How To: Go Eco

From bee hives on your roof to compostable coffee cups in your café, Sally-Jayne Wright looks at how you can make your business greener

Buy second-hand
Check out used or reconditioned freezers, fridges, washing machines and cookers; make sure you know what you’re buying or ask someone who does, to buy on your behalf. Older, reconditioned appliances may not be as energy efficient as recent models so you’ll have to weigh up short versus long-term cost savings.

Switch to energy efficient lighting
Trade incandescent or older fluorescent light bulbs for light-emitting diode (LED) or compact fluorescent (CFL) lights. If you have five years left on your lease, the savings could pay for the project before the lease ends. Riverford Organic has had auto-switch-off for ten years in the office and plans LED lighting and sensor lighting for their new office build.

Go green
It pays to know the eco-credentials of the products you stock. Are they local? Do they use minimal or recycled packaging? Is your fish Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)-certified? A good green story provides fodder for your website, newsletter, tweets, Facebook page and even local papers.

Consider a bee hive
Fortnum & Mason’s in Piccadilly has had four colonies of Welsh black bees up top since 2008 and sells the honey in store. Without bees, we would not have any produce to sell, so any bee-friendly initiative you can take
even planting lavender outside the store - is worth doing and great for self-promotion.

Greener menus
IKEA launched vegetarian meatballs alongside the Swedish meatballs served in its cafes, because of concerns about greenhouse gas emissions from the production of beef and pork. Could you introduce meat-free Mondays? If this is a step too far because you pride yourself on your meat, promote the idea of buying the very best quality. Educate customers on how to cook it carefully and use every bit of the animal. Sell the idea of eating first-rate meat in smaller quantities with plenty of local, seasonal vegetables.

What about the washing up? Riverford Organic uses eco-friendly cleaning products in all kitchens and in its restaurant, The Field Kitchen. You’ll find greener supplies at ethicalsuperstore.com.

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