Winter is coming, and this time the White Walkers aren’t to blame. We are!
Yes, climate change is an ever-looming threat to society and, when discussing all things ‘oh no, we’ve ruined the earth’, it’s easy to fall into a pit of existential dread.
But there’s no time for wallowing because time is running out and change shouldn’t be limited to the home. It’s down to big business (and small business) to pull their weight too.
At Vertical Advantage, we know that all too well. We do work in the fast-moving consumer goods space, after all, where climate change is proving a game-changer. Within the FMCG sphere, many massive companies are actively working to lower carbon emissions, respond to consumer concern regarding climate change, and prepare for potential supply chain upsets.
We should be doing our part too. Especially when many people spend more time in their office than they do their living room. Fight that existential dread!
So, while there seems little point in digging into the existential ‘why’ of saving the planet — isn’t it obvious? — let’s dig into the commercial ‘why’.
And, of course, the how.
Use less electricity
Simple? Yes. Effective? Also yes. Think about just how much electricity the average office consumes in one day, between the fridges, computers, coffee machines, and lights.
One way to cut down this usage is to simply take stock of just how much energy you’re personally consuming. Do you really need a space heater under your desk? Does the air conditioning really need to be on? (You live in the UK! It’s cold enough!)
Even the smallest reduction in your energy usage will contribute. So, before you leave for the night, turn your computer off completely instead of leaving it to idle on standby while you’re sound asleep.
Another way is for your company to invest in energy-efficient appliances across the board. The short-term expense may be hefty, but the long-term savings will be far more significant.
And another incidental benefit of turning off the lights and other electric accoutrements? Lowered overheads.
I can practically hear the office managers cheering from their cubicles already!
Change energy suppliers
And speaking of those office managers, they might want to look into changing energy suppliers too.
Not only can you win government subsidies if you switch to a renewable energy source, but you’ll also be contributing to…oh, saving the planet.
Cut down on printing
As the old saying goes, most meetings could be emails and, honestly, so could most paper correspondence.
So before hitting print on another inane update, consider simply walking over to your colleague to tell them what you need to instead.
Or, send an email. (But whatever you do, don’t ‘Reply All’. And definitely don’t just print the email anyway, either.)
If you’re really itching to work with a pen and paper instead of a keyboard though — some people are wired differently, after all — try a tablet out for size or invest in a digital notebook instead.
As for those informational leaflets? Consider whether they’re really necessary.
Promotional materials? We’re living in the internet age! Put down the paper.
However, if you do end up using paper, make sure to recycle it afterwards. That goes for cardboard and even plastics (where possible).
Be a conscious consumer
Aside from reducing your paper usage in the office, you should also think about what you’re buying, as well as its carbon footprint and packaging.
Wrapped in reams of plastic? Pop it back on the shelf.
Ahead even of recycling your waste, the best thing to do is reduce it altogether. It’s not called ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ for nothing!
After all, not everything you put in recycling will be recycled. Black plastic is a notoriously difficult material to recycle, for instance.
So, reconsider your consumer habits in the first place.
Get on ya bike! (Or bus, whatever floats your boat.)
Travel is a major contributor to climate change.
With an office full of staff members each doing their own round-trip to work and back each day, those (somewhat indirectly) company-caused emissions add up.
If the option is open to you, try walking to work instead.
Or use the Tube!
At least one of these methods will have you feeling fitter in no time, too.
Alternatively, invest in a bike and a decent helmet.
Here at Vertical Advantage, we have a Cycle to Work scheme where you can get discounts on bicycles.
Save money and the planet in one fell swoop?
What more could you want!
Buses are always a better option than cars too, especially for the exercise-averse.
Let’s put it this way: as long as you’re not chugging along in your city-centre Land Rover every day, then you can probably rest easy regarding your travel habits.
Purge the office kitchen
Does your office get fresh food delivered?
Does your office throw out many a half-mouldy banana at the end of the working week?
If so, you need to change up your attitudes to food waste too.
Order less food or even order none at all! Because once you combine the carbon footprint of that probably-foreign piece of fruit, plus the delivery, you have to wonder if it’s really worth it.
Alternatively, make a concerted effort to use up all the food. Everyone likes banana bread, right?
All of the above is about ‘going green’ to a certain extent, but you can also switch out common office supplies for environmentally-friendly ones too.
Biodegradable bin bags and recycled paper and notebooks are great places to start, as is investing in a real set of metal cutlery. That way, you can do away with the plastic disposables in no time.
In short, where the environmental option exists, take it.
Like any company, Vertical Advantage is always looking for ways to implement and expand upon the above actions.
But there’s always room for improvement when it comes to our green practices and collectively taking ownership of our company-wide carbon footprint.
Sure, we still have a way to go in implementing a paperless office (the dream!), but we’re on the right path.