Green Business

There are two basic routes that businesses can travel down to become more sustainable. The first is that management can implement policies and activities to encourage things like re-use and recycling. The second is for employees to lead by example, so that they will motivate and encourage their employers to take action. Changes with sustainability in mind will result in an improved bottom line and make for a healthier and happier workforce.


Green Business Initiative

The Green Business Initiative is an inter-connected range of projects, specifically aimed at helping enterprises save money and assisting businesses to minimise their environmental impacts. The projects aim to actively support enterprises in becoming more “resource efficient”. This means that businesses will use less energy, less water and less raw materials, in turn producing less waste and saving the business money. By registering as a Green Business through the above link and using the on-line audit tools, users can start to measure their resource use and identify where savings might be made. They can also request a site visit, where a Greenbusiness Advisor will visit their premises and identify actual "no" and low cost measures that will save businesses money.  The service is entirely free, confidential, and operated by the Clean Technology Centre, on behalf of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Green Hospitality Programme

The Green Hospitality Programme (GHP) consists of diverse projects specifically aimed at the tourism and hospitality industry.  The Green Hospitality Award (GHA) is a certification aimed at the Hotel, Hospitality and Catering Sector, and has already produced efficiency savings worth millions of euro per annum for its members.

The scheme also includes contract caterers and nursing homes and is currently expanding its eco-label to restaurants and other smaller tourism businesses.

Green Healthcare

Utilising the capacity and techniques perfected in the Green Hospitality Award and project, the National Waste Prevention Programme is working with healthcare providers to look at water and energy use and waste production, with a special emphasis on food waste. By investigating areas where efficiencies can be made, often through simple "no" and low cost procedures, real savings can be generated for hospitals. For example, better communication between wards and kitchens prevents meals being prepared for patients who have been discharged. Significant potential savings in food costs alone have been identified.

SMILE Resource Exchange

SMILE ("Saving Money through Industrial Linkages and Exchanges") is an environmental support programme for businesses interested in finding efficiencies or innovative opportunities within their current wastes and byproduct streams. Members can avail of free expert environmental assistance to identify potential resource efficiencies within their processes, alternatives to recycling or landfill, new product opportunities, linkages with other companies and associated savings. Becoming a member of the SMILE Resource Exchange is free, and further details can be found here.

Business Tips

Below are some initiatives which businesses can immediately engage in to become more green in their day-to-day operations.

  • Choose an energy company that is committed to renewable energy.
  • Develop a supplier policy that outlines what you expect from suppliers to help you achieve sustainability.
  • Use only eco-friendly office equipment (furniture that is built to last) and supplies (eco-cleaners).
  • Close the loop and buy recycled products (paper, buckets pens).
  • Encourage electronic circulation of documents.
  • Discourage printing by only having one or two large networked printers, and default to double-sided printing.
  • Use a plumbed-in mains water filter, chiller or fountain rather than a replaceable drum water machine. This will save most offices hundreds if not thousands of euros per year.
  • Separate your paper and cardboard for recycling.
  • Purchase in bulk.
  • Prevent and reduce ‘start-up’ wastage.

Company cars - support alternative fuels and reduce the impacts of your vehicles by planting native trees.

Employee Tips

The easiest way to become more sustainable is to reduce the resources you use every day. This may include:

  • Print only when you need to, and print double sided.
  • Turning a computer off at the end of the day can save up to €19 on electricity each year.
  • Use energy efficient appliances and lighting.
  • Reuse and recycle as much as you can (toner cartridges, paper, cans and glass, food scraps, mobile phones and batteries).
  • Share office equipment like staplers and hole punches instead of having one for each person.
  • Travel to work via public transport.

The Green jobs website lists sustainable jobs which are on offer in Ireland.

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