5 big ideas for a small business to help fight climate change

You love the planet, we love the planet. So what are some things we can do to help?

Read on as we share some Mad thoughts for anyone wondering what they can do and what would happen if we didn’t just follow the norm.

1. Consider switching to electric when upgrading your fleet

“Electric cars? They’ll never take off!” they said. “They take too long to charge, and the range is limited” they said.

Things have moved on apace and electric vehicles are now everywhere, proving to be both practical and fun (Nissan) and, as demonstrated by Tesla, desirable. Major companies such as DHL and DPD are switching to electric, too, to help reduce their carbon footprint.

Going electric is a great way of reducing the dependence on fossil fuels, while also being more energy efficient.

So, how are electric vehicles more energy efficient? Electric vehicles convert 77% of the electrical energy from the grid to power at the wheels. Compare this figure to the 12–30% of the energy stored in gasoline, and it’s clear why switching to electric when the fleet is due for an upgrade is a smart ecological and economical move.

With the incredible designs now coming out by leading innovators and car designers, your company can also turn heads (for all the right reasons) and invest in the cutting edge of green tech early.

2. Meeting or conference? Consider switching to plant milks / filtered water

Twenty years ago, plant milks hardly had a mention or any shelf space. But look now! Times are changing. If we think about how many times we have a tea or coffee with milk, and the number of meetings we have with guests, we can make a big difference just by offering plant milk alternatives.

In the last few years, the demand for plant-based milks has gone crazy. There are now a huge variety of non-dairy milks: over fifteen different types, including oat, soya, hemp seed, coconut and almond, not to mention the new disrupters entering the marketplace. There are even milks especially created to work really well in hot drinks and avoid any curdling or splitting.

The great news is these plant-based milks taste amazing and are accessible and affordable. We love Oatly Barista and unsweetened soya milk, and so do our clients.

Plant milks are better for the planet. Dairy (and animal) products are one of the leading drivers of climate change. Simply swapping to oat milk, for example, could help reduce carbon emissions and, over a lifetime, make a huge difference.

Many companies and coffee shops now offer plant milk alternatives. Why not try substituting dairy milks with plant-based alternatives during meetings and get-togethers? They’ll make a great talking point, and staff and visitors will really appreciate your eco efforts.

What about water? We all know the impact of plastic bottles; another easy swap could be to use filtered water in glass or reusable water bottles. Keep a few in the fridge, and they’re always ready to enjoy!

3. Go for innovative plant-based menus

Did you hear about the 77th Golden Globe Awards serving a fully plant-based menu for the very first time, to help cut carbon emissions? And councils serving more plant-based foods rather than animal-based ones?

Major awards and events are going plant based? Why? Well (1) plant foods are delicious, but (2) they carry a much lower carbon footprint and environmental impact than animal products.

“By acknowledging animal agriculture’s role in the degradation of our planet and boldly taking measures to do its part to reduce harm, the HFPA [at the Golden Globes] has shown great leadership” – Joaquin Phoenix.

Sources of plant-based protein such as peas, beans, nuts and tofu all have very low carbon footprints compared to dairy and meat. Even when plant foods are compared to animal products from local farms, the carbon emissions are still lower.

Thankfully there’s been a revolution in plant-based food over the last few years, and the image of hippies eating lettuce is totally outdated. Plant based is one of the fastest growing sectors, with a huge range of meat and dairy alternatives now available.

Why not introduce more plant-based foods such as fresh fruit in meetings or lunches? It’ll spark interesting conversations and have a positive effect on the planet and the health and wellbeing of your team too. For ideas and inspiration, you might like to watch ‘Livekindly’ (YouTube) or give the Wicked Healthy range by Chad and Derek Sarno a whirl (Tesco). “There is no downside to eating more plants! The more you do it the better and easier it gets. It’s always been about working towards doing good and being of benefit for the planet, people and animals!” – Chad and Derek. Rad!

4. Choose non-toxic vegetable-based inks

Making an eco-positive move can be as easy a change as going for veggie inks! Some printer inks are made from petroleum; vegetable-based inks are more sustainable to produce and are renewable.

Why not try making the change in your office and see how you get on? Vegetable-based inks are easily available online, and there are many companies that can offer advice to help you make the change.

5. Avoid plastic

We’ve all seen images of divers swimming through an underwater forest of plastic trash, or the huge plastic island developing in the Pacific Ocean. And if you haven’t seen it, check out the ‘A Plastic Whale’ documentary, which will really open your eyes about single-use plastic.

Now some of you might be thinking there’s more to worry about than a few plastic bottles floating in the ocean. But the truth is that the planet is awash with the stuff and it’s just not good for other animals inhabiting our planet or the environment.

Plastic can take hundreds of years to decompose and leaches harmful chemicals throughout its lifetime. In the past, boats were filled with rubbish to be dumped into rivers and seas; this was local council’s idea of getting rid of rubbish ‘responsibly’ rather than recycling. Furthermore, poorly located landfill sites are leaking rubbish back into waterways too.

So what can we do? Aside from lobbying Government for better recycling facilities and encouraging suppliers to use less single-use plastic, we can also make a difference. The good news is that avoiding plastic in the office has never been easier!

Cups, cutlery, water bottles and packaging are the low-hanging fruit to tackle first. Reusable alternatives are easy to come by. You can now buy reusable [insert anything] nowadays! Think stainless steel or bamboo for cutlery, straws and drinkware, and ceramic for dishware. All of these are long-lasting eco-friendly materials.

The most successful businesses are ditching plastic and going sustainable. Don’t get left behind!

Final thoughts…

Making your business more eco-friendly has never been easier. It’s also a lot of fun.

Get your team involved in the transition – ask them for suggestions and give incentives to go green where possible.

Soon, governments all over the world could be introducing new carbon taxes and penalties for those who don’t comply with new ‘green’ regulations. So it’s definitely worth investing in the future now by getting your business eco-friendly ready. You’ll save time and money and help secure a more sustainable future for everyone. It could help you win more clients, too, with many citing eco credentials as a decision factor when choosing a supplier or making a purchase.

We hope you found this piece helpful. If you need any advice on making changes to your business, we’ll be happy to help. Just reach out to us and we’ll help you go green!

What are some of the most surprising facts you’ve found and what changes have you made or are you making already?