We’re always hearing about nasty big corporations destroying the earth, and how we as consumers should be doing more to recycle and save the environment, however easily the largest employer in Australia is small business (90% of all Australian businesses have under 20 staff).

So, how can we, as small businesses, save the world? Well, we could start with;

  1. Changing the office incandescent light bulbs to more energy efficient ones.
  2. Recycling internal paper, by printing on both sides
  3. Use email, not couriers
  4. Encourage suppliers to invoice you electronically
  5. Buy fair trade products (such as the office coffee)
  6. Encouraging staff to catch public transport (trains and buses) to work if possible
  7. Minimising the use of air conditioners wherever possible, or at least turn the thermostat up a degree.
  8. Sponsor a child or family
  9. Leaving lights and equipment off when we can
  10. Ensuring all monitors are switched off when not in use
  11. Organising to have a recycling bin for paper waste to be picked up by council
  12. Buy organic fruit for staff snacks
  13. Use mulch in the office garden
  14. Use waterless urinals and dual flush toilets
  15. Read online news instead of print newspapers
  16. Printing stationery on recycled paper
  17. Use cold water instead of hot
  18. Take unwanted, re-usable items to your local charity shop
  19. Stick a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on your letterbox
  20. Buy rechargeable batteries for all electronic devices
  21. Provide a fridge so staff can bring their lunches instead of buying take away
  22. Use suppliers who are environment-aware and preferably small businesses themselves
  23. Organise to offset carbon emissions.
  24. Have a spare change box for your favourite charity on premises.
  25. Re-use packing boxes and materials
  26. Encourage clients and suppliers to be more aware of their environment (send them this list!)
  27. Promote a charity in your company newsletter
  28. Donate time to a local charity, doing street collecting or using your professional services
  29. Plant water-saving native plants in the office garden.
  30. Organise a staff ‘donate blood‘ day
  31. Encourage walks or physical exercise at lunch breaks
  32. Wash the company cars less frequently
  33. Reduce plane flights if possible.
  34. Buying recycled paper products
  35. Sponsor a local community event
  36. Shred your ‘printed on both sides’ paper to use as packaging material
  37. Insulate your office
  38. Pin up posters to raise environment awareness
  39. Embrace ethical investing for any investment strategies
  40. Organise a company gym membership or personal trainer
  41. Ask your cleaner to use chemical free cleaners around the office
  42. Purchase office equipment based on their energy ratings
  43. Have casual days and raise money for charity
  44. Change your office power over to green power or commercial solar power.
  45. Encourage the paper free office as much as possible
  46. Choose vehicles with great fuel ratings for your fleet, or better still hybrid or electric cars
  47. Look at ways of making products which contain less ‘bad stuff’ and more recyclables
  48. Have staff discussions about how to save utilities (power, gas, water) in their homes
  49. Offer rewards for environment saving ideas
  50. Adopt a zoo animal
  51. Re-use where you can – envelopes, folders and paperclips
  52. Use internal email not paper memos
  53. Ask clients and suppliers for their Social Responsibility Charters
  54. Recycle computer parts, by giving them to computer recycling groups or donating them to charities
  55. Instead of sending presents at Christmas to clients, make donations in their name instead
  56. Recycle your mobile phones
  57. Use recycled (second hand) office furniture
  58. Email a link to this list to everyone at the office

As you’ll have noticed, many of the points above means your business will save money, you’ll all get good karma and it could even help the environment – isn’t it worth doing every bit that you can to prove that small business can save the world?

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