It’s Climate Week (12th to 18th March 2012).
Climate Week is Britain’s biggest climate change campaign, inspiring a new wave of action to create a sustainable future.
Since day 1, Craker Business Solutions has worked to raise awareness of ethical and environmental best practices, mainly within small businesses. To mark Climate Week, we’ve committed to publish a Blog per Day to share what we’ve learnt and hopefully inspire other businesses to make small but valuable changes.
Today we start with an overview of how we carried out our ethical and environmental assessment. Please share and enjoy!
How we carried out our ethical and environmental assessment?
I started with a blank piece of paper (100% recycled FSC certified of course). In the middle I put our logo to represent the business, then to the left I recorded all the inputs to our business, to the right the outputs of our business, and to the bottom the things we do in our business.
There is no right way to do this, and I’m sure I could have recorded some elements in more than one area, but what’s important is that they are all recorded on the paper somewhere.
For each of these elements I consider whether our business is being ethical and as part of this, our impact on the environment.
But what is ‘ethical’?
To act ethically is to act in accordance with the accepted principles of right and wrong. It is a subjective measure. It depends on your moral compass.
Richard Desmond (Media Tycoon) recently said “Ethical, I don’t quite know what the word means”, before he went on to tell the Leveson Inquiry that there’s a fine line between what is and is not ethical.
I generally use the ‘head on pillow’ test; can I put my head on the pillow at night and sleep soundly?
What is an acceptable environmental impact?
When it comes to environmental impact I start with the premise that there are limited resources on our planet and that we as a population are already consuming at a rate which will not support future generations. Our current living and working patterns are not sustainable ad infinitum.
I also believe that a lot of what we use and produce has a negative impact on the environment, it may not be deemed to be a pollutant, but the quantities of what is ‘dumped’ into our environment disrupts delicate ecosystems. I don’t believe that the consequences of our actions on the environment can be known with certainty.
Therefore if I err on the side of caution and rest assured I am doing what I can if I use less and use products/services which have the best environmental credentials on offer.
For each element, here’s a simple 3 step approach:
Step 1: Identify problem areas,
Step 2: Evaluate the cost benefit trade-off of potential solutions; and,
Step 3: Implement solutions and/or set up action plans to implement solutions when possible.
The only drawback to performing such as assessment is the time it takes to do research into the elements. However, the benefits are threefold:
- Opportunity to save money; this process helps you reduce what you use in your business,
- You get to know your suppliers better which generally means better levels of service and better terms,
- You know you are doing everything you can to run your business in a sustainable way.
I’d encourage you to take that piece of paper and get started. Or if you want a more structured approach why not sign up to one of the STEM workshops, see my previous Blog: Updated Ethical and Environmental Policies.