Better for business: 4 reasons why sustainability makes good business sense

- October 27, 2020 4 MIN READ

Businesses all over Australia are becoming more aware of the importance of operating sustainably and the opportunities this brings. Get the rundown on why sustainability should be part of your business case and how you can have a more positive impact on the planet.

While most of us make an effort towards personal sustainability, recycling our rubbish and avoiding plastic waste wherever we can, businesses can adopt sustainable practices too. It can be tempting to think that going green will add a cost to your bottom line. Still, it’s far more likely that making changes to become a more sustainable business will not only save the planet but your hip pocket as well.

With electricity and water prices increasing over the past few years, reducing energy, water and waste consumption makes sense. However, reducing consumption isn’t the only answer; recent research suggests businesses that embrace more sustainable practices can reduce their running costs by 10 per cent.

In 2015 leading office and workplace supplier Officeworks launched an ambitious plan to move towards ‘zero waste to landfill’ over the next five years. Then in 2017 Officeworks adopted the Positive Difference Plan, committing to doing business in an ethical and responsible manner with a focus on protecting the environment. The brand has worked hard at embedding this as a culture across its 8000 team members and 167 stores.

“We know from our own experience, that operating sustainably and responsibly isn’t just better for people and the planet, but also better for business,” said Ryan Swenson, head of sustainable development at Officeworks.

“The benefits from sustainability initiatives can often deliver multiple outcomes that include reducing environmental impact, along with reducing expenses. An example is by reducing the waste we generate in the first instance and focusing on recycling as much as possible. Or by implementing energy efficiency initiatives, like LED lighting, that reduce carbon emissions and electricity expenses. as ”.

Suppose you’re ready to make the change in your business. In that case, a few simple adjustments could begin your path to a more sustainable business.

Cut back on water waste

Water is one of our most precious resources, so it makes sense to conserve it where we can – especially in a drought-prone country such as Australia. Whether you use a little water in your business or a lot, a few simple steps will save water and in turn make financial savings for your business. Start by adding flow restrictors to your taps and install a dual flush system to your toilets to encourage water saving. Installing rainwater tanks for flushing toilets and gardening can also save you thousands of dollars and prepare your business for increasing water restrictions.

Shave your energy use and reduce your power bills

Where are you spending the most energy? Do you run energy-hungry equipment, are you leaving lights and appliances on when your store is closed? Then you’re drawing power and creating an unnecessary expense. Do an energy audit and identify your energy-hungry equipment. What’s their energy rating? Could you upgrade to a different model for better efficiency? Even something as simple as switching off lights, air conditioning and fans at the end of the day can save you money. Energy-efficient light globes not only use less than one-third of the electricity of standard bulbs but also last about ten times longer.

War on waste

Instead of dumping your rubbish straight into the bin, begin a sorting program so that you can stream your waste. Recycling your waste can save you $1000s every year. Consider recycling your paper for notes, and only print what you need. Don’t forget your food waste. Many local councils now offer food waste programs, taking your food scraps and using them for worm farms and compost projects. Start by recycling wherever you can. Don’t be afraid to get your suppliers involved – they may offer discounts – for example if you were to recycle cartons for re-use. But also consider how you can reduce or avoid waste in the first instance, making better use of resources and avoiding unnecessary expenses.

Recycle your e-waste

Perhaps one of the most critical areas of recycling to embrace is e-waste. When e-waste such as batteries, ink cartridges and mobile phones are disposed of improperly, they go to landfill. Over time they start to break down and leach toxic chemicals like lead, mercury and arsenic into the environment. These pollutants contaminate the soil, air and even the water table, leaving behind a toxic soup for the next generation.

Officeworks’ Bring it Back program helps customers with their e-waste recycling. Since launching the program Officeworks has diverted 800 tonnes of e-waste, plastics and consumables annually from landfill. Customers can recycle their old computers and laptops, monitors, keyboards, printers, chargers and more. Officeworks also offers mobile phone recycling and recycles batteries, pens and markers.

Assisting consumers to easily recycle their e-waste is just one more component in Officeworks’ Positive Difference Plan.  Swenson says the Bring It Back program is an essential part of Officeworks’ commitment to contribute to a more circular economy.

“We know that many of our customers want to take sustainable actions, including disposing responsibly of unwanted items. Our Bring it Back program provides a free, easy and secure way to ensure value resources can be recycled and used again’

As you can see there are a number of benefits to your business in adopting more sustainable practices, not least of which is the benefit to the planet.

Find out more about Officeworks Bring It Back program and shop sustainable products for a greener business here.– this shop sustainability link will be disabled shortly.

Find out more about Officeworks Bring It Back program and shop sustainable products for a greener business here.– this shop sustainability link will be disabled shortly.

This article was first published on Small Business First. You can see the original content here.

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