A late 2011 survey conducted by Ernst & Young found that 76 percent of corporate executive respondents expected natural resource shortages to affect their core business objectives in the next three to five years. A corporate office sustainability policy is necessary in order to reduce waste, save energy and lower your company’s carbon footprint.
Why Corporate Sustainability?
Clearly the environment is important to the future of business. Corporations that take steps now to reduce their environmental impact enjoy immediate benefits as well as long range advantages. For example, a reduction in electrical usage automatically results in lower utility bills. Here are more facts about sustainability policy’s positive impacts:
A clearly defined sustainability policy reduces waste expenses.
An effective corporate sustainability policy reduces water and material costs.
Customers are more likely to do business with a company that has a strong and open sustainability program in place.
Employees show greater motivation when working for a company that shows a commitment to the environment.
Tips for Developing a Sustainability Policy
A sustainability policy means more than putting a recycle bin in the break room. A documented policy with an overall company strategy is required to get the most positive impact from sustainability objectives. A complete policy should contain a mission statement, outline issues to address, include prioritized goals and monitoring goal guidelines.
The mission statement contains approximately 10 words that describe the company vision for sustainability. The objectives section describes issues to address and prioritized goals for each issue. Guidelines for reporting sustainability goal progress are then outlined with specific timeframes.
Reducing Your Company’s Carbon Footprint
Instilling basic sustainability practices throughout the corporate environment quickly reduces energy use and waste. One of the most effective and easiest ways to reduce electrical consumption is by powering down computers, printers and other electronic devices when not in use. Reduce paper waste by utilizing scanned or emailed documents when possible and tablets in place of notepads.
As computers and other equipment become obsolete, replace them with Energy Star labeled products. Energy Star is the federal government-backed symbol for energy-efficient electronics. The Energy Star program is administered by the Environmental Protection Agency. Energy Star labeled products may initially cost more than unlabeled products, but purchasers recover their investment quickly with lowered utility bills and increased efficiency. Further reduce your waste by participating in electronic recycling programs that dispose of old computers, printers and accessories in an environmentally safe manner.
Replace office lighting with CFLs and other low-light options. CFLs use 70 percent less energy than traditional incandescent bulbs. Older CFL bulbs used a magnetic ballast that caused a buzzing sound, but the new Energy Star labeled CFLs use electronic ballasts with no buzz.
It’s a fact that paper is still heavily used in office settings. Purchase paper that contains at least 30 percent recycled content. Save paper by copying on both sides. Recycle all recyclable items, from paper to plastic bottles.