Guest blog: How to Become a Greener Business

In this guest blog, John Ellmore from Know Your Money assesses the options available to business consumers looking to reduce their environmental impacts and help meet the UK's 2050 Net Zero goal.

The UK may have committed to reach net zero emissions by 2050, but work still needs to be done to reach this target, particularly by businesses.

Businesses consume a significant proportion of all energy in the UK, so this is an area where they can make a considerable impact by not only cutting down their usage, but also by utilising renewable sources. Although they are far from the only way businesses can go green, making these changes can have far-reaching environmental impacts.

Business energy origins

A key, and fairly straightforward, step for businesses wanting to become greener is to switch to a renewable electricity supplier. By using renewable energy to power their operations, businesses can reduce their carbon footprint and also help to promote the companies that supply the renewable energy.

Energy companies are required by law to disclose their fuel mix, which identifies where they generate their electricity from. This can help businesses looking to make the change to ‘clean’ energy as it allows them to assess the green credentials of each supplier and research exactly where they source their electricity from.

With the proportion of electricity generated by zero-carbon sources rising above fossil fuels in 2019, any business which isn’t yet utilising renewable sources is missing a major opportunity to reduce their carbon footprint.

Cutting your energy usage

Even if businesses source their electricity from green and sustainable suppliers, they still need to think about how much they use. Whether the business is based in an office, a factory, a retail outlet, or somewhere else, there are sure to be many areas where they can make major energy savings.

Although it may seem relatively minor, leaving lights and appliances switched on when they’re not in use can add up to a lot of unnecessary electricity usage. It may be more convenient to leave things switched on or on standby but, as well as wasting electricity, this can also result in a sizeable financial cost for the business. Eliminating energy waste is one of the easiest ways for businesses to become more eco-friendly, but it needs the cooperation of every person involved to make a significant impact.

More ways to go green

There are many other ways businesses can minimise their environmental impact, including following correct recycling procedures. Many businesses have already taken steps to use less paper, by using shared drives and cloud storage for example, but the issue of waste disposal remains as significant as ever. Recycling paper and other items correctly is important for the growth of a circular economy and is an area where many businesses could do better. Paper Round, a waste management company that works with businesses to help them recycle effectively, says:

“One of the biggest determining factors of an organisation’s recycling rate is the commitment from a client and its employees to do the right thing in the long term.”

More substantial environmental savings can be made if a company makes a concerted effort to recycle and dispose of waste correctly, rather than relying on individuals doing piecemeal efforts. Following on from this, businesses can aim to source as many of their products (including paper) from recycled sources as possible, to further support this sustainable cycle and enhance their ‘green’ profile.

Commuting is another area where businesses can aim to improve their environmental impact. With many people travelling to work via car, companies could find ways to support alternative options that are more eco-friendly, such as cycle-to-work schemes or car-sharing. In addition to helping the individual employees, this would also help to reduce the company’s overall emissions output.

You can find more details and ideas on how to make your business greener from this Knowyourmoney guide.