Our industry has the 4 C’s and the great team at GreenBiz have the 3 R’s! The order of the Rs is important. First, you should reduce usage where possible. Instead of disposable cups, plates and utensils (not to mention coffee pods - click here to learn more on alternatives to pods), opt for glass and ceramic alternatives. HERE’S A TIP: Provide branded water bottles to employees to eliminate single use plastic in the office. Next, reuse items whenever possible. Cardboard boxes are a great example. When reducing or reusing aren’t possible, recycling is the next best thing. Many cities provide free recycling bins and have made the process less complicated.
The items you purchase to ensure your workplace functions, can be damaging to the environment due to their production processes. Recycled paper products maintain a circular economy and reduce overall waste. There’s an entire industry of ‘green cleaners’ that use all natural ingredients, keeping toxins out of our water supply, and their waste out of our landfills.
If your business ships products, packaging is a major part of your operation. A survey done by the shipping service Sendle found that 64 percent of consumers are more likely to make a purchase from a retailer offering compostable packaging (especially if it doesn’t cost more). Recycled paper and cardboard are tried and true sustainable packaging options, but there have been strides toward creating completely biodegradable packaging, resulting in zero waste at the end of its cycle. Another tip for jewelers is to provide branded, reusable tote bags to employees and customers. They provide a great consumer touch point in the community and help reduce waste.
Decking out your office doesn’t have to mean paying top dollar for brand-new furniture. It takes a lot of energy and raw material to make all those new tables, chairs, couches and desks. Go the green route instead by finding beautiful vintage pieces to fill your offices or by opting for recycled furniture. Keep it local and support a nearby antique, secondhand, or refurbished furniture store in your area.
Becoming energy efficient doesn’t only help shrink your carbon footprint, it also helps reduce your energy bill. Simple things can be done: invest in solar panels, use energy-efficient appliances; move to LED lights; automate lights with sensors; use smart thermostats; take advantage of natural light; and supply staff with laptops instead of desktop computers. Saving money and saving the planet are not mutually exclusive!
While most jewelers work in retail and therefore need an in-showroom presence, some jobs can be done remotely. As we all know from the last two years, there’s less need for people to be in a physical office. Remote work has taken off, allowing employees to have work-life flexibility and substantially reduce their time spent commuting. This is great for the environment. Fewer cars on the road, idling in traffic, equates to less carbon dioxide (CO2) being emitted into the air. This small change can help reduce traffic and a business’s overall carbon footprint.
When employees do need to be in the office, how their commute contributes to greenhouse gas emissions can still be influenced. Public transportation (buses, trains, vanpools) is the greenest way to commute, and you can encourage employees to take advantage of these transport options. Small businesses can provide employees with public transit benefits that help the environment, either directly or through their human resources (HR) software. Some businesses even incent their employees to carpool and ride bikes to work.
Websites use energy, too. The servers that host a website’s data are constantly on, using copious amounts of energy. Luckily, you can choose where to store your data. More and more, eco-conscious companies offset that energy usage to go carbon neutral.
Google has done a lot to decarbonize its data centers and claims its cloud services produce zero net carbon emissions. The largest cloud computing provider out there, Amazon, has promised to achieve the same by 2040 through wind and solar farms.
Web hosting isn’t the only way businesses can become carbon-neutral with the companies they choose to operate with. From cloud-based security systems to digital inter-company transactions and recordkeeping to shipping companies and couriers, carbon-neutral vendors can be found across every major industry. For many small businesses, the supply chain also has a big impact on their own footprint.
As we’ve mentioned, IGI is proud to work with SCS to achieve carbon neutrality by 2022 and support other small businesses to do the same through our sustainability effort, Jewelers On A Mission. After taking the above steps to become a more sustainable business, it is likely you will still have a carbon footprint. You can move the needle and achieve carbon neutrality with SCS by purchasing offsets. Visit SCS today to get started. The way forward is together!