Being a leader in business requires insight, perseverance, calculated risk-taking and, importantly, will. For anything to get done in business, someone with the power of the pen and the ability and desire to get things done must will it to happen. That holds true for anything, including stewarding a business towards a greener and more sustainable future.
Becoming a more environmentally friendly organization is something companies in all industries can and should work towards, even if they start out taking only small steps. With that in mind, below are four green moves that leaders can make in 2021 and beyond.
Switch to a Greener Bank
One of the first moves to make as a leader is to consider switching banks to one that has a reputation for more environmentally sustainable practices. This includes how and where they invest and, equally, divest their money. There are plenty of green banks that have distinguished themselves by making a much larger effort to produce positive environmental effects through their operations.
This includes things like decreasing or stopping their investing in and financing fossil fuel companies. Switching your business banking over to a financial institution that is trying to do more to help the environment involves due diligence and research on your part. Keep in mind that there are often benefits to switching commercial banks, including better rates on credit, credit cards and numerous other perks that can also make it worth your while.
Perform an Energy Audit
Energy audits are a great way to improve your sustainability while helping to cut costs at the same time. If you are willing to extend the audit to individual staff as well and offer to help subsidize the cost of their transition to things like less energy-intensive lighting, doors and windows, even better. You can also let clients know about your energy auditing and savings efforts, as it is not only good PR, but you could potentially increase the reach of your own initiatives by inspiring others.
Go “Lights Off”
Although this is “old school” science, it is essential to remember. The evidence demonstrates that when a firm only uses lighting when and where it is needed, the resulting energy savings not only cut demand for energy and minimise your carbon footprint but also positively impact the bottom line.
When lights (and screens) aren’t in use, consider using an AI to turn them off. Energy-saving AI is already an up-and-coming technology that energy-conscious businesses around the world are investigating and implementing.
Make Sure Employees Travel Sustainably
Travel comes with a heft carbon footprint. In fact, there are people who suggest, or at least wonder if humanity should give up travel for the sake of the planet. While this is a somewhat extreme position that isn’t feasible given our current global economy and its needs, an organization can change its rules to encourage sustainable travel practices.
These include taking less carbon-intensive nonstop flights, paying a carbon tax to fund remediation projects, bringing reusable supplies instead of single-use disposables, and using video conferencing more frequently.
Individual employees have options when it comes to reducing their carbon footprints and their environmental impact, sure, but only leaders are able to effect and approve systemic changes throughout the organization. You don’t have to upend or reorient your entire business model to consider yourself a greener company.
There are things you can do today that, while not effortless, certainly do not pose major financial risks. Things like switching to a greener bank, performing an energy audit, helping your employees perform their own, going lights off whenever possible and encouraging or enforcing sustainable travel can all help make a difference.