Top tips for a green business
International standards experts IMSM regularly visit businesses and organizations to help them achieve ISO14001, the environmental management system. While every business is different, here are some areas to consider when considering “going green”.
- Start with your purchasing department. By looking at your regular purchases, whether stationery and computer supplies, packaging, or parts, you can buy your materials from sustainable sources, and look out for businesses which have already achieved ISO 14001.
- Take a look at your utility bills. These can form a major part of the business’s expenditure, and can be reduced by negotiation, best practice within your organization so that equipment and lighting are switched off when not in use, and even getting your dripping taps fixed.
- Consider your stock levels- are you spending money warehousing, heating, and managing excess stock? It all adds up.
- Now take an objective look at your processes. When did you last review them to see if there was wasted effort which could be eliminated? ISO 9001, the international quality management system standard, can help you with this. As businesses grow, the systems can sometimes become outdated, and people do not know why they’re doing it, just “we’ve always done it this way”. Reviewing your systems inevitably leads to increased efficiency and reduces waste of effort.
- Involve your team. By developing a group of “green champions” you can tap into the skills and knowledge of the people who are doing the job, and who could suggest greener ways of working.
- Don’t forget computers and phone chargers – when they are plugged in, they are using energy, and you are paying for it. There are many web sites which will tell you how to calculate these costs, so the sooner you start, the sooner you will save!
- Lighting –the new compact fluorescent lights are much more energy efficient than regular bulbs, and they last longer. And don’t forget the best lighting of all – natural daylight.
- Is your waste worth money? Many of IMSM’s customers find that their waste is of value to another business, and instead of paying to dispose of it, they are reaping a financial reward.
- Reduce storage costs by having your documents held electronically, with backup offsite. Instead of buying and filling an additional filing cabinet, you could accommodate additional productive staff.
- Consider becoming ISO14001 certified, and dealing with ISO14001 certified businesses. This tells your customers and suppliers that you have an environmental management system in place. For many supply chains, it is now a requirement. Not only is it good for the environment, it’s good for your business too.