What used to be a vision of the future could now become reality with employing environmental practises one of the top priorities for companies across the world. it is easy to understand why going green has become an important collective responsibility with businesses when you consider that the United Kingdom produces enough carbon emissions each year to weigh as much as 37 million London buses.

The plastic crisis is a truly global one, and the numbers are staggering: A 2015 study found that between 4.8 and 12.7 million metric tons of plastic makes it into the ocean from land each year. By 2050, there will be more plastic than fish in the ocean by weight.

We have the knowledge, skills and technologies to stop climate change. All over the world people have woken up to the threat and are working to reduce the use of fossil fuels, stop rainforest destruction and get power from clean energy. Still much more needs to be done.

At the end of last year, Weatherspoon’s announced their plans to ban plastic straws from their establishments to tackle the problem of global plastic pollution. Since their move many more hospitality chains have followed suit and caring about the environment is now cool and trendy.

By turning to greener policies, not only will your business contribute to reducing its carbon footprint, but you will also help it save on costs in the long term. Here are some of the most effective things that HR professionals can do to implement a more sustainable work environment:

  1. Pass on Plastic – Obviously swapping your plastic straws for paper or metal is the first step. This change makes a massive difference, as 70million plastic straws end up in our oceans every year. Minimise your handling of single use plastics, by not supplying plastic cups by water fountains or supplying plastic utensils in your kitchen/canteen.
  2. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle – If your workplace doesn’t already have a recycling bin, it’s time to introduce one! Train your colleagues to separate waste into paper, plastic/glass recyclables and even food scraps. Your business should be able to recycle most items and materials, including old computers and electronic items, which can be sold as parts to other companies.
  3. Be Economic with Energy – With the foodservice industry using $10billion in energy each year, committing to using less water and electricity is an incredible way to reduce your carbon footprint. Investing in energy efficient appliances, performing an energy audit and not blasting the air-con are all ways that you can reduce you energy consumptions, and most importantly your energy bill!

Like electricity, managing your water intake will also reduce your energy bills. If possible replace your facilities with water-saving toilets, swap bottled water for an in-house filtration system and install solar thermal panels to heat water for you.

  1. Go Paperless – Implementing a paperless policy at your company will help to reduce the amount of daily waste it incurs, and it will also mean that less energy is spent on printers, fax machines and photocopiers. Instead, encourage all members of staff to take advantage of cloud networks which allow you to access, store and edit important documents from any device.
  2. Say No to Harsh Chemicals – It’s no secret that conventional cleaning products are bad for the environment. The harsh chemicals in industrial cleaners don’t break down and pollute the air and water table. Plus, guests aren’t exactly fans of that just-bleached smell. To be an environmentally friendly establishment, swap out conventional cleaners with eco-friendly brands. Ask your distributor to supply products that contain Design for the Environment (DfE) or Green Seal certified cleaning chemicals.
  3. Carpool Cool – For those who travel on a regular basis, encourage (and help arrange) carpooling, use of public transit, biking, or walking. Not only is carpooling ethical it can also save you some pennies, according to Liftshare.com, a leading UK car share provider, commuters who regularly opt to share a lift can on average save about £900 each year.

Photo by Michael Aleo on Unsplash