Today, sustainable development is increasingly at the heart of business concerns. Global warming, overconsumption and waste of natural resources… the list goes on. Have you ever thought about your ecological footprint and how could you improve it? Whether you have a small or a large business, we have prepared a list for you with a few actions to adopt that will help you make it more sustainable and responsible.
First Plan of Attack: Office Equipment and Supplies
Business essentials, so why not start there? Instead of buying supplies on amazon, choose sites specializing in eco-responsible supplies such as Un Bureau sur la Terre 1 or Pocheco* 2 for envelopes (a very good example of a company combining an ecological and social model).
What about printers? Preferably multifunctional, they save more paper and ink thanks to functions that facilitate double-sided printing or in draft mode. As for cartridges, products that are very toxic to the environment, you have to bet on eco-labels such as NF Environnement and recycle your empty cartridges. And who knows? Maybe one day we can even use a water jet printer! Chinese researchers have developed a water-based ink printer: thanks to a special paper, printing with water reveals the characters and dries after 22 hours. For your computer equipment, generally choose eco labels such as Ecolabel or Energy Star and favor laptops that consume up to half the energy of a fixed one.Digital Inclusion 3 , a social enterprise that promotes social inclusion through new technologies.
Next step: raise awareness and involve your employees
In a small business, ecological actions must be adopted above all by the people who work there. Because if employees don’t get involved, all this beautiful ecology isn’t much use. Simply ask them what actions they want to see emerge: for example organizing training on recycling, banning plastic water bottles and cutlery, etc. Positive Impakt 4 and SuperDrecksKescht 5 offer awareness workshops around the circular economy.
Knowing where your employees stand in terms of private civic engagement (volunteering with associations, etc.) will allow you to implement actions that will resonate with your employees. And why not create a working group on sustainability which would be responsible for implementing concrete actions, such as the creation of monthly challenges or thematic workshops? Engagement between employees is usually more effective than a memo from management.
Measure your social and environmental impact
Because it is easier to correct the errors that we know. If the size of your business allows it, an audit will ensure you spot unnecessary energy expenditure – and get it right. Get help in this process from national players such as the National Institute for Sustainable Development and Corporate Social Responsibility ( INDR 6 ) or international players such as the B Corporation 7 certification .
Another system developed by the IMS (Inspiring More Sustainability) is the diversity charter 8 , the aim of which is to guide organizations in the implementation of practices that promote cohesion and social equity.
Choose responsible service providers
If you work with suppliers a lot, check their sustainability commitments. Just asking them what they are doing to be more environmentally friendly can get them thinking about what they can do themselves. For example, for your printing needs (business cards, flyers, etc.), have you considered using printing companies that are certified CO2 neutral or with social enterprises such as the Kraizbierg 9 Foundation ?
Organizing events is also something that creates a lot of waste. Favor as much as possible service providers who offer organic and local products, generating the least possible waste, or social enterprises that work with vulnerable people such as Proactif 10 , Yolande coop 11 or the Tricentenaire workshops
Improve your recycling practices
Good waste management is not just about reducing what you throw away. As much as possible, waste should not go to landfill. Make sure there are clear signs for recycling bins near the trash can and collection points for used batteries. If you haven’t already, ban single-use plastic cutlery, cups or boxes (luckily ecobox has arrived!). For example, you could provide your employees with a reusable coffee mug as an incentive or encourage them to bring one from home. Same thing for water bottles, whether plastic or glass bottles, try to eliminate them and invest in a water filtration system.
Think about plants
Place plants in the office to make your workplace greener. Not only are they pleasant to look at, but they can reduce air pollution in enclosed spaces and contribute to the well-being and productivity of employees! In addition to their air-cleansing benefits, some plants even have the ability to neutralize computer waves.