How businesses can go green

green

Being environmentally friendly is a growing business imperative, and technology can help shrink your carbon footprint

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The environment is becoming an increasingly pressing concern for governments and societies at large, but business, with its unrelenting focus on profits, has been slower to become receptive to the environmental agenda.

But now, waking up to the fact that it can save precious pounds as well as boosting brand appeal, tech businesses are choosing to go green in ever larger numbers - industry leaders such as Apple, Google and Capgemini among them. 

Here, we illustrate five ways that businesses can easily shrink their carbon footprint by turning to greener technologies.

Go paperless

This is one of the easiest ways to ensure your office gets a little greener, considering you probably have a mostly paperless office anyway. Scanning documents and using cloud-based storage systems over paper-based are easy ways to reduce the amount of paper circulating the office. This also makes the office more efficient too, as paper-based systems can quickly being chaotic and confusing. Archiving in the cloud is much more efficient and user friendly. 

Make sure your suppliers are environmentally friendly

In 2011, Apple fell foul of environmental activists when it was discovered that it had partnered with Chinese firms that were not correctly disposing of waste. Since then, the company has put effort into helping its partners become more environmentally responsible and make more ethically sourced products.

If your company is producing products, this is definitely an area you should think about, to try to ensure you are sourcing and producing your goods in the most ethical and enviornomentally friendly way. 

Reuse and recycle 

As an extension of going paperless, you can also aim to reuse and recycle everything you can in the office. Offices generally buy disposable pens that are thrown away as soon as they're empty. Instead, you can switch to pens that can be refilled after they have been depleted. In general, you can also adopt recycling to reduce the amount of waste destined for landfill that the office produces. This can mean something as simple as recycling empty milk cartons used in the kitchen. 

You can also begin to purchase recycled toilet paper and tissues. 

If your company has a retail arm, you can make sure that the bags you give to customers are of the reusable variety, these can also be branded with the company logo which can be a good way to raise visibility, too. 

Companies such as 3 Step IT UK are even bringing this mentality to tech products, having refurbished more than 300,000 technological devices to date.

Adjust your energy needs 

Look at how you can reduce the amount of energy you use - this is also a great way to save money. An easy way to do this is to switch to energy saving or LED lightbulbs which last longer and consume less power. 

If you're using old appliances, consider swapping them for newer, more energy efficient ones. 

If you want to go a step further, consider how your whole office is powered. You current provider may offer you the option to switch to a green source of power, such as solar or wind power. This will increase your bill, but only slightly. 

Use green web hosting 

There are a growing number of green web hosts on offer, which take part in a range of environmentally friendly activities such as using renewable energy or adopting carbon offsets. 

The change doesn't have to cost you, most of these actually offer their services for the same or cheaper price than other web hosts. 

This can also apply to how environmentally friendly the data centres your company uses are. For example, Capgemini highlights its use of more sustainable data centres as part of its wider drive to go green. "

Our Merlin data centre, for example, is one illustration of the innovations we have employed," said James Robey, global head of corporate sustainability at Capgemini. "It's recognised as one of the most sustainable in the world, powered by renewable energy and constructed on a brownfield site with 95% recyclable materials."

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