Author – Ramitha Ramesh
Global warming. Net Carbon Neutrality. Climate change. Convention after convention is held. Multilateral meetings are conducted.
And the next day? It is business as usual. Literally and figuratively!
Corporate social responsibility is one thing. What about corporate environmental responsibility (CER)?
Well, it exists for real, and it exists for a reason. After all, businesses are the very source of half the ecological problems mankind is facing currently.
If you work for a company that values sustainability, you’re lucky! Not only does it show that your employer cares about the planet, but it can also boost employee morale by simultaneously attracting eco-conscious clients.
So many companies claim to care about the environment in their CSR, but let’s be real, not many are taking meaningful action. There seems to be a clear lack of follow-through.
In this blog post, we talk about the eco-friendly practices that businesses ought to adopt to find balance. Not many may know but going green can save you money in the long run.
Sustainability after all means long-term profitability for businesses that plan to stay.
- Simple – Be Eco-Friendly
Many individuals are unaware that the use of traditional cleaning products can release hazardous chemicals into the environment. In addition, these products can contribute to indoor pollution, affecting the health of employees and others in the area. Hence it’s crucial to switch to “eco-friendly” cleaning products for your business. For example, Karbon, a fintech service company, advocates eco-friendly practices on a day-to-day basis. A conscious effort has been put to make the entire cutlery unit recyclable with paper cups and paper plates. Its no-plastic policy has set an eco-friendly tone in all its offices.
- Eco-Commute to Work
Let’s re-emphasize. The transportation sector is the biggest contributor to pollution with all things unsustainable. As per the India Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Program, the transportation sector is among contributes about 18.6% to the country’s total GHG emissions. The majority of emissions within the transportation sector (around 87%) are attributed to road transport, including cars, and two-wheelers.
The rising number of registered vehicles, from 55 million in 2001 to 230 million in 2018, has significantly increased GHG emissions from the transportation sector, according to the Centre for Science and Environment. To counter this, firms can do the following:-
- Incentivise employees who use public transport
- Encourage carpooling for employees living close to each other
- Arrange shuttle services for mass transit
- Prevent Single-use Plastics
Every year, humans produce over 300 million tons of plastic. To reduce waste, businesses can offer alternatives to single-use products, and promote reusing of material. A simple way is to reduce the utilization of disposable water glasses and coffee mugs and insrease the usage of reusable water bottles and mugs.
Statistics reveal that on average, an average office employee consumes around 156 plastic water bottles and throws away 500 coffee cups per year. Using reusable water bottles and mugs can significantly reduce the consumption of natural resources, minimize the carbon footprint of a business, and decrease the amount of waste that ends up in landfills, oceans, and the environment.
RoadRunner, for example, was able to keep 10,000 cups out of landfills and save $1,000 per year by making these changes in the year 2022. Pro tip: Motivate your staff by offering incentives, such as recognizing and rewarding those who bring a waste-free lunch for a week.
- “Green” the Workspace
Inadequate ventilation within your workplace can expose your employees to the risk of developing sick building syndrome. Symptoms of this condition include respiratory problems and headaches.
To reduce these symptoms, one solution is to incorporate indoor plants such as Aglaonema or Dracaena into your environment. These plants are especially effective at removing formaldehyde and benzene, which are commonly found in various cleaning products. In addition to serving as a visual reminder of the importance of sustainable living, plants have the added benefits of absorbing toxins and reducing indoor air pollution. They can also boost productivity and save energy.
Besides their air-purifying benefits, it is also beneficial for individuals with sinus problems as it adds humidity to the air.
As per research conducted by Exeter University, the presence of indoor plants in the workplace can enhance employee productivity by 15%. Moreover, a single large tree’s transpiration can offer a cooling impact that equals the output of 10 air conditioners running for 20 hours daily.
- Slash Building Energy Footprint
According to NRDC.org, buildings can account for up to 75% of a city’s carbon pollution. Unfortunately, much of the energy used in buildings is wasted due to outdated technology and drafty windows.
- Introduce the Recycling Program
HR managers listen up – A recycling program needs to be given priority. Period.
Numerous employees, primarily those belonging to the millennial generation, anticipate that their employers will assist them in recycling. In a recent study, it was discovered that 75% of millennials are ready to accept a salary reduction to work for an organization that upholds social responsibility. This is an accepted norm even in startups.
Pro tip: Discuss with internal stakeholders which materials your business generates most often, such as paper, plastic, compost, or e-waste. Focus on waste reduction of those products while encouraging employees to do the same.
- Educate Your Employees
Engineers, accountants, business developers etc., All come from the most well-informed and educated backgrounds. However, the irony is the most hypocritical behavior can be observed mainly among such corporate employees. Hence it is crucial to reeducate employees in the real sense.
Businesses that have successful sustainability initiatives prioritize employee education and involvement in the process. This is crucial for several reasons. Educating employees to increase their commitment to sustainability also boosts their morale and helps everyone recognize their role in a sustainable workplace. Some options include integrating sustainability language into company communications, hosting webinars, and investing in CER training.
- Implement Corporate Environmental Responsibility (CER)
Corporate Environmental Responsibility is quite similar to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), which comprises voluntary actions that businesses undertake to regulate their environmental footprint. While some argue that every business has a level of CER, larger companies have more potential to do environmental damage.
Many companies adopt initiatives strategically, as “green” businesses tend to receive a more favourable public image. Apart from the positive public perception, CER can also help reduce financial penalties or attract grants and funding for environmental initiatives.
Green is the Best Way Forward
As corporations seek to establish a more sustainable business model, they often discover the long-term benefits of eco-friendly options. Small changes can make a big difference when it comes to CER.
Whether it’s recycling more, using energy-efficient lighting, or encouraging telecommuting- every bit counts. Promoting the best practices starts with you.
So why not suggest some green initiatives to your boss and see where it takes you?
Author Bio — Ramitha Ramesh is the editor at Karbon Business, renowned for her expertise in SEO content marketing strategy for a diverse clientele across the US, UK, and India.