Add green value to your business the easy way…
One concern about the environment is our carbon footprint – you may have heard this term and thought there was nothing you could do about your impact at work… but there are a number of ways every business can look at becoming carbon neutral, or to offset their carbon footprint.
You can calculate your carbon footprint online, there are lots of organisations that do it. A rough guide is that every person in the UK produces about 12.5 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions each year.
Here are 5 ideas to consider how you could reduce your carbon footprint:
1. Thinking about how you travel. Avoiding flying, and use the train or bus over driving. Perhaps offering a car share if you are attending an event for example…
Can you walk or cycle to work?
2. Replacing lights with LED fittings, and turn lights off in unused rooms.
Perhaps you could fit sensors to operate the lights automatically?
3. Buy recycled paper and try to reuse before recycling again. Only print essential documents.
Remove yourself from junk mail lists using the help from www.ecocycle.org
4. When you replace electrical items, go for the best Energy Star rating you can.
Maybe you could audit all the equipment in the business and see what you actually use/need?
5. Try to reduce the air miles of your food by buying and supporting local producers. Also consider going veggie or cutting down on meat… #Meat Free Monday?
Taking a packed lunch to work also saves you money!
Offset your carbon footprint – ideas…
*Plant trees annually with the Woodland Trust, Trees for Cities or any other great charity
*Search for a project to support that floats your boat on www.co2zoo.com
*Help others to reduce their footprint by offering lifts or joining a sharing community like Helpful Peeps
*Share information – shout out about the changes you’re making and inspire others! You could join a Twitter #, write a blog post, collaborate with a supplier the list is endless…
Throughout the process of starting The Frugal Family, I have enjoyed lots of ‘moments’ to consider plans, the future, who I am, what I’m grateful for and all that sort of fluffy stuff. One thing I have always held very dear, is my love of nature and the environment and animals (I actually do hug trees when possible) – these values have been with me since I was a child, and they are part of how I view the World. Recently I’ve been focusing on why it is important to me, how I live that value and where I can do better.
It also started me thinking about how other people started their ‘green’ lifestyle, so I thought I’d ask them…
First up is a fellow #ethicalhour member Sabine Harnau:
“OK, let’s watch something on Netflix,” I sighed, trying to protect my hot salami pizza from Sandra’s kitten. Her sofa embraced me with its rough linen fabric, and I was looking forward to a chilled-out evening. Instead, I was flushed with hot anger as I watched cows suffering in sheer endless meat factories. And a pang of desire for small stripy aubergines, farmed the traditional way. That pizza didn’t taste all that good anymore.
Why we had decided to watch Food, Inc. will forever remain a mystery. But it changed my life. I spent the next days in shock at how little I had known about the stuff in my fridge. First, I made small changes to my diet and swapped products for their organic counterparts. I also vowed to invest as much as I could afford into buying higher quality, eco friendly goods. Since then, I’ve gone pescetarian, organic (as far as the market allows), switched to 100% renewable energy and embraced slow fashion.
My most recent step has been starting my own company. This means I can do the work I love to help other conscious companies thrive.
Sabine heads up From Scratch, a customer service consultancy with a mission: to make excellent communication accessible to all. The best insights from linguistics, psychology and user research are distilled into effective writing, training that truly empowers teams, and customer satisfaction programmes — tailored to each business. From Scratch is constantly looking to tread more lightly on the earth. It’s also a proud member of the #EthicalHour community of ethical businesses.
Mandi also made significant changes after watching TV (see it’s not all bad ;)):
I watched a few documentaries around the same time on off grid living, the dangers of sugar and processed foods and the impact of the food industry (esp. large scale agriculture). All of this in conjunction with living in a completely unaffordable city and having had our 3rd child we have decided to take whatever control we can into our own hands minimize our impact while in the city, feed ourselves ACTUAL food and we hope to start a small homestead when we can afford to buy. For now we are learning all we can about doing what we can at home but we hope to have our own small farm, raincatching system, beekeeping, solar power etc. 🌻
You can check in with Mandi on her blog BigTinySteps.
I have to admit to avoiding watching TV and Film that I know will upset me, some I feel have moved away from informative documentaries and have deliberately been made to shock, with even a sense of salaciousness in their production. I do see the great importance of letting people use all their senses to understand the processes used to create all of the things we use in our everyday lives in the rich nations. It’s sometimes hard to know when to tell kids the various things I want them to know, and how much detail to give. As I’m a veggie, but Mr F isn’t – I will let them choose for themselves. They have been veggie until they can express and opinion, we have always explained what the food is made from and then they can choose. Our son is a strict veggie, our daughter has tried a few things from Daddy’s plate, but is 99% veggie and getting more concerned about animal welfare as she gets older. It will be fascinating to watch them grow and learn and make their own choices – I see such care in them about the World and such curiosity it’s wonderful!
