Running your business lean and green

by Leon Gettler | |   Managing People
Running your business lean and green

Many CEOs are starting to see that going green is a trend with an impact

Going green may seem to be the latest trend but it’s a trend with an impact. Green processes to the workplace creates a healthy environment for employees, reduces unnecessary waste and recognises the role that businesses play in leading the way for social change. This is something that a lot of CEOs are realising. What sort of things should they do?

Jason Fabbri, general manager of Energy Watch Business, says paper usage is by far the easiest way to begin your lean and green journey. CEOs should encourage employees to think twice before printing emails, and if staff are printing out because they don't like to read off a screen, they should look at getting monitors that are easier on the eyes, such as LCD or LED. Tablet PCs, such as the iPad are also a great option for employees who print off lots of paper - particularly marketing collateral or reports.

He says employees should be encouraged to use public transport or bike to work. He also suggests getting waterless urinals which would save 99.9 per cent of water used by conventional urinals. For everyone else, ensure every toilet has a 'half-flush' option. Recycling bins are also a must for any green business. These should be readily available and the preferred option. It is also important to review the electricity plan as well as the HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Cooling) and other sources of high energy usage. Consider automation if possible, so that being environmentally friendly isn't just left up to the memory of staff.

Kate Harrison at Forbes recommends using recycled paper and biodegradable cleaners. She also recommends using compact fluorescent lights LED lights. And they can replace outdated appliances with greener counterparts. These have labels helping you assess their energy and cash requirements over time. Look for the yellow tags when you buy your next appliance, and splurge up front for the long term economic and environmental savings. Getting an energy audit and switching across to green power are also recommended.

The NSW Business Chamber recommends a number of steps:
•    develop a sustainable procurement policy or checklist based on accepted green buying principles or guidelines
•    make sure all your staff involved in purchasing and procurement are aware of the company’s sustainable procurement policy, plan or checklist
•    compare products and services based on a life-cycle or cradle-to-grave approach
•    utilise existing third party labelling schemes and programs to help you make comparisons and decisions, especially in relation to energy and water using appliances and products
•    get to know your suppliers and ensure they know about your sustainable procurement plan early in the process
•    establish which products or services are likely to have the most significant environmental and / or social impact and focus your sustainable procurement plan on those
•    consider the profile and reputation of your suppliers as part of the process, asking specific questions about their compliance with all relevant environmental regulations
•    be as specific as you can when asking suppliers questions without making the process unnecessarily onerous - for example, ask specific questions related to energy using products, water-using products, packaging requirements etc.
•    always ask suppliers for written verification or documentation which supports their environmental claims
•    third party certification is a great way to ensure your supplier is not just green-washing and actually are taking real action.

Have you tried greening your business? How did you do it?