Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. It’s probably safe to say that the majority of us have heard of the Three R’s. In the eighties and nineties, posters promoting the slogan were plastered all over - starting the movement toward environmental sustainability.
The Three R’s are still valid today, and our understanding of the environment and the impact we have upon it has grown significantly. But we still have a long way to go. The changes we make, especially in business, need to be systemic.
And it looks like we’re getting close. MIT Sloan Management Review, an organization that “disseminates new management research and innovative ideas,” conducted a global survey on sustainability and innovation, and the results were promising.
The survey responses showed that 70 percent of business executives have added sustainability to their management agendas. What’s more, one-third of the respondents indicated their profitability improved as a result of going green. The review demonstrated that the sustainability movement is reaching a “tipping point” – where companies not only value environmental sustainability, but also reap financial rewards from pursuing it.
Here are a few tips for those who wish to create a more sustainable business:
Reduce.The easiest way to increase sustainability is to use less – plain and simple. This can be achieved in a number of ways:
1. Work remotely. If possible, working from home can dramatically reduce your environmental footprint. If you don’t drive to work, you cut down your carbon emissions. If several people in the office choose this option, businesses can function from smaller offices, therefore requiring less furniture and using less energy to operate.
2. Use the cloud. The idea of ‘the cloud’ may seem daunting to some, but it shouldn’t be. Simply put, the cloud allows you to store and access information over the Internet. This all but eliminates the need to print and store documents physically, which brings about all kinds of added benefits for your company. Reduced printing costs equals more money in your pocket; a smaller storage space results in more affordable lease options; easy access to information creates more collaborative opportunities for employees.
3. Power down. You can probably still hear your parents yelling, “Turn the lights off!” Good, keep listening to that voice. The same goes for electronics. When you’re not using them, put them in power save mode. When you’re done work for the day, turn them off.
4. Go energy-efficient. Because of the rising desire to be environmentally responsible, the opportunity to reduce energy consumption is increasing. For example, consider switching to energy-efficient or motion sensored lights and buy more efficient computers and monitors.
Reuse.If reducing consumption creates the largest environmental impact, it makes sense that reusing what we’ve already got would be the next logical step. While these ideas certainly aren’t complex, implementing them company-wide will make a big difference:
1. Ditch the disposables. Opt for reusable dishes and cutlery. Yes, this means taking a few extra seconds to do the dishes, but consider it an opportunity to take a mental break.
2. Bring your own bottle. Invest in a great reusable water bottle rather than the plastic disposables. Although these are advertised as being recyclable, the cost and energy it takes to repurpose them far outweigh the benefits.
3. Buy refillable supplies. Anytime you can purchase refillable office supplies, you’re reducing waste. Pens, pencils, highlighters and even ink and toner cartridges can be reused.
Recycle.It’s impossible to prevent wasteful usage entirely, but after reducing and reusing, recycling allows us to squeeze the last bit of life out of some products. Paper, plastic, glass, metal and even batteries and electronics can all be recycled. Sending these items to a recycling depot rather than the dump makes a notable difference for the environment.
The Bottom LineWhether you’re a business owner or an employee, being environmentally friendly doesn’t need to be complicated. And since almost three-quarters of business executives are already on board with incorporating sustainable solutions, it’s clear that ‘going green’ is now more the norm than a novel idea.
TruSpace have 30 years of experience in designing and building truly inspiring office spaces your business and your people deserve. Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you would like to learn more about our innovative all-inclusive design build service.