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Going Green

Sophie Henderson

Marketing Assistant at Shaw

Make your company more sustainable

A sustainable company means making conscious business choices that reduce waste, energy, and harm to the environment. As corporations produce over 30 million tonnes of waste annually (UK Government 2021 figures), it’s imperative that we all do our part to make our operations more sustainable. Whether it’s something simple like switching to recycled packaging or more substantial like investing in an electric vehicle, there are many strategies you can adopt to make your company more environmentally friendly. Here are some of our favourites.

Aim for a paperless office

Something that the Shaw team are aiming towards is an entirely paperless office. Although operating completely digitally can be challenging, we believe that it is important that all companies limit their paper use. Working from home has meant that, more than ever, our team are sharing and downloading files through cloud-based platforms like Dropbox, Google Drive and Trello, and using the accounting platform Xero means that we can quickly raise and process invoices electronically. Not only does a paperless office help the environment, but using cloud-based systems means documents are more organised and accessible than traditional filing systems.

Recycle, recycle, recycle

You can’t recycle enough. If you have the capacity, setting up a reuse section in your workplace is a great way for employees to exchange items they no longer need, whether that’s desk chairs, keyboards or even clothing. Broken and used pens often almost always end up in the bin, so if you can, try to recycle these. Be sure to use recycled paper – this is higher quality than ever before and is often indistinguishable from ‘regular’ paper.

Statistics show that 80 per cent of consumed office paper is completely wasted (Phs Wastekit 2020) so always use both sides of the paper, and consider setting up a collection tray in each room for pieces that have only been used on one side. Having clearly labelled bins for paper, plastic and cans makes it simple for staff to recycle, and this is exemplified by our office space here at Clockwise in Leith. If you still need to further encourage your staff to recycle, you can even set up a contest where you award your most dedicated recycler with an e-gift card or perhaps an extra day of annual leave.

Say no to single use plastics

Boycotting single use plastics is a key initiative to reducing your company’s environmental impact while appearing attractive to customers. Sustainable packaging is a great place to start, with cardboard being a great alternative as it can be recycled up to 25 times and is often made from recycled materials.

Go the extra mile and avoid single use plastics in your workspace. At Shaw, we take pride in our (single use) plastic-free workspace and the fact that we each bring in our own reusable water bottle and coffee cup. When it comes to coffee, almost all pods go straight to landfill, so choose ground instead. Our office coffee shop, Two Hands, even gives away free used coffee grounds for enriching your garden and compost.

Consider introducing some more recycled paper products into your business. These now come in a range of options, including envelopes, paper cups, and folders. We also recommend opting for refillable pens or supplies made from recycled or sustainable materials —these are available on most office supply sites and are now more affordable than ever.

Appoint a green committee

Having an in-house green team to focus on your sustainability practices means you can keep on top of environmental trends, benefit from group brainstorms, and devise a climate strategy. Some ideas worth pitching include introducing compost bins to your workplace or switching to LED lighting and non-toxic cleaning products.

TOP TIP: In your green committee, try to include an executive member of staff so that progress can be made quickly and easily.

Print sparingly and ethically

When printing is necessary, try to use higher quality, ethically sourced paper. On the occasions where we need to print materials and visuals for clients, we tend to use high quality paper that’s CO2 neutral and is sourced from responsibly managed forests.

And if you want your printing to be more sustainable, we recommend using litho printing, which uses soy-based inks rather than powder-based inks. Produced from soyabeans, soy ink is a renewable resource and can provide a more accurate colour match than traditional solvent-based ink.

More information

If you’d like some assistance preparing your sustainable business strategy, then please do not hesitate to get in touch. We’d be happy to help.