How to maintain your eco-friendly progress made pre-Covid-19

24 April 2020, 10:58 AM
  • While nobody would say that the coronavirus was a good thing, it’s undeniable that the pandemic and our global response to it has made business owners in almost every industry ask some pressing questions, says Ava Neilson
How to maintain your eco-friendly progress made pre-Covid-19

With many working from home, massive disruptions to supply chains, and an impending financial recession, there is a simple inability to carry on with “business as usual.” More forward thinking enterprises are wondering whether these disruptions are a blessing in disguise, forcing leaders to be agile, rethink old strategies and adopt truly sustainable approaches for the post-Covid world.

If you’re one of the businesses who have developed more eco-friendly ways of doing business pre-pandemic, you might be wondering how to bank all that progress for the day when lockdown starts to lift and life returns somewhat to normal.

Here are 3 ways to make sure you don’t lose your momentum:

Rethink recycling, packaging and sustainability
The alarming death toll and rising economic fallout have made certain conversations around environmental social issues front of mind. In challenging times, rather than abandoning previous initiatives to do business more sustainably and ethically, businesses are inspiring one another to do better. No longer can any company turn a blind eye or put profits before the wellbeing of their employees, their customers or the planet.

Rising to the challenges that have come with the covid-19 pandemic has perhaps given people a keener appreciation of the vulnerability and unsustainability of cheap migrant labour, Chinese imports that undercut local industry or suppliers with exploitative practices.

One of the best ways to become more conscious as a small or medium sized enterprise is to commit to reducing demand for unrecyclable packaging, or finding innovative and responsible ways to use or reuse what’s already available. Now’s the time to make the switch to packaging suppliers with a clear commitment to green business, or redesigning your product or service to reflect growing consumer distaste for ‘throwaway’ products. Sourcing local supply chains may make more sense with international markets being so volatile, but there’s no reason not to stay local and low-emission for the foreseeable future.

Rethink your energy use
There are many good reasons to make sure that you’re doing your best to work in an energy efficient building, not least of which is that it’s a legal requirement to have an energy performance certificate if you lease or sell commercial properties. There are penalties for not having the proper certification, and, according to Nexus Energy Solutions, “If you fail to obtain a commercial EPC, you could be legible to pay a fine of between £500 and £5000.”

However, there’s another obvious benefit: being conscious of and taking responsibility for emissions can only improve the environmental reputation of any business. Consumers today are more environmentally conscious than ever, and many will actively want to know if you’re committed to sustainable practices. An energy certificate ranks your commercial property’s CO 2 emissions on a grade from A to G, and is a non-negotiable for any organisation wishing to cut their footprint. Not only will understanding your energy efficiency help you make improvements and possibly even
save money, but it can be a valuable away to share your commitment to being part of the solution – and attract more business in the long term.

Rethink your commuting strategy
It’s no secret that lockdowns and travel restrictions worldwide have given mother nature levels of peace and quiet not known for centuries. As more people stay at home, NASA is now sharing satellite images of drastic reductions in airborne pollution over China, and the rest of the world has similar reports of rejuvenated natural spaces.

If your staff are finding a way to productively work from home right now, it may have more than crossed your mind to completely reconsider the necessity of a commute to an office or workspace. Many businesses are now using the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to make remote work a real possibility going forward. Less travel means less pollution, less traffic, fewer hours spent in that traffic, more flexibility and arguably happier employees. As the world tries to figure out not just how to survive under lockdown right now, but also to thrive once the worst of the crisis is over, it’s worth rethinking the necessity of conventional work practices. If Skype meetings, remote work, a more relaxed attitude and a refined definition of “essential” are working right now, why not keep going?

Though deeply challenging, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly inspired many people to ask exciting new questions. Fortunately, as a business owner, you’re perfectly positioned to rework this crisis into real opportunity.

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