Hello, my name is David Knight and I am the Senior Business Support Officer for Investors in the Environment (iiE). iiE is a business scheme that helps companies set up a ‘management system’, which looks after the resources they use and identifies where improvements can be made to reduce them.
The vision of the scheme is to create sustainable businesses, where companies reduce the impact they are having on the environment. Once operational, the system is audited (which is an evidence-based review) and if successful, they are awarded an accreditation to demonstrate that their commitment to reducing the environmental impact has been achieved and they are continually working to make improvements where possible. This may sound technical, or not – depending on your understanding and potentially whether your company has its own Environmental Management System (EMS).
However, my blog today is to consider this: as individuals, we all have the power to make an impact on the environment both positively and negatively. Our decision to recycle, switch a light off, buy eco products or consider fair trade, organic or local produce will all have an effect on the environment and set the standard for our children. There is an ancient proverb that says “We have not inherited the Earth from our ancestors. We only borrow it from our children.”
If your company has an Environmental Management System, then you will be told to recycle, switch off lights and equipment, wear warm clothes to keep heating down, print only when necessary, travel by bike, walk or car-share, etc. These small changes and requirements will ultimately have an effect on the amount of resources the company uses, which looks good environmentally, but in essence it will reduce costs, saving the company money. Consider then what you do at home – do you recycle? Do you switch off lights as soon as you leave a room? Do you put on warmer clothes or turn your heating up? Do you only use paper when necessary? Do you think about getting on a bike to see someone or jump in the car?
Businesses have saved thousands of pounds a year by managing their resources. It is true, you will not save this amount as an individual, but by making small changes and considering how you manage your own resources at home, you can still potentially save hundreds of pounds. What is even better is that you will also be making a positive impact on the environment.
What if it is the other way around, if you are already doing everything as an individual? Then consider what your company is doing. Do they have an Environmental Management System and if not, are they managing their resources effectively? If you recycle at home, why don’t you recycle at work and encourage others to do the same. There is a very good possibility that your colleagues feel the same way so act together and encourage the company to do the same.
Businesses are merely a collection of people, working together to deliver a product or service. No matter what industry you are in or which company you work for, as a collection of people, businesses have the power to do some amazing things but only if individuals within the collection act positively. Small actions make a big difference so even as an individual, any small action you do can influence others to do the same. As more individuals are influenced and do the same, big changes will occur; but it starts with you.