30 December 2015
2 min read
Recent research from the Federation of Small Businesses found that 70pc of SMEs cited protecting the environment as a key motivating factor when it comes to saving energy. But there are real business benefits in going green, too.
Here are five reasons why small businesses are increasingly embracing leaner, greener tech.
It saves money
Toby Robins, sustainable development director at green consultancy Wiles Greenworld, says:"There are many financial benefits to being a green business, from those waste-cutting, energy-saving measures that have historically been implemented under the banner of ‘efficiency’, through to the harder-to-quantify financial benefits derived from shared-value customer acquisition and retention, and being an employer of choice."
Turn unused machines off. Turn the thermostat down a degree or two (it probably won’t even be noticed). Don’t leave lights on in meeting rooms. Every little helps, and it saves the company money, too.
Green machines are lean machines
When investing in new technology, the greenest models make increasing financial sense. For example, if you use motor-driven machinery for manufacture, variable-speed drives can reduce energy consumption by as much as 60pc, according to ABB Group.
And if you provide company cars, more fuel-efficient models can save you hundreds of pounds a year.
In the cloud
There are also significant savings to be made from basic office equipment, which tends to be more environmentally friendly. A move to cloud computing from desktop-based applications can mean less power-hungry office-based equipment and employees who can work from anywhere, cutting down on unnecessary commutes.
"Flexibility aside, many cloud providers offer pay-per-user services, which are significantly cheaper than expensive onsite IT infrastructure that requires excessive processing power to run," says Simon Osman, CEO of cloud services provider iFollowOffice.
“Not only is this costly for businesses, it’s costly for the environment. The fact is the cloud can massively reduce the carbon footprint of many business applications.”Simon Osman, CEO of iFollowOffice, cloud provider
"USB devices are capable of holding significant amounts of data," he says. "By providing employees with the ability to plug this type of device in, the organisation must also recognise the potential for critical data leakage, as well as the potential for malicious code to be introduced to the network."
The printer tends to be one of the busiest pieces of equipment in many SME offices, and a sensible printer policy can save energy and money. That would see employees routinely asking themselves if a document really needs to be printed before every print job. Printing on both sides of the paper should be second nature.
If your printers are due for replacement, it’s worth looking for products certified by Blue Angel for confirmation you’re choosing the most energy-saving ones. New HP laserjets with Jetintelligence, for example, run with up to 53pc less energy consumption.
Better brand, happier staff
People want to work for companies that are part of the solution, rather than part of the problem.
Being perceived as a green company is great for your brand image, and can make staff recruitment and retention easier.
"In fact, companies that are ahead of the environmental curve benefit in all sorts of ways", says Mr Robins. "There is an increasing volume of environmental legislation and it is more expensive, less efficient and more disruptive to have to change what you do to meet legal obligations than to already be operating in a manner that is compliant."
Wiles Greenworld is transitioning to becoming a zero-carbon operation but even more modest changes to policy and technology can make any SME a leaner, greener and more sought-after place to work