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In order to save resources and protect the environment, companies must act sustainable in their day-to-day work. Even small changes and behaviors can already help with the environmental footprint.   

Companies that operate sustainably not only save money, but also score points with employees. According to a global study by HP (PDF download), 61 % of employees believe that sustainability is mandatory for a modern company. At the same time, the number of customers who value sustainable companies is growing. According to a study by rothmund insights, 42 % of all customers would forego convenience and pay more for sustainable products. It is noticeable that corporate responsibility is becoming increasingly important.

Even if companies do not produce their own products, they can make various changes to create a more sustainable work place. In most cases, small, simple measures add up to a lasting impact.

  1. Offering home office

Commuters are responsible for a large share of road-related CO2 emissions. Companies can reduce these emissions by offering flexible forms of work such as the home office.

  1. Opt for sustainable means of transport

If business trips are necessary, companies can favor the most environmentally friendly means of transportation. For short distances, for example, company bicycles can be used. For longer distances, incentives can be offered for public transportation.

If car travel is unavoidable, companies can expand their fleets to include hybrid or electric cars. These consume significantly less fuel and emit fewer pollutants, which protects the environment and reduces fuel costs.

  1. Use green electricity

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, electricity generation has a huge share of greenhouse gas emissions. To reduce the environmental footprint, companies can switch to renewable electricity sources, for example from wind or hydroelectric power, bio gas or solar power.

Switching electricity providers is usually not a big hassle. Companies that rely on green electricity can reduce their CO2 consumption by up to 80 % and also save money.

  1. Energy-saving light bulbs

In addition to the procurement of electricity, companies can also invest in sustainable light sources in their offices. For example, conventional light bulbs can be replaced by LED lighting fixtures, which save energy thanks to their long service life and high luminous efficacy.

  1. Save paper: „Think before you print“

In many places, paper can be easily replaced with the digitalization of documents, which also enables more flexible workplaces such as home office. Emails replace letters and shared documents replace several printouts for editing purposes. Digital signatures can even digitalize and speed up contractual processes with employees, customers, partners and service providers. As is often the case, sustainable solutions also optimize processes and save costs.

If there is no way around print outs, there are plenty ways to use recycled paper, energy-efficient printers and sustainable inks.

  1. Reduce energy consumption of IT hardware and kitchen appliances

Modern appliances usually save time and energy. This applies to kitchen appliances such as refrigerators or coffee machines, but also to servers and end devices such as computers or smartphones. When selecting equipment, companies can always look for high energy-saving classes.

If equipment needs to be replaced due to compliance or when the product gguarantee has run out, it can be reused by selling it for a small fee to employees or donate it. These measures also promote environmental awareness among employees.

In addition, employees can put their appliances into energy-saving mode during their lunch break, for example, and turn them off overnight (which, of course, does not apply to the refrigerator). When doing so, they must make sure to disconnect the devices completely from the mains, as they can consume electricity even when switched off. A power strip with an on/off switch can help with this.

  1. Design sustainable offices

The offices themselves can also be designed sustainably. For example, water dispensers can be used to reduce the number of plastic bottles ordered. It also makes sense to have a waste separation system to dispose of waste properly.

In addition, the premises can be transformed into „green offices“ by adding plants, for example. Plants are not only an aesthetic accessory, but also improve the indoor climate and the well-being of employees.

  1. Checking business partners for sustainability

Business relationships are an integral part of the general social and environmental footprint of a company. Even companies that don’t produce can make a change when it comes to working with service providers (caterers, merch shops), landlords or suppliers.

It makes sense to consider ethical (corruption and integrity), social (working conditions) and ecological (emissions and resource consumption) criteria. This can ensure that third-party companies also pay attention to their own ecological footprint.

With the right system, you can facilitate virtual work in the home office as well as the sharing of (digital) documents. Learn more about Microsoft Teams on our info page.

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Icon PersonMilos Kuhn is a student and works for the Corporate Communications-team at ec4u. He studied media management at Stuttgart Media University.