conditioning
Follow these options and you’ll soon find that picking environmentally friendly options doesn’t have to be a choice between conscience and profit.
Swap to Green Suppliers
Another option that can sometimes lead to surprise savings is swapping to eco-friendly suppliers.
Whether this means investing in a paperless system, swapping to carbon-balanced printers, offset web hosting or choosing recycled toilet rolls, you can find plenty of sustainable options to help make your office space more eco-friendly.
The Unexpected Savings of Remote Working
Remote working has proven to be a contentious issue but one of the benefits it brings is chronically overlooked – and that’s for the environment.
Remote working reduces costs and saves energy compared with office use, and remote working will significantly shrink the carbon footprint of your employees who are no longer travelling to the office. As well as saving their time, this will save on petrol and reduce pollution – an even bigger reduction when you consider that travel during rush hour is generally considerably slower and longer.
This is not a tactic that will work for every company or even every worker, but if it is a move you are considering, then don’t forget to factor in the environmental impact, too.
Build a Green Team
Starting at the top is a great way to get your whole team to make sustainable changes.
Embedding eco-friendly practices into workplace culture can lead by example, encouraging others to follow your way of operating. This can cost money upfront and will definitely mean making heartfelt commitments, but it will pay off in the long run.
Start a Cycle to Work Scheme
Cycling to work can do more than just protect the environment. It will help improve the physical health of employees and in a time of soaring petrol prices it will even improve the health of their bank balance.
However just telling people isn’t enough to get a scheme like this to take off. Look at common barriers, such as bike costs, and see what you can do to overcome them.
Salary sacrifice schemes and employee discounts can help take the sting out of initial purchase prices. Providing voluntary workshops on bike maintenance can also help anyone fretting about picking up a puncture on their way in.
Alternatively, arranging for an external bike mechanic to run a weekly or monthly upkeep programme could also encourage people who haven’t cycled since childhood.
For more rural companies and long-distance commutes, then carpooling could be a more realistic alternative. Choosing to carpool can save a significant amount of energy and reduce carbon emissions substantially. Not only that, one study found that 22% of carpoolers will consciously drive slower when carrying passengers, making our roads safer too.
Create a Food Share Scheme
Another way to encourage your staff is to set up a food share scheme. This means encouraging your team to share the leftovers of their culinary creations with their colleagues on a regular basis. This will not only help cut down on food waste, it also benefits staff who save time and energy too.
Supply (and Maintain!) Recycling Bins
If you want to encourage people to recycle, then you need to provide plenty of bins. Locate them next to ‘General Waste’ bins and make sure they are clearly labelled with what they accept.
The easier you make this process, the more likely people are to follow it.
Another important step is to make sure they are emptied regularly. An overflowing recycling bin will likely be ignored and will undermine the commitment you are expecting your staff to show.
To take it one step further, you could even incentivise your staff to recycle by installing reverse vending machines. The machines will actually pay you to recycle your plastic waste.
Put a Green Reminder on Your Emails
Similar to recycling, the more you support your staff in making sustainable changes the easier they will find it.
Pop a reminder not to print unnecessary emails in your signature and you won’t even need to keep it at the forefront of your own mind. You’ll naturally be reminded with every response you send.
Limit In-Person Meetings
There are times when only meeting in person will do when it comes to generating creative, personal or formal environments. However, this isn’t always necessary.
Try where you can to encourage virtual meetings using video calling and voice notes instead. You are still able to build and maintain relationships virtually, and it will even make meetings more efficient. No more waiting around for people to arrive, and you can even share recordings with people who weren’t available.
Strike a balance between regular virtual and in-person meetings to make both your staff and the planet’s life run more smoothly.
Earn B Corp Status
If you’re truly dedicated to making ethical and environmental changes in your company, then earning B Corp Certification is the best way to prove it.
This status is only awarded to businesses that meet “high standards of verified performance, accountability and transparency on factors from employee benefits and charitable giving to supply chain practices and input materials”.
Earning this status is not quick or easy. The process involves a number of stages including an impact assessment and legal requirement. There is also an evaluation and verification process to complete, too.
This isn’t a quick fix for people who want to claim the glory of green practices. However, it is the current gold standard that proves you are working towards lowering your impact on the environment with your business.
It will definitely prove to your customers and your staff that you are fully committed, too.
Making sure your business works in the greenest way possible has never been more important. And this is an ongoing, upwards trajectory – this importance is only going to grow.
The changes we’ve covered here are great options that can apply across a whole range of businesses. So what’s stopping you going a little bit greener in the future?
You’re more than welcome to use our infographic for your own content, all we ask is that you credit FC Payroll Solutions with a link back to this post citing us as the original source.
Need help streamlining your business to reduce costs? Consider outsourcing payroll services with our experienced payrollers. Whether you have a remote team, you need to set up pension auto enrolment for your staff, or you need some assistance with shift work payroll, just get in touch to see how we can help.