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Maintain your eco-friendly progress made in the wake of COVID

While nobody would say that the coronavirus was a good thing, it’s undeniable that the pandemic and our global response to it has made business owners in almost every industry ask some pressing questions. With many working from home, massive disruptions to supply chains, and an impending financial recession, there is a simple inability to carry on with “business as usual.”

More forward-thinking enterprises are wondering whether these disruptions are a blessing in disguise, forcing leaders to be agile, rethink old strategies, and adopt sustainable approaches for the post-covid world.

If you’re one of the businesses that have developed more eco-friendly ways of doing business in the wake of the pandemic, you might be wondering how to bank all that progress for the day when the lockdown starts to lift and life returns somewhat to normal.

Here are three ways to make sure you don’t lose your momentum.

Rethink your energy use.

There are many good reasons to ensure that you’re doing your best to work in an energy-efficient building, not least because it’s a legal requirement to have an energy performance certificate if you lease or sell commercial properties. There are penalties for not having the proper certification. According to Nexus Energy Solutions, “If you fail to obtain a commercial EPC, you could be legible to pay a fine of between £500 and £5000.”

However, there’s another obvious benefit: being conscious of and taking responsibility for emissions can only improve the environmental reputation of any business. Consumers today are more environmentally conscious than ever, and many will actively want to know if you’re committed to sustainable practices.

An energy certificate ranks your commercial property’s CO2 emissions on a grade from A to G and is a non-negotiable for any organisation wishing to cut its footprint. Not only will understanding your energy efficiency help you make improvements and possibly even save money, but it can be a valuable way to share your commitment to being part of the solution – and attract more business in the long term.

Rethink your commuting strategy.

It’s no secret that lockdowns and travel restrictions worldwide have given mother nature levels of peace unknown for centuries.

As more people stay at home, NASA is now sharing satellite images of drastic reductions in airborne pollution over China. The rest of the world has similar reports of rejuvenated natural spaces. If your staff are productively finding a way to work from home right now, it may have more than crossed your mind to completely reconsider the necessity of commuting to an office or workspace.

Many businesses are now using the coronavirus crisis as an opportunity to make remote work a real possibility in the future. Less travel means less pollution, less traffic, fewer hours spent in that traffic, more flexibility and arguably far happier employees.

As the world tries to figure out how to survive under lockdown right now and thrive once the worst of the crisis is over, it’s worth rethinking the necessity of conventional work practices. If Skype meetings, remote work, a more relaxed attitude and a refined definition of “essential” are working right now, why not keep going?

Rethink recycling, packaging and sustainability.

The alarming death toll and the rising economic fallout have made specific conversations around environmental and social issues in front of the mind. In challenging times, rather than abandoning previous initiatives to do business more sustainably and ethically, businesses inspire one another to do better. No longer can any company turn a blind eye or put profits before the well-being of their employees, their customers or the planet.

Rising to the challenges of the covid-19 pandemic has perhaps given people a keener appreciation of the vulnerability and unsustainability of cheap migrant labour. These Chinese imports undercut local industries or suppliers with exploitative practices.

One of the best ways to become more conscious as a small or medium-sized enterprise is to commit to reducing demand for unrecyclable packaging or finding innovative and responsible ways to use or reuse what’s already available.

Now’s the time to switch to packaging suppliers with a clear commitment to green business or redesign your product or service to reflect growing consumer distaste for “throwaway” products. Sourcing local supply chains may make more sense with international markets being so volatile, but there’s no reason not to stay local and low-emission for the foreseeable future.

Though deeply challenging, the coronavirus pandemic has certainly inspired many people to ask exciting new questions. Fortunately, as a business owner, you’re positioned to rework this crisis into a real opportunity.

Ruby Clarkson

Writer, editor, animal lover and coffee enthusiast ️

“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”