Five (free) ways to make your business more sustainable

5 ways that every business owner in Australia can reduce their environmental footprint.

Regardless of how you feel about the recent election result, there's no denying that climate change is a major issue. And while individual people - and households - have an impact, business and government organisations have serious power to lead change.

How to make your business sustainable

  1. Delete unused files
  2. Work from home
  3. Audit your energy habits
  4. Review your suppliers
  5. Make your finances ethical

Here are five ways that you can improve your business' sustainability

1. Delete files

Are you saving files, emails and images you no longer need? Guess what. Those files are stored on servers. And guess what else? These servers need to be intensively air-conditioned to keep them at a stable operating temperature. By hanging onto a bunch of data you no longer need, you are chewing through electricity and refrigerants used by the data centres.

2. Work from home (or within walking/cycling distance to your house)

Working from home significantly reduces your commuter carbon footprint. It's not just about convenience and childcare, it's about fossil fuels. Rather than cranking up the air-conditioning, buy some Ugg boots for winter, and open the windows in summer. If you want to invest in heating or cooling your home, consider installing insulation. Better still, invest in solar panels for your home. Drink tap water. Make your own coffee. Eat plant-based meals. Conduct meetings via Zoom.

3. Conduct an energy audit

A qualified electrician can conduct an energy audit of your business to find out which appliances and equipment are pulling the most energy. They can then advise you on how to reduce your energy usage (i.e. switching appliances off at the wall, installing LED lightbulbs and lighting motion sensors in low traffic areas, and upgrading to more energy efficient equipment or appliances). Here's the thing: most energy providers offer a free energy audit service and the Federal Government offers tax concessions for upgrading to more energy efficient equipment.

4. Check the credentials of your supply partners

Have you ever looked into the sustainability credentials of your supply partners? This applies to everything from where you buy coffee and milk, to major investments like infrastructure, equipment, fleet vehicles, and staff transport and accommodation. Set up preferred supplier agreements with ethical businesses as a way of pressuring their competitors to adopt better business practices.

5. Manage your money ethically

Who do you bank and invest with? Where is your superannuation? There are banks, investment firms and super funds that only invest in ethical businesses such as clean energy, Fair Trade businesses and organic farming. Whether you decide to go with a Community Bank like Bendigo Bank, a Credit Union, or a super fund like Australian Ethical, it's critically important to know what your money is being invested in. 

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