Think green,says Prism
SMEs up and down the country are in prime position to take greater authority over the way they impact the world around us. There have been government measures put in place to clamp down on plastic produced in supermarkets, and there has been an increased push for companies to rethink their carbon emission strategies.
One of the biggest strides made in the war on plastic in recent months has been the European Parliament’s vote to ban single-use plastics outright. It is thanks to wide-reaching TV programming such as the BBC’s Blue Planet II, and the work of Sir David Attenborough, that the problems posed by such refuse are now more commonly recognized.
However, many SMEs may not be doing enough to help the world around them. Alternatively, they may be keen to help, however, they may not know which steps are best to take.
Gary David Smith, Director and Co-Founder at Prism (www.prism.uk.com) is keen to profess that SMEs need to start thinking about what they can do right away to start making a more positive impact.
“SME businesses such as prism make a considerable impact on the economy and the communities around us,” says Smith.
“We contribute to innovation, research and development – and we often fill a lot of gaps. Therefore, we need to start considering what we can do, collectively, to make wider contributions to our environment. We should also consider what the driving benefits are for our businesses and our customers, too.”
Prism has already made big strides to recycle its refuse and to reduce its harmful waste. It has famously committed to a long-running PC recycling programme, PETT (Prism Empowering Through Technology), which has gone on to support the local community.
Gary David Smith is already well aware of the impact his business is making on the environment and the community around Prism. However, he is keen to make suggestions to fellow SME owners and business people for greater collaboration.
“Going green’ will also hold many financial benefits for SMEs. Reducing travel emissions and switching from fossil fuel to clean energy, for example, could cut overhead costs considerably,” says Smith. “When ‘thinking green’, there are a few steps SMEs can take to get started.”
Here are a few suggestions Gary David Smith puts forward to the wider community:
* SMEs should be thinking about renewable energy. Solar PV, in particular, is continuing to grow in popularity. Data from 2017 shows that solar is responsible for around 2% of global power. It continues to offer a sustainable and cost-effective alternative to energy generated through fossil fuels and harmful resources.
* SMEs should focus on ‘giving back’ to the environment. This could be through gestures as small as planting trees, or recycling material to the wider community. This could also be beneficial to the brand image of small to medium firms.
* Where possible, there should be focus on buying products and resources from ethical vendors. Once again, this may be beneficial for business image – however, only consuming from ethical sources will have a long-lasting, positive knock-on effect for the world around us. Data shows that ethical spending is on the increase, however, it has been slow to progress in recent years due to inflation. SMEs can jump ahead of the curve by taking immediate action.
* SMES should also think carefully about their use of plastic waste, particularly bottles. With single-use plastics set to be banned outright, SMEs should focus on removing them from all workspaces and, where applicable, from sale.
* To reduce carbon emissions, SMEs should focus on reducing travel demands. Meetings could take place via video conferencing. There could be a company-wide push for carpooling, or even more efficient, cycling to work.
* Similarly, where cars are used at all, SMEs should consider switching to hybrid or electric vehicles to reduce their carbon footprint. This will be especially worthwhile if a business is dependent on transport.
* There should be a focus on reducing packaging, particularly plastic. Several major brands in the alcohol sales industry have created new, innovative ways to transport cans with glue, rather than with plastic or card. Consider ways to innovate with packaging that is biodegradable where possible.
* Think about using recyclable and reusable marketing and promotional material. Reusable bags, eco mugs and print using recyclable paper.
* Is it time to switch energy supplier? Green alternatives are available and for many firms, this could be a procurement decision that is looming.
* Water is often taken for granted. Prism use reusable bottles and “draw it” from the tap to divert funds from water-coolers through to us supporting a ‘Buying Wells and Pumps’ campaign.
* Make good use of the great outdoors. “Go for a walk and talk”. This is an excellent team builder. Prism even had a Pilates class in their car park once!