Five ways to make your business more sustainable - NOW

The sun is shining, the weather is (for some of us, at least) sweet - and Smarta has been jolted out of winter's apathetic stupor by the sunshine and remembered there's still a planet to save. Kick off your spring by going green with these five ways to cut your business' consumption - sooner, rather than later.

1. Turn the heating down

Yes, it may still feel like mid-January, but the weather's finally warming up - so take the opportunity to turn your heating down. According to the Carbon Trust, cranking down the heating by just one degree could save you 10% on your heating bill - so it's not just the planet you're saving.

2. Switch off

It's an obvious one - but the average office still wastes around £6,000 each year by leaving equipment on over weekends and bank holidays. Before you leave the office, make sure all the printers, computers and monitors are turned off. If you're not the last one to leave, appoint someone else to do it.

3. Incentivise

We all know it's up to us as individuals to do the right thing to save the planet - but somehow, that goes out of the window when you've spent the day in a high-stress environment. Instead of simply expecting your employees to behave sustainably, incentivise them by rewarding those who carpool, recycle and reduce their wastage with a sustainability bonus. It doesn't have to be big - a bottle of champagne will do. But using the carrot, rather than a stick approach could see a huge boost your business's green credibility.

4. Green up your distribution

If your business ever ships large items, use a service such as Shiply, which allows hauliers to bid for your job and fill spare space in their vehicles at the same time. It cuts down on carbon emissions and saves you hiring an entire van for a relatively small item - which could cut costs, too.

5. Measure up, cut down

Having an idea of how much your business consumes will help you set targets to cut emissions. Use an energy consumption monitor such as DIY Kyoto's lovely Wattson to measure how much energy you're using - then cut back accordingly. Simples!

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