Prevention is better than cure in SME eco matters

1.   The first step is to monitor consumption of key resources; typically gas, electricity and water as well as waste generated.

2.   Look at the design of your operational areas. Positioning desks near windows and painting surfaces in lighter colours maximises natural lighting.

3.   Cycle to and from work. Save money and maintain your health, while also reducing your carbon footprint.

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4.   Use any outdoor space you have. A garden area for your workforce increases wellbeing, but also absorbs carbon and can reduce summer overheating.

5.   Consider your waste as a resource you have paid for before thinking about disposal options. Costs for recycled waste can include purchase prices and embedded energy charges.

6.   Turn down your thermostat. Reducing heating temperatures by just 1oC can reduce your heating bill by eight per cent.

7.   Implement an Environmental Management System. It is a great way to demonstrate to customers that you are actively reducing your environmental impact.

8.   Seek inspiration from your staff. Staff are often brimming with ideas on how to save energy or money.

9.   Reduction before generation. Renewable energy sources such as solar panels can involve a significant outlay. By reducing your electricity demand before investing in hardware you will reduce overall payback time.

10. In terms of core products, circular economy strategies could help to future-proof your against volatile materials costs. Product passports and designing for disassembly maximises closed loop recycling potential.