Our summer holiday this year was a road trip in our campervan to the beautiful resort of Chamonix in the French Alps. Not only was this a wonderfully restorative holiday, it also had a fundamental impact on my view of the important part we all have to play in being much more aware of, and considerate of, our environment regardless of what you believe regarding climate change.
What struck me was the immense impact of climate change in the glaciers around Mont Blanc. We visited the Mer de Glace and walked down to an ice cave; less than a century ago this glacier was level with the train station at Montenvers. As we walked down the steep path (426 steps down but felt like twice that on the return up!) we were reminded of where the glacier had been at various decades gone by. Each year the engineers have to add between 20-30 additional steps down to reach the glacier; now that really does make you think.
At the same time as we were experiencing the shrinking glaciers, Greta Thunberg was addressing the United Nations in New York and she had travelled, of course, by ship rather than fly. Who couldn’t have been impressed with her address and her challenge to world leaders?
I think that sometimes it is too easy to say But what can I do that will really make a difference to this huge problem? On an individual level can I really make a difference and help to turn this ship around?
Well yes, I think we can. There are lots of small ways we can change our behaviours and hopefully influence others to do the same. Just this weekend, one of my favourite bands, Coldplay, launched their new album entitled Everyday Life, and instead of going on a world-tour to promote it, they have decided to hold two concerts in one venue in Jordan, and live-stream it to their fans in an effort to reduce their impact on the environment.
So what has this got to do with running a business I hear you ask?
Here are some ideas on how I save energy, reduce waste, reuse and reduce and recycle.
1. Pen recycling – Terracycle will recycle pens at various collection points across the UK;
2. Recycling all waste paper – either in the recycling waste or I use waste paper for notes or printing out draft documents;
3. Recycling ink toner cartridges via the Brother recycling scheme;
4. Reducing your carbon footprint by using public transport more often. I am trying to get better at using public transport when I can and I have found that I am more productive as I can get work done on the train and feel more relaxed. It reduces my car mileage and wear and tear, and I’m reducing my carbon footprint each time;
5. Using go to meeting or Zoom instead of always needing to be in attendance at meetings; I already use this for clients in England;
6. Using solar panels for electricity and we are currently reviewing additional green technology to make our home, and therefore my office, more efficient;
7. Taking my reusable coffee cup and water bottle with me wherever so that I don’t need to use a plastic or otherwise non-biodegradable cup; and
8. Researching all-electric and hybrid car for work and personal use.
I hope that with each conversation this initiates I can share ideas and perhaps change the way others are using energy opened highlight to them how easy it is to reduce reuse and recycle in business. Please share your ideas with me – it would be great to hear from you.