Small Ways Your Business Can Save the Planet
With the effects of climate change becoming more apparent, businesses must step up and introduce green initiatives to reduce their carbon footprint. Corporate social responsibility is more important now than ever before, and every change makes a difference.
Owning a business comes with many obligations, but corporate social responsibility can sometimes lie on the back burner. Only the most egregious examples of workplace pollution get mentioned in the news; a tanker ship spilling oil into the ocean, companies spewing toxic waste into local lakes and rivers, or even bypassing emission controls and poisoning the air we breathe.
The potential for environmental disaster is not shared universally by business owners, which may give the impression that a small business can do no wrong. It’s not like a workforce of 5 employees is actively polluting… so small businesses are in the clear, right?
Wrong! Every company, no matter the size has to recognize their corporate social responsibility and make the changes necessary to help protect the environment. At Syntes Language Group, we are not exempt from our duties that lie on the path of being sustainable and guilt-free. Even though green initiatives may seem like small potatoes compared to the importance of normal day-to-day operations, if more businesses follow slight changes to their sustainability goals the payoff could be astronomical.
What can be reused?
Instead of just throwing something away, think critically if it can be reused for an additional purpose. At Syntes, we reuse as many supplies as we can. Manilla folders can be re-labeled, and papers have back page of unused real estate when it comes to printing internal documents. As a matter of fact, the average employee in an office setting uses about 10,000 sheets of paper a year, which adds up. Paper cost is essentially cut in half if both sides of the sheet are used. Not only is this saving some of the nearly 40% of the world’s trees that are used for paper production, it is saving money. Syntes takes it one step further and buys paper made with post-consumer recycled paper, so no new trees are cut to produce the paper we use.
What can be reduced?
A business owner has to get creative when it comes to reducing waste in the office. A good first step is to transfer information online. Paper files can increase the risk of fire or pose an environmental risk with chances of developing mold and mildew, so using an online platform or drive is a good way to not only reduce waste and clutter, but risk as well. Reduce the amount of single-use disposable silverware and plates by stocking the break room with washable alternatives and ditch disposable water bottles for a water filtration system. Minor adjustments such as these also reduce cost in the long run.
What can be recycled?
Recycling is unfortunately not as simple as throwing an aluminum can in the bin. Every waste management company accepts different materials and the requirements for the office may differ from the standards at home. Sit down with staff and go over your company’s specific recycling requirements to make sure your business isn’t unknowingly contaminating a whole batch of recycled items. This is the simplest step to make a difference in office sustainability, and make sure coworkers are on board with holding each other accountable. Remember, keeping a company green is a community effort.
If saving money and helping the earth isn’t reason enough to go green, employee morale might be. A UCLA study found that companies who embrace their green standards can see as much as a 16% increase in productivity. Showing your business cares about the environment can even translate to employees keeping up these good practices at home, making a sustainable reach go even further than originally thought.
At Syntes Language Group, President and CEO, Ms. Beatriz Bonnet sits on the board of Water for People, a nonprofit that helps bring people clean water and sanitation solutions. Her personal alignment with this nonprofit is reflected in Syntes' sustainability journey and inspires us to work harder to stay green and to do all we can for the environment. At Syntes we all believe in a simple message: a small change can make a big impact for years to come.