Eco-Friendly Business Practices: How Solar Energy Is Changing The Landscape

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For thousands of years, humans have gathered resources from the planet and, especially in recent times, have not given much back. This has led to a wealth of problems including running out of fossil fuels (but they’re outdated anyway) and climate change.

Climate change alone is responsible for a mass of issues including rising global temperatures, loss of wildlife habitat, broken economies and much more.

In the last decade, we have seen more and more individuals and businesses turning their attention to sustainable practices. Admittedly, there was some scepticism at first because people weren’t sure of how reliable these practices would be. But as time has gone on, we’ve seen the beneficial effects and how being sustainable isn’t as scary as we once thought.

Let’s be honest, the future is one that involves sustainability and it’s only a matter of time before we all have no choice but to jump on board. The question is: why wouldn’t you want to?

Not only do sustainable practices benefit your business in a financial sense but they also help to build your brand’s reputation. The result? A better influence on the community, more interest from clients and higher profits.

Ways That Businesses Can Be More Sustainable

If you’re totally new to the idea of sustainability, it can seem a little daunting. After all, you’re looking at a complete upheaval of how your business operates. But that doesn’t mean it has to be difficult.

In fact, there are several things that you, as a business owner, can do to improve your sustainability in ways that won’t have a negative impact. Quite the opposite is true and once you begin implementing these practices, you’ll start to wonder why you didn’t employ them in the past.

With that in mind, I’d like to discuss a few ways that you can get started in becoming a more sustainable company.

Remote Work Where Possible

During the Covid-19 pandemic, working from home became the norm. While it may have seemed strange at first, it’s something that people took to and it benefited businesses as well as their employees.

Even after the restrictions were lifted, many companies decided to keep their remote workers in place. Of course, I realise that remote work is not a tactic that can be employed by every business; for example, retailers, hospitality and other such industries wouldn’t be able to operate without in-house staff.

But where possible, encouraging remote work is one of the easiest ways to bring your business into the 21st century and become more sustainable. How does this work?

For starters, having your employees work from home means that your business premises won’t be using as much energy in terms of powering computers, lighting and air-con, for example. Every bit of power we can save is essential for the environment and the bigger the business, the more you’ll save by having people work from home.

What’s more, you have to consider the impact of travelling to work for your staff. While it is encouraged for people to walk to work, realistically this isn’t something that most people can get on board with.

However, that need is eliminated when working from home and the more businesses that encourage this, the less the impact on the environment from cars, buses, trains and other forms of transport.

But having remote workers has an impact on levels that might not initially come to mind. For example, without physical staff in the building, your company will produce less waste. This might be a small benefit but over time, it’s one that will have a seriously positive impact on your business.

Make Your Premises Greener

One of the most important things to consider when looking at how to become more sustainable and reduce the carbon footprint of your business is to look at how green your premises are.

It’s important for businesses to implement green policies and communicate these to employees at the same time as offering support to see these policies through.

Things like going paperless, installing recycling facilities (I’ll discuss this more later on) and switching to energy efficient computers and appliances can all go a long way to reducing that carbon footprint.

Becoming More Energy Efficient

For businesses that are just getting started in becoming more energy efficient, there’s no use in denying that there’s a lot of work ahead. I understand that some of the upgrades you’ll need to make will come at a cost but these should be seen as an investment for the future.

  • In older buildings, the insulation may not be sufficient and this can seriously impact the amount of energy you use. By installing up-to-date insulation, you’ll notice a reduction in your energy costs because air (warm and cold) will be better held in the building.
  • Even something as simple as switching to a different type of lightbulb can make a huge difference if you’re looking to make your business more energy-efficient. LED light bulbs are generally considered to be the most efficient and again, using them will have a positive impact on your energy costs. However, it may also be worth considering allowing more natural light into the building by installing larger windows or skylights.
  • One of the biggest costs associated with becoming more energy efficient involves replacing and upgrading your electrical equipment. This can include computers, appliances and even manufacturing equipment. While this is costly, energy-efficient electricals will reduce your energy costs and over time, you’ll break even. Of course, you don’t have to replace everything at once, it could be a case of waiting until items require an upgrade and then opting for an energy-efficient alternative.

If your business has a fleet of vehicles, choosing energy-efficient options can make a huge difference. Of course, the best option is to choose electric vehicles but where this is not possible, consider the fuel efficiency of your fleet and maybe think about opting for vehicles that use clean fuels as opposed to fossil fuels like petrol or diesel.

Consider Eco-Friendly Supplies

Earlier, I mentioned going paperless and this is something that a lot of businesses are now doing. Think about your personal accounts such as your energy bills, council tax, and banking; most of them are likely now sending correspondence via email. If this isn’t something your business is currently doing, it’s a simple way to become more eco-friendly and isn’t going to incur many costs.

In the office, employees are still going to require supplies like paper, Post-It notes and other items. However, while it may not be possible to entirely get rid of these, there is the option of switching to recycled paper. The benefit of this is that you’re doing your bit to ensure that discarded paper doesn’t end up in landfill and it’s reported that by saving a single tree from being turned into paper, we benefit from as much as 48 pounds of carbon being absorbed by that tree each year!

And it’s not just your office supplies that can help your business become greener; consider the items used in your kitchens and canteens. There’s been a lot of hype over replacing disposable plastic items like straws, cutlery and plates recently and for good reason.

The amount of plastic that’s being dumped into our oceans is alarming to say the least. But there are now entire ranges of bamboo utensils which are a much more eco-friendly option.

