We’ve yet to celebrate Valentine’s Day, but already 2017 is proving to be a tumultuous year for the environmental movement.
Whether it's watching climate change sceptic Trump start his presidency or discovering that London broke its annual air pollution levels within the first week of January, there’s been plenty for the eco-conscious amongst us to worry about.
Now the UK Government has released its annual national greenhouse gas emissions statistics, and it seems there might finally be some good news.
According to their report, the UK is on track to meet carbon budgets set by the Climate Change Act, with estimates for 2015 showing a decrease of 3.8 per cent in total greenhouse gas emissions from 2014.
The role of business
But what about the notorious pollution monster that is the business world?
Although there was a reduction of three per cent from 2014, thanks in part to the closure of steelworks, the business sector still accounted for 17 per cent of UK greenhouse gas emissions in 2015.
Whilst it’s important to acknowledge the small improvements, there’s a lot more work to be done.
Small and large industries need to play their part and commit more fully to green measures in order to keep the momentum going.
With this in mind, we’re running through a few key changes that’ll lower the environmental impact of your business.
Limit accidental damage
Businesses can have a severe effect on their surrounding environments, but often any damage caused is accidental. Leaks, spills, fires or explosions – even though unintentional, all can have a devastating impact.
Make sure you don’t find yourself responsible for such a disaster by managing risks and preparing for the worst.
Train staff in how to store and handle sensitive materials, implement a strictly controlled health and safety policy and invest in protective measures – there are plenty out there, like Durasteel’s blast protection systems that prevent toxic chemicals and smoke escaping after an explosion.
Take care of waste
You can swap to paperless ways of working and get rid of plastic cups at the water dispenser, but you’ll probably never be able to run your business entirely waste-free. That’s where recycling comes into play.
Depending on the kind of waste you’re producing (hazardous, chemical, medical, for example) you’ll have varying legal responsibilities regarding disposal.
To stay on the right side of the law, look at hiring a contractor to take care of waste in a lawful, efficient and environmentally friendly manner.
Save money and energy
Make your business energy-efficient and, as well scoring extra green points, you’ll also bring the cost of your electricity and heating bills down. Sounds like a win-win situation, right?
The only downside is that it will require a pretty big investment to get there.
Undergo an energy audit to identify key areas of improvement and the changes that’ll have the most impact. Whether it’s installing a new boiler and smart meter or redoing the building’s insulation, you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Is your business really doing everything it can to be as environmentally friendly as possible? Commit to making one or more of our suggested changes and you’ll be able to happily answer yes.