If companies choose to go down that route, there’s a number of ways companies and businesses can be more sustainable.
In this guide, we list a few of those key ways.
Summary – How Companies & Businesses Can Be More Sustainable
Ways that companies and businesses might become more sustainable, might include but aren’t limited to:
More efficient energy use
Use of cleaner energy sources
Use freshwater more sustainably and efficiently
Treating and re-using waste water
– Pollution & Environmental Damage
Reducing greenhouse gas emissions
Reducing total waste
Managing generated waste more effectively, or in a more sustainable way
– Company/Business Specific Operations
Different industries may have different key sustainability factors or metrics/indicators unique to that industry, that the companies and businesses in that industry might focus on
1. More Efficient Energy Use
There’s several ways to do this, but one example might be:
– With more efficient electricity use in an office, by installing energy efficient lighting, devices, and technology like timers and sensors
2. Use Of Cleaner Energy Sources
As one example:
– A business may be using electricity from the grid, but may also choose to install a secondary solar panel setup that can supply a portion of energy for business operations throughout the year
This may have the added benefit of giving that business credits, depending on the set up and local rules and regulations
3. Use Freshwater More Sustainably & Efficiently
There’s several ways to do this.
A few ways might be to:
– Install water efficient devices, appliances and systems
– Look into the option of rainwater harvesting
4. Treating & Re-using Wastewater
Waste water contributes to both water scarcity and water pollution.
Some waste water can be treated, and some can’t
Some waste water can be re-used, and some can’t
If waste water can be treated before being discharged, it might decrease water pollution and other types of pollution.
If waste water can be re-used, it means that new fresh water doesn’t have to be used as frequently.
Overall, this may lower a business’ water footprint.
5. Minimizing Different Types Of Pollution
Such as water pollution, air pollution, and general waste pollution.
Water pollution might happen when untreated waste or waste water is discharged into the environment (such as rivers, lakes and the ocean)
Air pollution can occur via the burning of fossil fuels and other resources and materials.
There’s many different types of waste pollution that businesses can be responsible for.
Treatment of waste before it’s discharged, and waste and contaminant capture devices/systems, are two examples of ways to minimize different types of pollution.
Another indirect way might be by trying to incorporate recycled material into products and services where practical and economically feasible.
6. Reducing Greenhouse Gas Emissions
A simple way to reduce greenhouse gas emissions for all companies and businesses is by partially or completely switching to cleaner energy sources like renewables.
But, reducing greenhouse gases can also be industry specific – transport and agriculture for example may have specific solutions they may focus on to reduce their carbon footprint.
Planting trees is one way companies can start an initiative/project to sequester carbon from the atmosphere.
7. Reducing Total Waste
Businesses can generally audit their processes and see where waste and loss can be reduced.
One example is for businesses that use a lot of paper – is there any way to go digital instead of having to use and dispose of paper?
Another example is businesses that use a lot of packaging like supermarkets – are there initiatives or alternatives that will cut down on the amount of packaging waste?
8. More Effective & Sustainable Waste Management
This refers to the entire waste strategy of a business.
An audit of waste generated can be a good way to understand how waste can better be sorted and sent to the right stream – general waste (which may go to landfill or incineration), recyclables, organic waste, and waste that can be reused or commercialized elsewhere.
Waste by products in some instances may also be commercialized elsewhere (like for example where fly ash from power plants is used in cement and bricks/blocks).
A rough waste hierarchy might involve:
– Avoid waste where possible
– Reduce waste where possible
– Reuse materials and products where possible
– Recycle waste and products where possible
– Send other waste to the right waste stream where possible
9. Company/Business Specific Operations
Different industries may have different key sustainability factors or metrics/indicators that the companies and businesses in that industry might focus on
A few examples of this might be:
– Decreasing deforestation for cattle farming, soy, palm and other similar operations
– Sourcing from sustainable food suppliers for restaurants, supermarkets and other ‘food’ related businesses
Other Sustainability Strategies For Businesses
This guide is not a definitive guide, but rather a basic guide to outline some simple sustainability options for businesses.
There are many other options for businesses other than what is listed above.