Greening your business

This is the year I’m stepping it up a notch to “green” my businesses. I have the environment top of mind when making commercial (and personal!) decisions.

Mother earth has taken a battering over the last decade, and if the recent catastrophic natural disasters and unpredictable weather changes in Australia, let alone the world, are anything to go by, we all need to be responsible for our part in building a more sustainable and environmentally conscious world.

Try your hand at these top five and seriously simple initiatives I’ve implemented to green my business, and you’ll see how easy it can be to make small and steady changes whilst educating and raising awareness’ amongst employees, suppliers and clients…

1. Minimise printing

Keep inhouse printing to an absolute minimum! We rarely print anything and edit 95% of our documents and artworks on-screen. Each year we go through less than one box of printer paper, and we’re aiming to reduce that by half this year.

For a marketing and creative services company this is pretty extraordinary as it’s standard practice in our industry to print off documents and proofs, handwrite changes on them, then scan and send the marked-up version back.

TIP: We use the free version of Adobe Acrobat Reader DC as it has all the basic tools we need for marking up documents on-screen. The paid Pro version is even better if you need the extra tools.


2. Paperless office

Electronic storage of all your documents and notes is 110% the way to go. More secure than ever, online and cloud-based storage systems have revolutionised offices globally!

My businesses scan and electronically file everything in a very systematic way – making it incredibly easy for anyone in the team to immediately find exactly what they need as we all follow the same filing system. I’m sure this drives new team members insane, but once they learn the ropes, it’s an amazing way to work.

Once scanned, any paper copies are shredded and head straight to the recycling bin. The only pieces of paper we keep are receipts (for the good old tax man) however even these have an electronic copy stored in our accounting system.

TIP: We love DropBox for Business as our cloud-based document storage system. It seamlessly integrates with other programs and allows for an easily accessible document folders on your computer and devices that can accessed by multiple team members and has good “version control” to help avoid multiple versions or people editing the same document at the same time.


3. Reusable coffee cups

How much takeaway coffee does your team consume each workday? If it’s anything like our office, it’s probably a lot! As a gift to kick off the New Year, I purchased each staff member a reusable takeaway coffee cup. Something so simple, but extremely well received. And did you know KeepCups help keep over 1 million disposable cups away from landfill every MINUTE!

We now have no more paper takeaway coffee cups filling up our bins thanks to these little environmentally friendly fellas, each cup can be personalised with colours and styles (I picked a different colour combo for each person), and the bonus part is our local coffee man gives us a discount for providing our own cups!

TIP: My team love the Brew Cork Edition KeepCup. I got them from Kitchen Warehouse. Double walled glass cup, with a sustainably sourced natural cork heat-proof band.


4. Sustainable purchasing

Making green purchasing decisions is easier than you think. Start by simply asking your suppliers if they have product options available that are made from recycled materials or are sustainably sourced. You’ll be surprised by how many options are available.

We take this to the next level and have begun asking our clients at every opportunity if they would like a sustainably sourced alternative option included in their quotes. Professional printing is a big part of our service, so we’ve used this as our starting point and are continuing to source sustainable options across all areas of our business – for us and our clients.


5. Team building initiatives

Make your next team outing or charity drive a green one! Each quarter, my businesses support the communities we operate in with various initiates and fundraisers.

As a team, we’ve agreed to focus on counteracting greenhouse emissions by each planting a tree within the next month. Whilst it’s a small gesture, we’ll be posting it to social media with the hashtag #gogreen and hope to generate even more interest and participation from family, friends, clients and suppliers to ramp up the carbon reducing and air purifying benefits.


One of the biggest things I’ve learnt when going green is to ensure you clearly explain why you are implementing the change to your team members and educate them on the topic. This encourages participation, raises awareness and helps reinforce the importance reducing, reusing, recycling – and hopefully creating a ripple effect of actions that spread further than you think.

There are so many other great ways to green a business, my implementation ideas list is growing daily; from ways to move towards zero waste, adding live plants (no more fakes!) to your office, to harnessing renewable energy sources and reducing business travel emissions.

We have a long way to go and the options are endless – but big or small, I figure starting somewhere is dramatically better than doing nothing.

Good luck and let us know on our social what your best tips are for greening your business, home and life!


Written by Managing Director Rhianna at Harby Studios.


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