7 ways to tackle climate change for small to medium-sized businesses


Photograph of two people in a co-working space

Suomen Yrittäjät, the Finnish network of 115,000 small to medium sized businesses, has released a list of 80 simple things people can do to tackle climate change in their operations.

From water usage and purchasing to changes in marketing strategy and modes of transport, the list covers a lot.

Here we pick our top seven items to get you started. These can be applied at home and in the office, and once the changes become habit you can pick seven more from Yrittäjät’s list!

1. Don’t throw out useful stuff

If your office is in need of a little renovation, don’t throw out the old furniture or fittings. There are many services that will recycle or redistribute unwanted items and equipment. Check out, for example, the City of Sydney’s Better Buildings Partnership, or have a search around for organisations or schools looking for donations.

2. Choose quality

Wherever possible, consider buying items that are durable, ethical and made locally. These items can cost more upfront, but they tend to last longer than the cheap and nasty alternatives, meaning you get more value out of them over time. Not to mention these items can have more attractive and thoughtful design.

Being manufactured locally can also lower the item’s carbon footprint through reduced transportation distances. Look out for environmentally friendly labelling, such as items found through GECA or other such sustainable product aggregators.

3. Go digital

Avoid printing documents and emails wherever possible. This could save your office reams of paper each year, help de-cluttered desk space, and reduce costs. If you do have to print certain things, try to ensure it is the final version and consider using recycled paper.

4. Avoid screensavers

Set up your office computers to go to sleep or switch off after a certain period of not being used. This consumes less energy than a screensaver.

5. Beware of dripping

A tap that drips every second can leak over 25 litres of water a day. Turn off taps firmly and repair dripping taps quickly.

6. BYO lunch

Bringing your own lunch to work to reduce the packaging waste of getting take away. Preparing your own food tends to be healthier and cheaper too — whether that’s a quick salad or sandwich, or leftovers from last night’s dinner.

If you can’t find the time to make your own lunches, consider asking for take away food in your own container, or encouraging your workplace to use one of the increasingly popular reusable services. Or simply take the time to sit down at a restaurant or share a meal with a colleague.

7. Keep windows closed if the airconditioning or heating is on

This may seem straight forward, but it’s something people can forget. Leaving windows and doors open will consume energy pointlessly and reduce comfort levels. So if you are hitting the ON button on your AC, don’t forget to button down the hatches.

To find out more and read the full list, head to Yrittäjät’s website.