With the implementation of carbon tax looming in South Africa, it has become more important than ever for businesses to monitor and ultimately reduce their carbon footprint. Apart from cost-saving benefits, adopting a greener, eco-friendlier attitude will ensure that businesses are environmentally and socially responsible – a major drawcard when attracting new clientele.
There is a common misconception that to reduce your carbon footprint requires expensive technology, however this is not the case. Minor adjustments and staff behavioral changes can make a significant difference. If you operate a small business and it’s your aim to make it more environmentally friendly and sustainable, take note of the following small changes you can make to reduce your carbon footprint.
Energy and Water Saving Measures
- Switch to LED lighting. Halogen bulbs are so last season – they use approximately 15 times more electricity than LED bulbs!
- Enable standby/sleep mode on your printing and copying devices. They will drain less energy when not in use, reducing energy consumption.
- Unplug appliances when not in use. This includes phone chargers, kitchen appliances and computers. These items use a significant amount of electricity when plugged in.
- Switch off all lights, ceiling fans and air conditioners if no one is in the room.
- Always check water pipes and taps for leaks. If any are detected, have them repaired as soon as possible.
- As with all resources, use only what you need!
Reducing Carbon Emissions
- Think alternative transport – carpool with colleagues that live in the same area as you, take the bus, cycle or even walk to work if possible.
- Rethink attending those out-of-town meetings. With digital technology such as Skype and Google Hangouts, taking a flight to attend a meeting may not be necessary after all.
- If your business operations require a fleet of company vehicles, carefully plan all routes to ensure that the least amount of time is spent on the road, especially in bumper to bumper traffic.
- Who needs paper? There is a global movement towards digital clouds and platforms to store documents. Reducing the amount of paper printed in your office will help reduce paper waste – why not make it a goal to go completely paper-free?
- Recycle, recycle, recycle. Set up recycling bins or stations in your office for recyclables such as paper, plastic, glass and tin. The less waste your business sends to landfill, the better for your carbon footprint and the environment.
Small changes can make a big difference. Smaller businesses need to recognize that the changes required to become environmentally responsible can be low in cost, but with a high impact on the bottom line.
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