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5 sustainable business decisions to make without compromising

We can all do more to help the environment and the people around us. Even the greenest companies are constantly striving to soften their impact, and we’re no different. That’s why we’ve created a list of five green changes your business could make without having to settle for second best.

Small changes can make a huge difference. From your choice of teabags to your paper supplier, little adjustments can really add up. Read on to see how your business could boost its ethical credentials without having to compromise.

1. Change to a renewable energy provider

Powering your office building using renewables is a huge way to reduce your company’s carbon footprint. If you’re lucky enough to own your business premises, this process is as easy as contacting a new provider and getting them to switch your tariff for you.

There are plenty of providers in the UK offering 100% renewable electricity. And if you can find a local provider that reinvests its profits into the local economy, even better.

If you rent your office space it’s a little trickier to change to a green supplier, but still possible. Contact your building’s owner or admin staff and ask who provides their energy. If it’s not a 100% renewable provider, let them know that it’s important to you that they reconsider. Many of the green energy companies offer a price match and renowned customer service, so it’s not a case of compromising.

If your building owner is unwilling, speak to some of the other tenants and garner their support. If you can prove that there’s significant demand to go green, the owner will have little choice.

2. Make your tea greener

Now, I’m not talking about sacrificing English Breakfast for green tea. I would never suggest that. Rather, think about the way your tea and coffee is brewed. The average full kettle requires 164 KWh per boil, and going on two full boils per day, that equates to 60.3kg of carbon dioxide emissions per year. Only boiling what you need, and investing in a more efficient kettle, could cut that figure by over 50%.

It’s also important to look at where your tea bags and coffee granules come from. Both produce vast quantities of waste, and farming methods often have an adverse effect on the local environment.

Choosing tea and coffee from biodynamic farms will ensure all your hot drinks are a little greener.

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3. Step up your recycling efforts

It’s basic, but it’s effective. Sending less waste to landfill and reusing materials are both key principles of sustainability. Contact your local council to find out what your business could be recycling.

Recycling isn’t just limited to paper. If you print in-house, refill your ink cartridges instead of buying new ones each time they run out. You’ll reduce how much plastic you generate and save 35% on your ink costs each year, for very little extra effort.

As a marketing agency, a lot of our ideas get drafted out on paper. We make sure we buy recycled paper stock from a seller who specialises in it. Check online for tree-friendly suppliers, and don’t send paper to landfill when you’re done with it.

In larger offices, removing under-desk bins will encourage your staff to think about what they’re throwing away. In most cases, when people are given the option to recycle, they will. Having lots of general waste bins within arm’s reach makes it easy to forget about recycling.

4. Donate a portion of your profits to charity

Sustainability goes beyond thinking green. For the planet to thrive for generations to come, we need to think about everything from waste disposal to gender equality. An easy way to play your part is to donate a percentage of your profits to charity.

We’ve all got a cause close to our heart. At Conscious Creatives, we have a couple. With a love of the coast at the heart of our company, we’re thrilled to support Surfers Against Sewage with a monthly donation. We’re also proud partners with Volunteering in Cambodia, a charity dedicated to educating and empowering children in the area.

Think about what’s important to your company and see if you could make a difference to the cause.

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5. Offset your carbon emissions

Doing business generates carbon dioxide and a bunch of other harmful greenhouse gases. It’s a sad fact, but it’s basically unavoidable. An easy way to pay something back to the world is to offset your carbon emissions.

For a time-strapped business owner, this might be one of the quickest tasks on our list. Sign up to one of many carbon offsetting websites, input a few details about your business activities, and then see how much carbon you generate per year. You’ll then have the option to pay a fee, which goes into projects to help heal the planet.

It’s a simple thing, but it shows your customers, clients and staff that you’re serious about leaving a positive legacy.

What next?

Running a business, whether large or small, puts a lot of responsibility on the shoulders of senior leadership. Part of that responsibility is ensuring you’re doing all you can to make the world a better place. At Conscious Creatives, we have a mantra that you’ve probably heard of: Doing the right thing is always the right thing to do.

Keep that in mind and you’ll find yourself thinking differently about the day-to-day workings of your business. We’re learning new things every day about how to be greener and more beneficial to our community.

If you’ve gone through this list and are hungry for even more change, get in touch. We’ll help you put ethics and sustainability at the heart of your business. We’ve supported everyone from therapists, business leaders and yoga instructors to think more clearly about positive change.

About the Author Rhys Herbert

Rhys is Conscious Creatives' resident writer and photographer. His work has been published in various online publications, and he was recently chosen to update a bestselling book on SEO. He continues to seek new and interesting angles for his photography work, shooting his local streets on 35mm film.

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