At present, there is a long list of environmental concerns that the world faces today. Many of these problems are interconnected and are mostly caused by man-made actions. One factor that is contributing to the aggravation of these issues is the business sector.
The way businesses operate can significantly affect the environment both in a positive and a negative way. This is the reason why it is highly important for more business owners and their employees to be conscious of the potential impacts different workplace practices may have on the planet. What may seem like inconsequential habits in the office could deliver a lasting effect.
Here are four serious issues that businesses should be concerned about.
Climate change encompasses the rising average rising temperatures, extreme weather events, rising seas, shifting wildlife, and other impacts. Global warming is part of climate change. It is the gradual increase in the Earth’s temperature. At present, the average global temperature has increased within the past 50 years.
Many scientific experts agree that this is a man-made phenomenon that will lead to very damaging outcomes. But why is climate change being caused by humans?
Global warming takes place when greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide are increasingly emitted into the atmosphere. These greenhouse gas emissions are causing the warming of the planet. According to scientists, the disturbing rate of increase is too high to be caused by natural factors alone. Because of this, it is then logical to push for a reduction in the global carbon footprint.
Unlawful logging is one of the main causes of deforestation. While there are various efforts by many governments to only support sustainable logging industries, the practice of illegal logging still occurs.
The massive demand for paper products remains as one of the top reasons for deforestation. This is a damaging practice because when forests are destroyed, this also affects the wildlife habitats which can result in the extinction of species.
Every year, 1.3 billion tonnes of waste is disposed of each year on a global scale. In the UK, people produce 100 million tonnes of waste annually. This is a very serious problem that could lead to many other environmental effects.
Businesses largely contribute to the waste generated in the world. It is typical for employees to mindlessly use and throw away stuff without thinking twice where the waste is going, especially with most people more concerned about turning a profit rather than asking themselves if what they threw away will hurt the planet or not.
Soil, Air, and Water Pollution can be caused by many factors. Contamination in soil is due to waste, toxic materials, pesticides, heavy metals, and other pollutants.
Air pollution is caused by carbon emissions and pollutants from buildings, industrial structures, factories, and vehicles. Reportedly, air pollution from car emissions is a major cause of premature deaths.
Water pollution may be caused by garbage disposal, plastics, oil spills, lack of water treatment facilities, or irresponsible disposal of sewage water.
How To Use Technology To Counter Environmental Concerns
While there are many old-fashioned ways to be more environmentally prudent, there are now more advanced methods that could make this initiative much easier to maintain. With the right technology, it will be much easier for employees to effectively collaborate on ways to minimise the impacts of these issues.
Here are some practical ways companies can implement to contribute to environmental efforts.
1.) Install Building Automation Systems To Conserve Energy
Problems Addressed: Climate Change, Air Pollution
Building engineering is getting much smarter. There are now automated systems that can control lighting, heating cooling, and other functions in an office building. These functions are typically hooked on a single control panel where it is possible to automate or remotely control energy use. For example, if a conference room is not being used, lights or cooling can be programmed to switch off automatically. For small businesses, there are smart devices designed for home use that they can also use.
This will address the problem of keeping on electronic devices in offices even if nobody is working. By using automated systems, a business can automatically decrease its energy use, meaning fewer carbon emissions. This will not be only good for the environment but will also save a company on electricity cost.
2.) Using Print Monitoring Features To Decrease Paper Usage
Problems Addressed: Deforestation, Waste Disposal
The business sector consumes large amounts of paper. Even with many processes already digitalised, printing documents still remains a necessity. More paper being used means more demand which means more trees will be cut off. Paper waste also contributes to the waste problem.
While there are several awareness programs like recycling, another method to be more mindful of paper usage is by keeping track of how much exactly is being printed. This can be done by selecting printers that have tracking features. This will give business owners an idea which employees print too much of what type of documents. For example, if it was discovered through tracking that employees have a habit of printing email threads that run several pages, make it a policy to restrict email printing only when necessary like when going to outdoor meetings where there is no internet coverage. Otherwise, a “no email printing” policy should be enforced most of the time.
3.) Allow Employees To Do Remote Work
Problems Addressed: Air Pollution, Climate Change
When employees are given the flexibility to work remotely, even for just a couple of days in a week, this saves a lot in terms of energy use. Car emissions from vehicles contribute a lot to air pollution. If employees work from home, they can save on transportation cost and also help in lessening air pollution.
4.) Use Cloud Technology Instead of Physical Servers
Problems Addressed: Climate Change, Waste Disposal
Many companies use computer servers to store their data. These systems usually consume a lot of energy because they need to run 24/7. These servers also require a standard average temperature so cooling methods are usually employed so they will not crash.
Instead of using these physical servers, companies should consider shifting their data to the Cloud. This will reduce the carbon emissions as less electricity is consumed. Because the Cloud is a virtual server, electronic waste can also be minimised as these devices usually end up in landfills and could be toxic.
Make Environment Your Business
Everyone has a responsibility towards the planet, whether it is a business or an individual. If companies start implementing these simple changes, these efforts will significantly help in resolving these environmental concerns.
Guest Author Bio
Richard Kao is the Sales Director of the UK-based office and tech solutions provider COS Sales. His day to day tasks involve managing client accounts, helping customers with queries, and directing his team to ensure the best results. He has extensive experience in the B2B world and lots of knowledge to share as a result.