The Association for Chartered Certified Accountants, a UK-based group, has developed 10 tips for making a workplace more sustainable and accountable for its carbon emissions.
“Getting the office that bit greener is all about changing people’s habits, so staff buy-in and involvement is the first step – and then the challenge is to keep the momentum going,” said Wyn Mears, Director of ACCA UK.
Here are the ACCA’s 10 tips.
1. Involve staff -– Employees need to understand a company’s environmental policy. For instance, recycling efforts can be undermined by staff not knowing what goes in which bin, while attempts to cut paper usage may be hampered by staff not using smaller fonts or not printing double-sided.
2. Get the business’s carbon footprint measured – For instance, www.carbonneutral.co.uk can help carry out an environmental audit to identify carbon hotspots in a business. In the U.S., some utilities help companies perform energy audits.
3. Trim paper usage – Cutting paper waste is vital. Each year, the amount of paper buried in the UK could fill more than 100,000 double decker buses.
4. Label recycling bins – Recycling bins need to be labeled clearly to prevent cross contamination of paper, metal and plastic.
5. A collective waste bin? – Instituting a single waste bin for a whole office floor is an option, but the reasoning behind this should be explained.
6. Control the air conditioning – Reducing the heating thermostat by one or two degrees can make a massive difference to the office environment and the bills. Be sure to check governmental office workplace regulations regarding temperatures.
7. Switch off computers – A single computer left on all day will produce 1,500 pounds of CO2 per year.
8. Turn off the lights – Switch off unnecessary lights to reduce the average bill by up to 19 percent, and switch to energy efficient bulbs. Motion-sensitive lights are worth considering.
9. Consider staff transport needs – Consider starting a car-sharing scheme. If your business is large enough, consider supplying electric cars or shuttle buses to local transport links. Promoting cycling is another option.
10. Reappraise business travel – A report by the World Wildlife Fund in 2008 showed that 85 percent of FTSE350 companies believe video conferencing and other technologies could reduce dependence in business travel. Also consider a carbon-offset program for business travel.