Have a plan
Without an agreed and published strategy, any attempt at making your business sustainable is likely to hit the rocks sooner rather than later. A comprehensive sustainability strategy should encompass all aspects of an organisation’s operations, from energy through procurement and recycling to transport and water use.
Get everyone on board
A sustainability strategy should be signed off by senior management, however it is also important to have buy-in from staff at every level in the organisation. All employees should have the chance to contribute to ideas and be given some responsibility for helping to achieve targets. We can support you to create an engagement plan specific to your objectives.
Set targets and measure your progress
Never has the saying “you can’t manage what you can’t measure” been more true than in the field of sustainability. Make sure you know where you currently are with regard to resource use – whether energy, carbon emissions or recycling. Ensure that you set ambitious time-bound targets for improvement, and make sure you regularly monitor progress.
Swap energy tariffs
Too many businesses fail to shop around for the cheapest energy deals, and often end up paying way too much for their gas and electricity. Money saved from switching to a more competitive deal can be ring-fenced to invest in other measures that will also cut energy spend – e.g. energy efficiency or renewable energy – creating a virtuous circle of improvement.
Every business has the opportunity to save energy, whether it be simply by turning lights and appliances off when they are not needed, or upgrading to more efficient equipment. A simple walk-round audit can pick out the obvious culprits; alternatively, why not ask our experts to come and carry out a more detailed survey.
Sustainability should be a prerequisite for a procurement policy – in the broadest sense this can encompass issues from Fair Trade and ethical work practices through to choosing products with recycled content or minimised packaging.
The minimisation of waste should be a high priority for any business, as an extension of a sustainable procurement policy. Unavoidable “waste” should be dealt with by reusing or giving away where possible (e.g. reconditioning old IT kit), and recycling or otherwise responsibly disposing of whatever cannot be repurposed.
The impact of staff business travel as well as commuting can account for the lion’s share of many organisations’ carbon footprint. Consideration should also be given to the impact of transporting manufactured goods both too and from premises – for example, can savings be made through more efficient scheduling of deliveries?
Although not often given much thought, water consumption is of growing concern in Winchester District due to pressure of population growth around the Itchen Valley. Simple water efficiency measures such as waterless urinals and sensor taps can reduce water consumption considerably and can reap significant savings over the longer run.
Tell the world
Let everyone know how well you are doing – promoting your achievements can make great advertising, and can encourage other local businesses to follow down the path to sustainability.