Although our nation once relied on the concept of reducing, reusing, and recycling to lessen our environmental impact, many businesses are now turning to sustainability development as a means of reducing our overall carbon footprints and protecting the environment. In fact, it’s an initiative that can be adopted by many different companies in nearly every industry imaginable.
Here are six in particular:
Some individuals automatically associate information technology with clean energy and eco-friendliness. However, this isn’t always the case. Computers that constantly draw some amount of power, even when otherwise powered down, provide one of the most common examples of wasteful IT.
Fortunately, many IT companies are now taking a proactive stance toward the issue of environmental protection and sustainability. An offshoot of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency known as ENERGY STAR is a great example of green technology. Since they only provide certification for energy efficient products, and because the U.S. government heavily regulates them, you can take solace in the knowledge that your ENERGY STAR-certified computer or device is helping the fight against environmental pollution and waste.
There’s no denying that modern construction methods result in a lot of waste. In regions such as the United Kingdom, the construction and demolition sector ranks as the largest producer of waste in the nation. In case this wasn’t enough, the latest studies on biodiversity throughout England identified approximately 500 species of plants and animals that have become extinct in recent years.
Despite the troublesome news, there are several ways the construction industry can reduce and minimize their overall waste. Using new, eco-friendly materials or tools, allocating resources more effectively and recycling when appropriate are all great strategies to employ. Construction managers can also cut back on water usage by monitoring consumption or utilizing rainwater when viable.
Waste management is another industry that could use some improvement in their sustainability strategies. However, by taking advantage of lean principles — a set of standards that were once reserved for the manufacturing industry — many of the excesses associated with large-scale waste management can be reduced or even eliminated entirely.
The lean methodology outlines a set of seven wasteful practices that are actually common among many different industries. Inefficiencies in transportation and inventory control as well as overproduction or over-processing — and even prolonged downtimes — can often be analyzed and reformed to reduce carbon emissions, jumpstart productivity and even save money.
Teachers and administrative professionals can increase their sustainability in a variety of unique ways. Moreover, such institutions can use their own projects and initiatives as a means of providing genuine learning opportunities for their students as well as the surrounding communities.
As industry professionals continue to embrace computers and today’s smart devices, teachers can eliminate paperwork within the classrooms. Installing energy efficient windows in classrooms also cuts heating and cooling costs, and, in some cases, students can be brought outdoors for their daily education. Any combination of these ideas is a more sustainable option.
Printing and Publishing
Given the prevalence of online communications and digital media, we haven’t heard too much about the printing and publishing industry as of late. However, you can rest assured that the trade is still alive and well. Moreover, most companies within the niche are actively seeking ways to reduce their eco-footprint and bolster their sustainability.
Buying reusable office and printing products is a great place to start. As many of these companies still rely on pen-and-paper for much of their professional correspondence, refillable ink pens or markers are a great choice instead of their disposal alternatives. When it comes to printing digital documents, refillable ink cartridges and efficient, ENERGY STAR-certified printers work well.
Even digital-centric printing and publishing businesses can find ways to increase their sustainability. The simple act of deleting extraneous or outdated files from your inbox or cloud server can do a lot to offset some of the greenhouse gasses generated as a result of enterprise-scale computer systems.
Between the countless daily patrols, routine prisoner transportation, outdated record keeping methods, and buildings that, in some cases, were built without any modern insulation or HVAC systems, the law enforcement industry can do a lot to increase their sustainability.
According to some reports, a typical patrol car only averages 13 miles to the gallon. By replacing these vehicles with patrol cars that are more fuel-efficient, agencies across the nation could reduce their total carbon footprint while also reducing some of their operational costs.
Sustainability in the 21st Century
With a growing focus on environmental protection in general, the topic of business sustainability is fresh on everybody’s mind. Businesses that embrace such standards will not only improve their reputation throughout the local community, but they might even bolster their profitability in the process.