Corporates can help a great deal towards sensitizing people to the needs of the environment by adopting some basic eco-friendly practices themselves. Not only will they help in making the industry function in an eco-friendly way, it will also communicate a good message to the customers.
Some of the basic green habits that can be followed in the corporate way of life are discussed below:
Use recycled paper wherever you can. In the market today, you have handmade papers available that are created out of the cotton fibre collected from the rags. Most of these rags are recycled from the hosiery industry. Basic office stationery such as the visiting cards, letterheads, balance sheets and brochures can be created out of handmade paper. The latter is not even expensive, as is assumed by most of us. Handmade papers also have a longer life and unlike the regular papers, do not turn yellow with age.
Envelopes can be reused for internal circulation. All that needs to be done is using the stick-on labels to mask the earlier addresses. Disposal items such as the Styrofoam cups, plastic cutlery, plastic-bottled water and non-refillable pens can be replaced with items that can be reused. Scrap papers can be binded together for pads needed in meetings, instead of wasting new pads for the same. Use both sides of a paper when photocopying and producing reports, choose local products to reduce energy and pollution cost of transportation and re-use packaging materials.
The environment around the site of the office building should not be affected adversely by any construction activity. When the office building is being constructed, no hazardous materials should be used for filling up the site and any metal remnants should be removed and disposed off as soon as the work is done. For buildings, durable materials such as the fly ash instead of commercial bricks and eco-friendly paints which are low on chemical contents should be used.
For the interiors of the office building, eco-friendly materials such as mineral fibre for false ceilings or paints with minimum oil and chemical pigments should be used.
There should be a lot of open areas in the office building to avoid it developing a sick-building syndrome. There should be space for greeneries also for a refreshing ambience. If your office must have air-conditioning, ensure there is double glass. The vacuum within helps reduce the energy consumed by the air-conditioning. If you do not have air-conditioning system, have lots of windows and ventilators at the right height.
Make sure you work in a noise-free ambience as noise results in stress. Keep the noisy zones like fax pools and canteen away from working areas. If possible, create cavity walls, acoustic panels, partitions in natural mineral fibres or cladding walls to the make your working areas sound-free.
Do not waste energy and switch to energy-efficient appliances. You have plenty of options for the same today such as the low-energy light bulbs, bio-degradable building materials, CFC-free brands that can give your office a modern look and feel. Make best use of daylight by placing your working areas accordingly. Reduce lighting in areas like corridors where too much light is not required. Turn of electrical appliances when not in use. Invest in solar appliances like solar powered calculators wherever there is such a substitute. Make more communications online.
Gifting clients is an integral part of the corporate culture. Go for green gifts such as potted plants. Reject leather, plastics right away and go for eco-friendly products. This will also help build a brand image for the industry and carry forward the message of being sensitive to the needs of the environment.
Small steps like this can help achieve bigger goals needed to protect the environment and our resources.