Green Resources: For the Office
In a previous post during Green Office Week, we had a poll about people's attitudes to green issues in the office. The general feeling from readers was that there was room for improvement in green initiatives already in place and that recycling, energy awareness and eco-friendly products were the highest priorities. You also said that more time and staff initiatives would be key areas that would help you to be greener at work.
Following on from your feedback, we have put together some resources focused on these key areas, ranging from more general places to find out more about national initiatives to sources of green and sustainably produced products as well as some information specific to Bristol.
Green Office Initiatives
Here are some links you may find useful for information on funding, business schemes, initiatives and potential training for staff.
Green Office Week might be over, but the website is a great place to look for inspiration, from general tips to specific measures people have taken.
Envirowise has a list of environmental initiatives for businesses, from projects to get involved in (like conservation charity, Carbon Balanced) to organizations for recycling and green events.
The Carbon Trust offers and advice and services to help cut carbon emissions, tailored specifically to a range of businesses from SMEs to the public sector.
The Energy Saving Trust offers resources to help businesses save energy, from advice on more sustainable transport for business to recommended manufacturers and retailers.
Here are some links to information about recycling schemes and ways to recycle without compromising data protection.
Waste companies like SITA have business services that include information about recycling and waste reduction. If your office is in a serviced building, talk to your providers about the services used and see whether there is room for improvement, from these national services or via your local council.
If you want to reduce your paper trail, but need to be sure that confidential information is disposed of securely, a business like Shred-It, a paper shredding company that is passionate about the environment, is a great option. We get all our used office paper collected and recycled by Shred-It - all the paper they shred is baled up and taken off to be recycled into a wide variety of paper products. We've used them for over 4 years and strongly recommend them.
There are various ways to reduce the impact of your business through the use of transport, particularly when it comes to helping staff travel to work more sustainably, either through the national Cycle Scheme which helps workers buy bikes, or through sharing their commute with other drivers as part of the National Car Share scheme, or even by giving up owning a car and joining a car share scheme like City Car Club and only using a car when absolutely necessary. Small businesses might find these options useful too, rather than having company cars.
Eco-friendly Products & Services
When you think about where your equipment or supplies are coming from, it might be worth looking out for local businesses that offer what you need, reducing the energy spent on delivery etc.
Office products: We source all our office products from KN Office, an online office supplies company who stock a range of green and fairtrade products. They also offer same-day delivery service. We use a local company because it helps to reduce ho far the products travel to us (they are also very good).
Recycling bins: In order to encourage staff to recycle, it might be worth investing in some dedicated recycling bins, helping everything reach its correct destination. Nigel's eco-store offers recycling bins and a wide variety of eco-products.
Electronics: If your business requires electronic goods (and whose doesn't, with everyone from Cheesemakers to Gardeners relying on email and using Facebook) it might be worth checking if you can invest in more energy efficient or eco gadgets (perhaps a solar-powered laptop?). The Ethical Superstore is a good place to browse ideas for more eco-friendly gadgets, as well as many other eco-products.
Cleaning: While this might be the preserve of your cleaning service (in which case it might be worth asking them about what kind of products they use or seeking an eco-friendly cleaner, of whom there are increasing amounts), if you are buying cleaning products it is worth considering green cleaning products that are available in bulk, like the concentrated eco-products offered by companies like Fragile Earth. Not only are you using a product which is less harmful, but these reduce packaging and tend to be more economical purchases. One very nice side-effect of being greener is that it can be more cost-effective!
Here are some resources with ideas on being more mindful of your energy consumption, as well as training opportunities and inspirational examples.
The Big Green Switch offers a resource for learning about and engaging with green issues - this could be a very useful tool for getting staff more involved.
The Green Foundation is a free sustainability course run by the Eden Project for Cornish businesses. This could be great if you are a business in Cornwall, but if not, the website features case studies of participants and some of the ideas they've come away with because of the course.
For more inspirational reading, why not check out The Guardian's section on the Sustainable Business Awards, which highlights initiatives set up by businesses for engaging employees.
If you're a local Bristol business, here are some resources you might find particularly useful (and if not - why not check out your local council website, many will have similar information on local projects).
Recyclingcouncil website for a detailed list along with further resources for recycling.
The Bristol Green Capital Programme is set up to help businesses and communities reduce energy consumption to make Bristol a more sustainable and greener city. The website has information about how to get involved, as well as resources to help you achieve these aims.
Sustainable building: for information and inspiration about making building more sustainable, the council website features resources and examples of local eco-buildings, like Bordeaux Quay and the Ashley Vale Action Group.