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;
- Changing the office incandescent light bulbs to more energy efficient ones.
- Recycling internal paper, by printing on both sides
- Use email, not couriers
- Encourage suppliers to invoice you electronically
- Buy fair trade products (such as the office coffee)
- Encouraging staff to catch public transport (trains and buses) to work if possible
- Minimising the use of air conditioners wherever possible, or at least turn the thermostat up a degree.
- Sponsor a child or family
- Leaving lights and equipment off when we can
- Ensuring all monitors are switched off when not in use
- Organising to have a recycling bin for paper waste to be picked up by council
- Buy organic fruit for staff snacks
- Use mulch in the office garden
- Use waterless urinals and dual flush toilets
- Read online news instead of print newspapers
- Printing stationery on recycled paper
- Use cold water instead of hot
- Take unwanted, re-usable items to your local charity shop
- Stick a ‘No Junk Mail’ sign on your letterbox
- Buy rechargeable batteries for all electronic devices
- Provide a fridge so staff can bring their lunches instead of buying take away
- Use suppliers who are environment-aware and preferably small businesses themselves
- Organise to offset carbon emissions.
- Have a spare change box for your favourite charity on premises.
- Re-use packing boxes and materials
- Encourage clients and suppliers to be more aware of their environment (send them this list!)
- Promote a charity in your company newsletter
- Donate time to a local charity, doing street collecting or using your professional services
- Plant water-saving native plants in the office garden.
- Organise a staff ‘donate blood‘ day
- Encourage walks or physical exercise at lunch breaks
- Wash the company cars less frequently
- Reduce plane flights if possible.
- Buying recycled paper products
- Sponsor a local community event
- Shred your ‘printed on both sides’ paper to use as packaging material
- Insulate your office
- Pin up posters to raise environment awareness
- Embrace ethical investing for any investment strategies
- Organise a company gym membership or personal trainer
- Ask your cleaner to use chemical free cleaners around the office
- Purchase office equipment based on their energy ratings
- Have casual days and raise money for charity
- Change your office power over to green power or commercial solar power.
- Encourage the paper free office as much as possible
- Choose vehicles with great fuel ratings for your fleet, or better still hybrid or electric cars
- Look at ways of making products which contain less ‘bad stuff’ and more recyclables
- Have staff discussions about how to save utilities (power, gas, water) in their homes
- Offer rewards for environment saving ideas
- Adopt a zoo animal
- Re-use where you can – envelopes, folders and paperclips
- Use internal email not paper memos
- Ask clients and suppliers for their Social Responsibility Charters
- Recycle computer parts, by giving them to computer recycling groups or donating them to charities
- Instead of sending presents at Christmas to clients, make donations in their name instead
- Recycle your mobile phones
- Use recycled (second hand) office furniture
- 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?
14 March 2007 at 10:25 am
2. I have a recycled paper basket – but it only fills, never empties
4. Don’t do – should
5. Don’t do – should
6. Grh, I hate busses – plus I’m not sure the smoke spewing busses we have are really that great for the environment
7. Windows and breeze are good – it worked for our ancestors!
8. Should look into it
9. Absolutely – plus they generate unwanted heat
11. Don’t use much paper – see #2
12. Fruit – he he
16. I received a letter in a recycled envelope yesterday – think it was 600 gsm paper, took me an hour to open it.
17. Our hot water is useless, I don’t bother.
19. Won’t stick! Sandstone.
… and that’s all I have time for right now!
14 March 2007 at 8:41 pm
Good list Miles, we need to do something to save this world of ours. Maybe it’s up to us small business owners?
20 March 2007 at 8:52 am
This is a great list Miles! I manage the blog at youngentrepreneur.com and we’ve focused today on social entrepreneurship – I posted a new entry that highlighted your list: How Young Entrepreneurs Can Save The World.
Keep up the great work!
6 July 2007 at 1:52 pm
These contingencies are all the things that can go wrong in a start-up venture, all the unfavorable events that can negatively affect results.