Donate Unused Goods To Charities

When thinking about sustainability, charity isn’t always the first thing that comes to mind. But think about the amount of unused goods businesses throw out each year and these all end up in landfill.

Whether you donate unused paper and stationary to a local community project or a retailer donates unsold clothing to a homeless charity, there’s always someone who can make use of the things you no longer need.

Many businesses make financial donations to charity and if this is something that you can do, then that’s great. But physical donations of goods are just as important


Humans have been encouraging recycling for many years now, especially because we realise the devastating effects that dumping rubbish in landfills can have. One of the easiest and most affordable practices any business can make in its mission to become more sustainable is to encourage recycling.

At the lowest level, this can mean installing recycling bins in your business premises and encouraging employees to use them. Posting signs around the bins to explain which items go where is a great way to support this initiative.

On a bigger scale, you need to consider the waste produced by the wider business. For example, manufacturers will need to think about their cut-offs and waste products and how they can implement a realistic recycling scheme for these. Moreover, installing larger recycling facilities within your business will mean fewer collections and even that can have a positive impact.

Where possible, it’s also worth considering how you can reuse items instead of recycling them. For example, if your supplies arrive in plain boxes, these can be reused when making your own shipments.

Why Is It Important For Businesses To Be More Sustainable: The Benefits

Becoming a more sustainable business is something that everyone is going to need to consider at some point in the future. There’s no better time than now to start implementing some of the things I have discussed above.

However, I am aware that some business owners may see this as unnecessary extra work but you have to consider the benefits for your business once you start your sustainable journey.

Reducing Overheads

I don’t think that there’s a business owner or manager on the planet who doesn’t want to cut costs. Why waste money when you can make it?

The reality of the situation is that implementing strategies to become more sustainable may come with costs and this can be off-putting. But it’s important to look to the future and think about the money your business will save in the long term.

For example, installing solar panels can save you as much as 50% on your annual energy bills. This is one of the most viable methods of sustainable energy and something that a lot of businesses are getting on board with. While there are initial costs involved, the UK Government does offer grants and incentives for businesses who take the leap. Moreover, you can even sell unused energy back to the grid and make a little extra profit.

Improving Brand Reputation

If there’s one thing that can make or break a business, it’s brand reputation. It can take years to build a successful company but just seconds to tear it down. The same can be said for building that business even more and improving your sustainability practices is one way to grab the attention of the public and, often more importantly, the media.

You only need to perform a quick Google search on sustainable companies to see the plethora of media reports praising the efforts of the likes of Nike, Apple, Starbucks, Unilever and many other big names for their sustainability practices.

Once your client base becomes aware of your efforts to reduce your carbon footprint and become more eco-friendly, your reputation can only grow.

It’s been reported that as many as 81% of people in the UK prefer to buy products and services from a sustainable company. This means that, if you can prove your worth in terms of going green, you’ll likely attract more interest and this converts into greater profits.

Is Sustainability Right For My Business -How Reducing Your Business’s Carbon Footprint Can Benefit Your Business?

Reducing your carbon footprint and having a more positive impact on the environment is essential to the success of your business in many ways.

For starters, your operating costs will be reduced. As I discussed earlier, one of the biggest financial impacts on your business will be lower energy costs. With the rising price of energy, I’m sure that this is something all business owners can get on board with. Moreover, you’ll find that your business becomes less prone to energy price fluctuations.

On top of this, your business reputation will be improved. Again, this is something I have discussed in detail throughout this article but it’s so important to consider how people view your business. If you’re still on the fence about implementing sustainable practices then this could be something that helps you to make the decision.

Now, if the positive impacts on your business aren’t enough to convince you that sustainability is right for your company then why not consider the wider beneficial effects? We’re all aware how carbon emissions have negatively affected the planet and this is an issue that is only going to get worse if we don’t all take action.

By reducing the carbon footprint of your business, you are doing your part to address the serious issue of climate change. What’s more, if all businesses were to take steps to reduce their carbon footprint, we may even be able to start lessening the effects and turning the planet around for the good.

One final thing to consider is that not all businesses are realistically going to be able to reduce their carbon footprint enough to make that much of a difference. But that’s where carbon offsetting comes in.

While I won’t deny that reducing emissions is the best way to save the planet from the effects of climate change, carbon offsetting comes a close second. So, how can your business do this?

It’s quite simple; to balance the effects of the carbon output of your business, you need to invest in projects and incentives that help to remove greenhouse gases from the environment. This might mean investing in reforestation projects or carbon storage projects, for example. Of course, carbon offsetting is an alternative practice for businesses and shouldn’t be used in place of reducing emissions.

Final Thoughts - Sustainability And The Future Of Your Business

The future of business looks bright in many ways but without sustainability, many businesses are set to fall behind. As I mentioned earlier, most people are now looking to buy products and services from sustainable businesses so if you’re not practising this then there is a risk that your business will lose custom.

Governments all over the world are encouraging their citizens and businesses to live in a more sustainable manner, reducing their carbon footprint and mitigating the effects of climate change. There have never been more incentives and grants available for companies to help them get on the way to reducing their carbon footprint.

Not taking advantage of these incentives would be to the detriment of your business because, in the future, sustainability may well become law. Even now, the UK has more than 200 environmental laws in place and I’m under no illusion that this number will increase.

If you want your business to thrive and keep in line with regulations then going green is the only option.

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