How To: Reduce Your Organisation’s Environmental Footprint

Click here for your free ISO 14001 Environmental Management System Gap Analysis Checklist, which will help you massively in the process of reducing your organisation’s environmental footprint.

In honor of the climate strikes taking place here in Australia and around the globe, I thought we’d put together a brief piece on how you and your organisation can reduce its environmental footprint. I’ve found from previous experience consulting with hundreds of organisations across countless industries that most individuals have good intentions- but are unsure how to execute on a plan that has environmental considerations, while keeping the organisation moving ahead.

“As we move into the future, I believe that those that take environmental concerns seriously will be the ones that stand out from the crowd, and consumers will continue to vote with their wallets and support organisations that share their concerns for the environment.” Kobi Simmat.

Before we kick off with the list, it’s important to stress just how effective an environmental management system is in reducing your organisation’s impact on the environment, while finding new ways to optimise and innovate your current processes. As with all the ISO standards, it’s rooted in the belief that anything and everything can be improved, no matter how well it’s working. An environmental management system is an invaluable tick of approval from an internationally-recognised governing body that will inspire confidence from consumers, suppliers and stakeholders in your organisation. Why? Because they can see that you’ve both acknowledged a problem and committed to implementing solutions.

Work with Sustainable Suppliers & Materials- In 2019, there’s more companies offering ethically-sourced, sustainable materials and services than ever before. It’s been quite exciting to watch the industry move to a more environmentally-sustainable model, and while the infant stages required consumers pay a premium for sustainable materials, nowadays, it’s more competitive than ever, meaning the customer doesn’t have to pay too much. Regardless of your industry, there’s more than likely a supplier in the market that separates itself from the crowd due to either the renewable energy side of the equation, the sourcing of materials or recyclability of the product. The best part for your organisation is that you can, in turn, begin to separate your organisation from the crowd if you’ve got sustainability in your supply chain or the end deliverable, which is more attractive for consumers than ever before.

Green Web Hosting - There’s a number of companies out there operating with environmental concerns at the forefront of their decision making. This extends to companies that offer web hosting domains, which are energy-intensive when it comes to powering and cooling large stacks of servers and equipment. Consider switching domain providers to one that is environmentally conscious, and market this fact to your customers. As I’m sure to mention a number of times in this piece, consumers vote with their wallets, and also buy into the reasons why your organisation exists. If part of this reason encompasses environmental concerns, you’re likely to see new customers attracted to your organisation when you begin to market even small details like this.

Reduce Paper Use - This is a pretty obvious one, and applies more to larger organisations, but it remains a valid point. My argument is two-fold: organisations that reduce the amount of paper littering their office and are less reliant on printed documents are both environmentally conscious, and they’re more streamlined. The first point is great - and topical - however, the second point is an important consideration. If your organisation still believes in the old-school methods of printing hundreds of documents and storing them away just to get dusty and unused, there’s a heap of improvements that can be made to help you become more agile in the dynamic world of business.

Take Fewer Flights - Air travel, while insanely cheap and convenient, is a huge contributor to global emissions worldwide. In years past, there was little choice when trying to secure a deal or meet suppliers other than jumping on a flight and fronting up face-to-face. In modern business, however, with the advent of skype, google hangouts, iphones and high-speed internet connections, I believe that you can be just as productive - and a whole lot more environmentally friendly - while hustling from the office or home. There’s a paradigm shift taking place as we speak, so while it might seem strange in the early phases to the customer that you’re not flying over, they’re likely to be convinced when you have a high-level and effective meeting via the internet. If you’re more fiscally concerned than environmentally motivated, this is also a great opportunity to save some dollars on flights and get your team well-verse on how to conduct meetings via the internet.

Sustainability in the office- If you’re handing out staff uniforms, consider throwing in a branded water bottle when you’re onboarding staff. Not a plastic bottle, but a sturdy thermos bottle to keep those drinks cool in summer, and hot on cold winter days. At Best Practice, we’ve got branded metal bottles for our employees, and while it’s a small gesture, if your employees take that out into the market, you’re likely to impress a few like-minded individuals- and it might even help to get a deal over the line. Small gestures are representative of a larger commitment from your organisation, so don’t underestimate things like this.

As we move into the future, I believe that organisations that take environmental concerns seriously will be the ones that stand out from the crowd, and consumers will continue to vote with their wallets, and for that reason - amongst a long list of valid reasons - investment in an environmental management system is likely to be the most lucrative and worthwhile investment you’ll make today.

Thanks for your time,

Kobi Simmat.

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