How to make your local business more sustainable

Businesses can make some small changes to the way they operate, which will make them more sustainable, save money and improve the wellbeing and experience of their employees.

Consider how you heat and cool your offices

The energy used to heat the spaces we live and work in is one of the highest contributors to our individual carbon footprints. Globally, heat accounts for nearly half of all energy consumption and 40% of energy-related carbon dioxide emissions.

The IEA projects that as the rest of the world reaches similar levels, air conditioning will use about 13% of all electricity worldwide, and produce 2bn tonnes of CO2 a year – about the same amount as India, the world's third-largest emitter.

If you can be smart about the way you heat and cool your premises by using timers, smart meters and monitoring usage you can make big carbon reductions.

Insulate your buildings

Non-domestic buildings are responsible for 9% of UK greenhouse gas emissions every year. If you properly insulate your property you not only save money in the long run you will be reducing your carbon footprint.

Introduce a cycle to work scheme

Cycle to work operates as a 'salary sacrifice' employee benefit. This means that the employee agrees to give up part of their salary in exchange for a benefit – in this instance the benefit is a bike and/or accessories. The salary sacrifice is taken from their gross salary (before tax) which means that the employee will pay less Income Tax and National Insurance (NI) and that the employer will reduce their National Insurance Contributions (NICs) bill.

Minimise the waste from your products and packaging

Try to reduce the amount of packaging you use without compromising on quality, look into using recyclable materials, only use single-use plastics if unavoidable. There are also plenty of eco-friendly and biodegradable materials on the market nowadays.

Reduce food waste and go plant-based

In the UK, 6.7 million tonnes of food is wasted per year which totals to costs of £10.2 billion each year. Think of ways to engage your staff and reduce food waste also consider putting more sustainable items on your menu.

Reduce the number of emails you send

Nobody likes to receive more emails than they need to but it is an often-overlooked way to reduce your organisations carbon footprint.

A typical email is responsible for 4g of CO2 emissions. To put this into perspective it takes just three average office workers’ yearly received emails to surpass the yearly carbon footprint of the average person in India.

Sustainability Employee Benefits

We have covered a “Cycle to work scheme” however there are other benefits which contribute to sustainability, such as offering green energy tariffs at discounted costs, charitable giving and volunteering schemes, and incentives to take public transport rather than drive, as well as many others.

Switch to LED bulbs

LED lights last and that will save you money and reduce your carbon footprint.

The Local Business Awards are open for entries, find your category here.

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