Are you doing enough to boost your employer's green credentials?

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In 2018, EY announced its ‘biggest step yet’ to reduce its plastics consumption, by announcing plans to stop serving and providing single-use plastic and paper cups at all of its UK offices.

Disposable cups

The firm switched to reusable alternatives on a site-by-site basis. Employees were given a reusable cup and bottle for personal use and disposable cups were not made available.

According to the firm, the move, alongside a phased-out of plastic cutlery and catering equipment, reduced plastics consumption by more than 7.7 million pieces, the equivalent of 57 tonnes per year.

EY’s environmental lead Caroline Artis said: ‘Our commitment as an organisation to minimise our environmental impact has resulted in the decision to switch all our offices away from single-use plastic. I am so proud of this initiative supporting our continued efforts to build a better working world.’

In addition to looking to reduce single-use plastic waste, you can improve your green credentials by helping to take a review of your employer’s energy usage.

Standby

Do staff leave lights on when they are not in use? Are machinery and computers being left on standby overnight, when they could be switched off?

Carrying out a thorough review of your company power usage may also throw up savings and reduce outgoings on energy bills, while helping to protect the environment at the same time.

Some of the easiest tasks (such as switching off lights) can reduce your energy consumption up to 40%. Maybe suggest clear signage around your offices, if lights are constantly left on at your work.

It may also be worth considering prolonging the life of all necessary equipment (when feasible), as this will help to drive down your costs, as well as limit your environmental impact.

Introducing a regular maintenance schedule (if there isn’t one already in place) will also reduce the amount of harmful by-products caused by running poorly looked-after equipment. It will also save you the costs of regular replacements, which harms both company finances and the environment.

Lobby

Employees can also lobby employers to use fair trade, organic or local products.

When purchasing products or services for the workplace, ask your employer to consider the journey it has travelled to reach the office and its carbon footprint.

The item or service may be cheaper from further away – however, if the company looks at the whole life of the product, rather than the individual cost to the company, a change towards a greener product may be possible.

This article was first published in Student Accountant

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