All businesses impact on the environment through the raw materials they purchase, the energy and water they consume and the waste they produce. Adopting simple no and low cost environmental best practice can secure existing and new contracts, bring about cost savings, help you comply with legislation and ensure your business is operating efficiently.
Engage your workforce
Securing commitment and involving staff are important to changing behaviours and implementing successful environmental improvements. To secure commitment, establish a strong case for change through identifying the key issues, the pressures to improve, the potential benefits to reduce costs and risks, and the key barriers that may need to be overcome. You can then begin to raise awareness and seek interest with other employees through establishing a 'green team' to take on the challenge successfully.
Review the current situation
An environmental review helps businesses to identify the current impact of their products, services and processes on the environment and highlight where improvements can be made. To develop an environmental review a business will need to walk round their site, talk to employees and identify:
- The volumes and costs of raw materials, energy and water purchased and consumed, and the amounts of wastes created and disposed of in delivering your products to customers
- Existing management practices, processes and structures to manage raw materials, energy, water and waste issues
- Key legislation requirements
- Where improvements can be made to reduce consumption levels and comply with legislation
Draft an Environmental Policy
A successful environmental policy should be no longer than a side of A4. It should provide an overview of your organisation, your key activities and how these impact on the environment. It should describe your commitment to complying with legislation, preventing pollution, continual improvement, and addressing your key environmental issues. An environmental policy is a useful tool to communicate your commitment to improving environmental issues to your employees and customers.
Monitor and measure
"If you don't measure it, you can't manage it". On going monitoring and measuring of raw materials, energy, water and waste costs and quantities is essential to good environmental practice. To begin this process, businesses will need to collect or estimate data relating to the costs and quantities of raw materials, energy, waste and water. Collect the information on a regular basis and record it in a simple spreadsheet. The initial benchmark data can be used to prioritise early actions that result in the most cost savings. Data over time can begin to identify trends and where problem periods might occur.
Be resource efficient
Business can save money and resources through implementing low and no cost solutions environmental solutions such as:
- Ensuring all process equipment, computers and lights are turned off when not in use
- Reducing waste through eliminating, reducing, reusing and recycling.
- Ensuring your heating is turned off when people are not in the building and thermostats are set to 19 0 c - 20 0 c
For more information visit the links section of the Airedale Partnership website or follow the links below
Envirowise - provides free, independent advice to UK businesses to enable companies to increase profitability and reduce environmental impact.
Carbon Trust - offer products and services to help your business reduce its carbon emissions and accelerate the move to a low carbon economy.
Groundwork - a not-for-profit organisation providing practical environmental advice, training and on site support for environmental reviews, environmental training and environmental management systems
Resource Efficiency Yorkshire - for information on environmental support available in the region and find recyclers near you