Working towards becoming a more environmentally friendly SME can be a hard and time consuming task. You’ve got to think about your objectives, goals, costs and implementation methods - this is without the list of considerations ISO standards bring. To make it simpler, Kate Whitehouse from ImServ, has come up with seven simple tips to help you on your way to becoming greener.
1. Legislation first
It is important to acknowledge that while you may have aspirations of being carbon-neutral, this probably isn’t practical. Instead you should use legislation as a starting point, and then consider your aspirations and set targets accordingly.
2. Easy wins
Think about where it might be easy to make small changes that would make a big difference. Installing recycling bins would be much easier and cheaper than tackling a complex issue like grey water solutions.
It is impossible to measure progress without data. Regardless of if you are implementing an environmentally friendly printing policy, or an energy management system, you need to have an idea of behaviour before and after, if you are to understand your performance.
4. Engaging staff
Rather than implementing an entire environmental strategy overnight, taking small steps will help staff buy-in to your changes. Make sure you monitor engagement and put up reminders. Always explain why you are implementing changes and consider rewarding employees that engage the most.
5. Service providers
Remember that not all service providers are the same, and while the market leaders may not be able to accommodate your needs as a small business, other providers specialise in these areas and will be able to give the right service for you.
It isn’t unrealistic for an SME to aim for an ISO standard as a small business. Investigate the criteria and you may find that you are already doing many of the required practices. Some customers also require businesses to be accredited before they can work with you, so you might even win some new business as a result.
7. Long journey
Remember that change is a gradual process and you don’t need to introduce a long list of new practices straightaway. Small steps, with easy to reach goals allow you to measure and achieve success, whilst still running your business.