The following article written by Hayley Morris was published in the My Small Business section of the Sydney Morning Herald on the 25th June 2012.
Small and medium enterprises know their business better than anyone, so expensive environmental consultants and programs are not necessary, but you can’t manage what you don’t measure, so a management system for environmental impact is fundamental to good business decision-making.
1. Management ownership Before you get started, you need appropriate buy-in from management.
2. Communication Communicating with employees about why and what you plan to do is very important as they are the ones involved in the day-to-day operations.
3. Ownership and responsibility Select a representative with knowledge or a passion for this area. Empower them with the challenge to manage the environmental program. Offer rewards when cost savings are achieved.
4. Start measuring Measurement creates understanding of historical and current operations, while helping to make effective decisions about future efficiency.
5. Assess Use your data to understand how and where you are using energy, water, waste, fuel, business travel, transport etc.
6. Set targets and goals Once you have an idea about how you are operating you are better placed to set targets for reducing your usage and resources.
7. Take action It’s time to implement. Your environmental program may include infrastructure and technology changes, changes to business processes, and communications with employees to encourage certain behaviours.
8. Review and continue Measure how things have gone and celebrate your performance with stakeholders, using what you have learnt to improve next time. The key to ensuring your environmental program doesn’t get dropped is to ensure there is commitment to continuation (key to this will be showing where costs have been cut).
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