COP26 which took place at the end of 2021 in Glasgow, saw extensive discussion take place regarding plans to address the climate crisis. It saw the agreement of the Glasgow Climate Pact – including pledges to cut emissions of carbon dioxide, plans to reduce the use of coal and the phasing out of fossil fuel subsidies amongst many others.
It’s widely acknowledged that governments alone cannot create the change needed to address the climate crisis and that we all have a part to play, including small businesses. So, if you are looking at changes that your business can make this year, read these tips on how to run an environmentally friendly business to get your started.
How to run an environmentally friendly business
Sometimes just small changes can make a big difference. By taking a step back and looking at the way you do things now, you may find that you can identify many ways in which to make your business more environmentally friendly. As well as helping bring other benefits to your business, employees, and customers at the same time.
Embrace electric vehicle technology
The sale of new petrol and diesel cars will be banned in the UK from 2030 which will see many of us make the switch to electric vehicle technology. And your business could also consider this.
There are many incentives available to businesses for investing in electric vehicles, and benefits for employees choosing an electric vehicle through a company car scheme
These include but are not limited to:
- grants for buying new certain low emissions vehicles
- grants for installing electric charging points in the workplace
- pure electric cars are exempt from vehicle tax
- lower Benefit in Kind rates on electric vehicles
- electric cars are exempt from congestion charges
- capital allowances are more generous on new electric vehicles
Look at your energy usage
Are there ways that your business could be saving energy?
- Know how much energy you are using and when – this will give you a good idea of when you are using the most energy and help you understand areas you can address to reduce your energy consumption
- Lighting – make use of the latest energy efficient light bulbs, make sure staff turn off lights when not in a room, or consider installing motion sensor lights
- Switch off at the end of the day – encourage staff to switch their PC or laptop off at the end of the day rather than leaving them in sleep or standby mode. Taking the same approach to any other tech in your office or business space could really help reduce energy consumption
- Look at your heating usage – do you need your air conditioning on all summer, or could you open a window/door to let fresh air in? Could you reduce the temperature in the office slightly during the winter? Do what you can whilst also creating a comfortable and safe working environment for your employees
- Consider your energy supplier – there are many green energy suppliers or suppliers with green energy tariffs. This blog from energy supplier Bulb looks at what renewable energy is and how you can access this for your business.
Consider your paper usage
Digital documents, paperless billing/statements and reviewing your use of single use papers could all help you reduce your paper usage. Are your staff still using paper diaries? Could they switch to an online format?
Encourage your staff to commute in a green way
Car sharing. Cycle to work schemes. Walk to work days. Incentives for using public transport.
Whilst we know that these schemes won’t work for all staff, even if a few make a change to the way they commute this can make a difference.
You can also review your company policy on business travel. The COVID-19 pandemic has pushed many of us to work remotely and to communicate remotely with our colleagues. If you can continue to do this and minimise unnecessary journeys, not only will it have a positive environmental impact, but your business will also save on company expenses.
Do your research
If you are looking for sustainable suppliers or partners, then do your research before choosing. Greenwashing is a concern amongst those focussed on creating change for the environment. Look for suppliers or partners who hold recognised green certifications such as B Corp, Fairtrade, or Carbon Trust.
There are many actions your business can take to improve your impact on the climate and environment. And whilst these are just a few areas to consider when it comes to how to run an environmentally friendly business, we hope they give you a few starting points.
If you are also reviewing your small business insurance needs this year, do get in touch with us at Anthony Jones on 020 8290 9080 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org. All small businesses face different risks, and your insurance needs to reflect this. Our team of experts can work with you to get the right insurance cover for your business.