None of us can expect to live and work without doing some damage to the environment. We all consume resources every day. We can, however, take care to minimise our negative environmental impact, and maximise our positive impact.
Where do we start?
Start by drawing up an environmental policy, and putting it in place. There is a strong correlation between formal commitments to environmental practices and the actual implementation of those practices. For one example of what an environmental policy might look like, see page 15 of this guide from Business South Australia.
There are a great many areas you can focus on to reduce your environmental impact. You will uncover more with research, but they include:
- purchasing renewable energy
- conducting a carbon emissions audit of your workplace
- reducing travel where possible and purchasing carbon offsets when it is essential
- offering incentives to staff who travel to work by bicycle or public transport or on foot
- reducing consumption and landfill by using recycling bins, compost bins and worm farms
- ensuring printers are set to double-sided printing by default
- using recycled paper
- purchasing other "green" office products (but be careful that they are in fact effective, and not "greenwash" marketing)
- using an online (rather than paper-based) grants management system
- publishing all advertising, application, and reporting materials online (and encouraging people to view them online rather than printing them)
- donating unused materials
- accepting electronic signatures
- ensuring all electronic equipment is switched of at the wall when not in use
- eliminating paper files altogether