Hanna Pumfrey had a epiphany at work:
Sustainability became important to me after a few years living and working in the city. I would watch the rubbish bins in my office fill up every day with paper cups and lunch bag wrappers as we all rushed blindly from meeting to meeting, completely unconscious to the amount of waste we were contributing to landfill daily. I thought there must be a better way to do this!
After some research I realised that with just a few small changes we could all start to make a big difference to our environment. But as time poor city dwellers with demanding jobs and equally as busy personal lives, living sustainably with the current options and information we have can seem very difficult.
I decided to create Flor + Cesta to make it simple for people. To give people the tools needed to become a more conscious consumer, without a radical lifestyle change.
I started the Frugal Office page after realising the massive impact that office culture can have on the environment, and the relatively simple steps that any sized office can take to reduce the negative impact. The ‘Greening Up Your Office’ series has been so interesting to research, and I’m working on number four on ‘Stores’ so about to get some Frugal Family goodies to hand out… possibly pencils made from recycled jeans – how cool is that?!?
Two and a half years ago, just after my son was born, I entered some sort of contest (I don’t even remember what the prize was). All it required of me was to make a promise to my child. My promise was “to do all in my power to make this world a better place for him”.
I really took it to heart & immediately went out & got cloth diapers & started my blog. Ever since I’ve been making one continuous change after another to live a more sustainable, clean & eco friendly life as well as grow myself so that i may raise him the way he & the world deserves & educate others to the best of my abilities.
My motto is “improving ourselves to improve the world”.
Brianne Pruitt also made changes alongside becoming a parent:
I went green because I realized what a huge negative impact not being green was having on my health. While I was pregnant I became lightheaded and overwhelmed by fumes from a chemical filled cleaning product . I started by switching out all my cleaning products. And then that led to learning more about how skin care and food affect me, and changing all of that too.
I have a FB group where I post info from a lot of resources as well as what I do personally to live green.
Becoming a parent is the most life changing experience, and I do feel that the concern we have for our children does affect how we feel about the World – I for one don’t want my grandchildren to have to go and live underground or on Mars… There are lots of links on here to really inspiring women doing great things for great reasons, please check them out and share the power we all have when we focus on what the change. Obama made it cool again, but Ghandi said it first ‘be the change you want to see in the World’… I’m pretty sure Michael Jackson said something similar too…
Add green value to your business the easy way…
With the US walking away from the Paris Accord, the environment is back in the headlines – and it’s a fast growing area of the market, with people looking at what companies offer in terms of their ‘green’ credentials.
From the largest down to the smallest business – everyone can make a positive impact by looking at a range of easy changes, they benefit the World as well as your business by engaging new customers without losing any current clients.
Here are 5 quick starters…
- Recycle your paper and card – reuse first if you can e.g. printing on both sides for rough drafts or items you will bin.
- Recycle other office products e.g. toner cartridges, Tassimo pods, old equipment, stamps… pretty much anything will be useful to someone else, and may make you or a charity some money.
- Lower your energy bills by switching off unused equipment, changing to LED lighting, turning off lights in unused rooms.
- Think about company transport use – can you carpool, take the train, have a Skype meeting?
- Use recycled products and let people know you use them e.g business cards, paper and pens and buy recycled equipment when looking for new chairs, tables or printers.
Evidence suggests that these small changes are likely to improve staff health and attendance, reduce bills and by being more socially responsible you will be able to engage a wider audience to your business.
There is so much more you can do if you get the green bug… and if you want to make changes at home too – you can follow www.thefrugalfamily.co.uk.
To prove the US do care about the environment, here’s a great article from the mighty Harvard. http://news.harvard.edu/gazette/story/2009/10/workplace-green-place/
We couldn’t let today go without a shout out to World Vegetarian Day – five out of the six members of The Frugal Family are veggie and so it’s a big part of our world. If you’d like to learn more, or complete the Challenge set by the organisers of the Day you can check out this article on their site.
Being vegetarian isn’t especially challenging in today’s society, but the main impact on our family is that it does cost more to have a specialist diet. The kids can’t have cows milk protein and so we can’t do our main shopping in the very low cost shops, or we can but then end up in the larger supermarkets for yogurt, dairy free spread and a wider variety of protein options. It may well be that the kids grow up to make different choices and we’ll leave it to them to decide – but for now we are a happy band of green, veggie lovers. I am hoping to add some recipes that we particularly enjoy here. One of our daughters and I used to write a monthly, healthy vegan snack for kids to make in a magazine – I have such great memories of our creations together. That magazine has since ended, but I still have great joy in cooking with all the kids and sharing an interest in what we eat, where it comes from and attempting to encourage them to try new things…
Surprisingly Mr Frugal is a powerful voice in our veggie life, as although it’s not his choice he fiercely defends ours. There have been occasions when this voice has been loud, particularly at buffets and public eating spots where some people are less aware of the utensils or dishes they are using. I really admire people that can see beyond their own choices and support others despite their differences.
If you are not veggie or vegan, you might consider reducing your meat intake along the lines of #meatfreemonday or something similar to help our environment?