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Greening your business operations

Published: 
Sunday, August 31, 2014

Last week we delved into the concept of greening your business operations and explained that it is one that strives to have a positive impact on the environment and community. We also discussed the benefits to moving towards adopting green or sustainable practices within your operations. Today we take a look at just how you can adopt a more environmentally responsible stance through the daily operations of your business.

Do it with a green team
As environmental awareness and impact to our environment become more evident, many employees feel that their employers could do even more to promote environmentally-friendly practices. Growing numbers of businesses worldwide are now developing “green teams” to capture the collective passion and expertise of a group of employees. In some cases having a sustainability officer is now the norm—86 per cent of large companies have at least one person focused full time on sustainability. With upper management’s support, a diverse green team can build sustainability initiatives based on individual, group and company capabilities and strengths. Green team initiatives can start with a small group of people focusing on cost-effective ways to improve internal operations, to bigger, more formalised programmes. Here are a few options your organisation could adopt in meeting the sustainability challenge.

Reduce, reuse, recycle
Although the concept is clichéd, the essence of this renowned tri-word phrase is effectively relevant in today’s world. Consider evaluating ways in which your organisation could reduce the material goods and/or services that come into your business or organisation, and determine if you can use less. 

Allow telecommuting
Telecommuting has come a long way, especially in the age of Skype, iChat, Viber and others. Set up a virtual private network for your staff and enjoy the enhanced productivity, reduced commute times and pollution and gain extra employee satisfaction. Teleconferencing and video conferencing between offices is also quite effective.

Sustainable supplies
Have you ever wondered where your office supplies come from? What body of water was polluted to make that Post-It Note, pen or paper? Here’s your opportunity to conduct an inventory of where your office supplies come from and support companies that select only ethical, more sustainable solutions. For instance, consider cleaning companies that use green cleaning products; purchase environmentally–friendly paper stock and ink; and consider energy star appliances for your workspace. 

Just say no to incandescent light bulbs
Replace incandescent light bulbs with compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs). According to the Energy Star programme, the average rated life of a CFL is between eight and 15 times that of an incandescent; it will mean less time on a ladder, smaller electricity bills, and less cooling load, since the incandescent emits a lot of heat.

Save water, power
Consider adopting conservation policies within your organisation geared towards informing and educating staff about the benefits of water and electricity conservation habits. Monitor utility bills and implement strategies such as: regular maintenance on all pipes, water fixtures and electrical units, ensure electrical appliances are optimally operational, do not open windows in an air conditioned environment, lock off taps when not in use and turn off electricity in the building when the work day is done. These habits reduce waste and costs.  

Good green governance
A green approach to people practices is at the core of good green governance. Adopting these and other sustainable practices will contribute towards valuing people for their contributions in the work place. Many companies consider green practices to be vital to remaining competitive and many affirm that these practices are contributing to profits. The sustainable approach to business operations is therefore mainly a win-win situation for the organisation, its employees and our environment. Through engaging and involving communities and villages into its environmentally-related Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiatives, they can not only practice green living but encourage others to adopt the same principles. Organisations, businesses and enterprises possess the power, influence and the right mix of ingredients to effectively implement sustainable best practices into their operations while becoming business role models for others. This is the inspirational type of corporate leadership that our nation requires to progress. Interlocking the corporate world with the concept of conserving our environment is the key to evolving corporate success into success of the human race.