5 Ingenious Ways to Make Your Small Business Environmentally Friendly

Large businesses and corporations have a significant advantage over SMEs and freelancers when it comes to lowering their carbon footprint. And I say this from personal experience, for I have worked in both environments.

This might sound odd. How can a huge conglomerate make the process of being environmentally friendly easier than a sole trader? Surely a larger building, countless staff and significant product output will result in a carbon footprint the size of a large crater?

That’s exactly what I thought, until I stumbled on a rather alarming set of facts about the damage even the most innocuous of life’s day-to-day activities does to the world around us.

Did you know, for example, that a large latte contributes 340g of CO2e to the Earth’s atmosphere? I didn’t. And I drink an awful lot of coffee.

With that in mind, I decided to review the green effort of my own micro business (it’s just myself and a laptop) in order to see what I was missing, and the results were rather worrying. You see, large corporations benefit from HR teams and environmental strategies that ensure their carbon footprint is kept to a minimum. In many industries, they absolutely have to do so in order to remain compliant.

I don’t - I’m a writer, therefore the effect my work has on the planet isn’t really at the top of my agenda. Or at least, it wasn’t.

Here’s what I learned. I think it’ll help anyone in a similar position immeasurably:

I’ve ceased using paper entirely

As previously noted, my business is run almost entirely from a laptop. However, I was still using a fair amount of paper - mostly in the form of bank statements and note taking.

I’ve therefore gone paperless across the board and swapped my notebook for my iPad Pro and Apple Pencil.

I’ll only fill the kettle with as much water as required

I’m British, therefore an incessant tea drinker (along with the coffee I consume), and as anyone will tell you, we have a rather bad habit on these shores of filling the kettle full each time, even if we’re only making a single cup.

Now, I only fill it with as much water as needed. As a result, I use far less energy each day and my drinks are ready quicker, too!

I turn lights off

I was a stickler for leaving lights on in my home. This was partly because I flit between my office, the kitchen, living room and dining room to get work done. Leaving a light on in each room was both wasteful and pointless - so I’ve grown into the habit of reaching for the switch every time I leave.

I use Skype far more often

Before I went ultra-green, I was doing a fair amount of travelling each week in the car. Not long distances, but several that saw me using more petrol than was strictly necessary.

Nearly every venture was for a meeting, therefore I’ve managed to successfully tempt my clients and partners to instead lean on Skype. As a result, we get things done quicker and the car spends the majority of its time on the driveway.

I turn off my desktop computer

Ok - I lied earlier. I do have another machine I use, but only occasionally, and it’s a desktop Mac. Previously, I’d leave it on all day (you know, just in case I needed to take a break from the laptop). But, in hindsight, this was silly.

Now, I turn it off whenever it’s not in use. And you know what? It hasn’t affected my productivity at all.

Final thoughts

We live on a breathtakingly beautiful planet, yet I’m the first to admit I’m one of the many who has often brushed off global warming and the effects my day-to-day activities have on the environment. However, I’m one of countless micro business owners, and if we all forget to do our bit, the end result could actually be rather sobering.

It’s time to go green, no matter how small you are!