Many organisations around the world are adopting green initiatives to help make an impact on our environment. Green initiatives could be adopted internally to reduce the carbon footprint of the organisation as a whole or can be adopted externally by helping the community achieve a greener environment. With global warming taking a key place on the world stage, consumers are warming up to organisations that adopt significant green initiatives.
If one person can adopt a green initiative and make a positive difference on the environment, imagine the difference a whole organisation can make. The things we do in our everyday lives have a huge impact on our environment. Many of the things we do could be adding to the problem of global warming.
The idea of this article is to offer some tips which can help you reduce your office carbon footprint and help the environment by not adding to the global warming issue. This is not meant to be an exhaustive list; it will provide food for thought of what initiatives you could promote in your organisation to make it more environment-friendly.
Think before you print
Ask yourself if you need to print the page before you print it. Ask yourself every time you print something. By reducing the amount of paper you use for printing, you are not only saving money, but you are having a positive effect on the environment, because the less paper we use, the less trees need to be cut down and the more oxygen we have.
We often print multiple copies of the same document for review by attendees in a meeting or for recipients of reports. Can your office explore the option of a secure shared drive or use of SharePoint to distribute reports? If you do need to print documents for a meeting, see if you can print 2 pages double-sided on one sheet. That way you save 3 sheets of paper for every sheet printed.
Recycle electronic equipment
Electronic goods are becoming increasingly short lived; not recycling the equipment is becoming a growing problem. There are research and commercial organisations that buy and sell computer systems, either as complete systems, or for refurbishment, or as spares for maintenance purposes. Many of the retailers accept electronics and computer equipment as a trade-in when you buy new equipment. Next time you buy a new replacement equipment, select a vendor that will accept your old equipment for reuse or recycle; or check our recycling sites within your council where you can drop the old equipment off.
Send and receive documents electronically
Discuss with your Vendors, Customers and other external stakeholders whether they can send and receive documents electronically. Organisations have to print thousands of documents (some running into hundreds of pages) every day and post them to their Vendors and Customers and other stakeholders. This waste of paper, envelope, and transportation to deliver will be greatly reduced if documents can be transmitted electronically.
Redesign your business processes and adopt newer technologies to enable these initiatives.
Dispose Printer cartridges responsibility
Printer cartridges are difficult to destroy. Hence, it is imperative we dispose cartridges carefully. More often than not, when you open the box of a new cartridge, there is a bag supplied for you to recycle the old one. All you need to do is put the empty cartridge in the bag and post it off for recycling.
Did you water the plants?
Office equipment, computers consume a lot of energy and generate a lot of heat. Having plants in the office will increase the humidity in the air and add to the décor of the office.
Turn off your computer before you leave
Make sure your computer is switched off, the lights are switched off, and there are no windows open when you leave office, especially if you are the last one leaving work. Leaving office equipment on standby all burn up unnecessary energy.
All computers come with a power saving device. Change your office equipment to power down systems. Change your light bulbs to energy saving light bulbs.
Publish a policy on staff telecommuting so as not to disrupt business. This will allow employees to telecommute and help reduce gasoline consumption and help environment.
- Tools like web-cams, internet chat/instant messaging, and online project management applications, can make telecommuting a more effective solution.
- Does your ERP system allow remote access to employees without compromising the security of the system?
Training and meetings
Training and meeting could environmentally expensive – think of all the material printed before and after the training and meeting. Many employees have to travel distances to attend the training and meeting. Explore the option to conduct online training. Can you install a teleconferencing system that will help offsite employees attend a meeting or training without commuting? This will also save on travel cost and lost hours in traveling to and from office site and meeting / training site.
Buy recycled products
There is now a wide range of products that we can buy that have been recycled. Buying recycled office stationary and equipment helps reduce the amount of rubbish we need to throw away, which means less rubbish ends up in landfills.
Get your employees involved
Get your employees involved in green initiatives in and around office. In addition to giving them a sense of ownership and empowerment, it will increase their pride in the company they work for. Make sure you set up automated systems to allow tracking of suggestions, participation in cost-saving programs, etc. Many human resources packages can track an employee’s input, which can then be used in evaluations or as a basis of additional monetary compensation or non-monetary perks.
Several organisations have greening as a key agenda on their annual performance indicators. Some report the progress of their greening initiative similar to how they report their financial statements. An example of such a report is SAP’ Sustainability Report. Section EN specifically relates to Environmental greening initiatives targeted by SAP and reports on the performance of these initiatives against targets.