Many SMEs in the country are not doing enough to increase their energy efficiency because of the misconception that green policies can hurt their bottom line. In reality, there are measures that can be taken to help the environment whilst saving businesses money at the same time.
The government has been encouraging businesses of all sizes to start adopting sustainable policies for quite a few years now. The main reason behind this push is the alarming level of carbon emissions that are now in the Earth’s atmosphere. The annual weight of CO2 gases from the UK alone is the equivalent of 37 million London buses, or 37 thousand Shards. In order to create a safer and cleaner ecosystem, it’s massively important for individuals and businesses to reduce energy consumption. Here’s how to make your SME green without hurting profit margins.
Utility bills can account for a hefty chunk of expenditure each month, depending on the size and the nature of your business. By implementing green strategies, you’ll be able to cut back on these bills considerably.
For example, if you replace all of your current light bulbs with LED lights, they will not only last longer but will also consume a fraction of the energy in comparison. Similarly, laptops are more energy-efficient than desktops and they release less heat. They're also cheaper than desktops, so consider switching when it's time to update company equipment. No matter what appliances you're using, ensure that they’re all switched off at the mains when not in use, as electronics can still consume energy when they’re idle.
If it's feasible for your business, consider asking employees to work remotely from time to time, as this will put less strain on electronics and equipment being used.
A fantastic alternative to hard drives and USB devices are digital storage or cloud sharing platforms such as Google Drive or iCloud. Using these services is usually free and is far more secure than storing your files on paper. If you go paperless in the workplace, you won't have to worry about buying thousands of sheets of paper each month, and you’ll create a seamless experience for your employees, who’ll be able to access documents from any given device. You can also negate the cost of postage and packaging when liaising with customers by devising email marketing strategies instead.
As the government takes a more active approach in the fight against global warming, your SME could also benefit from tax break incentives. If your business can prove it uses energy sparingly and has taken green initiatives on board, then you could very well end up paying less tax. Businesses that use lots of electricity, gas and other fossil fuels are required to pay the Climate Change Levy each year, but if you’re using sustainable practices in your office space, then you may not have to pay this at all. Another way the government incentivizes smaller or medium sized businesses is by offering tax reliefs when energy-efficient technology or services are purchased.
Carpooling & Public Transport
Fossil fuel vehicles are one of the leading causes of carbon dioxide in the world. To help tackle the problem, you can encourage your employees to take public transport or carpool to business meetings or trips. This can substantially lower your company’s carbon footprint as well as its monthly outgoings on travel expenditure.
Because we are now living in the information age, more people than ever before are aware of the dangers that our planet faces. This means that consumers are more willing to give their money to businesses that have ethical policies in place, as opposed to those that are wasteful and harmful to the environment. Going green could therefore also make you more attractive to future employees, as a recent study showed up to 80% of people prefer to work with employers who show a commitment to sustainability in their company policies and missions statement.
If you make it clear on your company’s website that you remain committed to reducing carbon emissions, you will not only benefit from more customers, but you’re also likely to attract other investors or collaborators who share your ethos.
Reducing the amount of waste your company makes is a powerful way to lower the level of harmful gases that ends up in landfills. Small businesses spend hundreds of pounds a year on waste disposal. By recycling or reusing certain items, your SME could easily lower its waste output, and save money in the process. Old electronics and appliances are also often disposed of in landfills, when they could be picked up by e-waste companies or sent back to the original manufacturers at a profit.
Get an Energy Audit
If you're not sure where to start, or feel as though you want to do even more to become an eco-friendly business, there are several energy audit companies that can visit your workplace and analyse your company’s carbon footprint. They’ll be able to recommend strategies that are suited to your sector, without harming your bottom line. These companies can provide guidance in terms of what equipment and technology you should invest in, and can also help you to increase the lifespan of existing devices.
If every business in the country made a conscious effort to lower their carbon emissions, there would be a collective impact on reversing the effects of global warming. With a bit of thought and effort, SMEs can definitely make a change for the better, and can become more profitable as a result.