Explore sustainability

10 steps to start your sustainable business journey

There’s lots of benefits to knowing the business impact of climate change and making sure sustainability is built into your business DNA. 

Being more sustainable could help you:

  • boost profitability 
  • improve investor confidence 
  • enhance your reputation 
  • attract and retain talent 
  • increase your business resilience.

There’s a clear business case for sustainability as well as an environmental one. And customers, clients and employees are often keen to work with sustainable businesses too.

Where do you begin?

  1. Learn more about climate

    The first step is moving your mind in the right direction. Educate yourself and your employees on the climate crisis and how they – and you as a business – can make a difference. Anything you do without understanding why you’re doing it will struggle to be successful.

  2. Make easy changes first

    Start with small, easy changes, such as shifting to compostable or recycled packaging. Use LED bulbs, they consume less electricity than traditional incandescent bulbs. Install eco-chillers and fridges. Move to glass bottles of milk and buy loose tea instead of tea bags. Ban paper and plastic cups in the office – either purchase reusable mugs and glasses or ask staff to bring in their own.

  3. Switch energy provider

    Switch to 100% renewable energy. If the origin of the energy supplied to you is 100% renewably sourced, you will make an immediate impact as your carbon emissions for electricity will be zero.

  4. Watch the energy you use

    Use an energy monitor. Being able to see the instant effect of turning lights and equipment off really helps to see where you can save. Doing this one thing could reduce your annual energy bill.

  5. Your screensaver’s important too

    Turn off your computer screensavers – they don’t do anything to conserve power. Set your machines to go into hibernation mode after the same period of time instead.

  6. Keep an eye on room temperature

    Rather than turning up the heating, or dialling the aircon down, maximise the building’s natural temperature by moving office furniture. Keep equipment near shady windows for cooling and move desks away from draughty areas.

  7. Check your web hosting

    Make sure your web/cloud hosts are reliable and sustainable. Check your provider’s shared hosting offering because this is the most eco-friendly. 

  8. Trains, planes, bikes and feet – do you really need to meet?

    Create a travel policy that reduces mileage in favour of virtual meetings. Reduce the need to travel, avoiding unnecessary journeys. Explore alternative types of travel, that reduce CO2 and congestion. If you do have to travel then think about offsetting, or making better use of your travel time. You could also try to reduce vehicle use and optimise fuel efficiency for the vehicles you do use.

  9. See what funding’s available

    Investigate financial assistance. Talk to your bank about sustainable education or packages of support. Explore the Sustainable Innovation fund, a government initiative to develop new sustainable opportunities for businesses in any sector, which is helping the UK meet its ambitions to cut carbon emissions to net zero by 2050.

  10. Make some noise

    If you take steps towards improving your environment, make sure you tell everyone about it. Consumers increasingly want to know more about a company’s stance on environmental and social issues. So if you’re doing something good, then why not tell others about it?

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