Agreeing to the end the wasteful workplace

Small businesses are being urged to sharpen their focus on sustainability to coincide with Earth Hour, taking place on 28 March.

For any small business, driving sustainability across their organisation in order to “go green” is a challenge. With small teams and busy workloads, small businesses are typically too focused on the day-to-day running of their business to devote time to researching and implementing sustainable practices. For example, one area of waste that’s often overlooked is paper-based processes. The average Australian worker uses 50kg of paper a year. This is equivalent to 10,000 sheets of A4 paper and 10 litres of water per single A4-sheet.

I recommend businesses to think big but start small. Reducing the friction of paper from a workplace (or home office) is an easy method to implement. It’s also a tangible and easily quantifiable step to reducing workplace waste. Whilst agreeing to take a “greener” approach to businesses is an important first step, what comes next in terms of having a beneficial impact on the environment and your business’s bottom line is where the real value lies.

Now is the time for small businesses to improve sustainability by:

  • Saving paper saves so much more: By agreeing to sustainable strategies and processes you’re taking an important step towards cementing the longevity and profitability of your business. Take paper, for example. Before printing, make a conscious effort and ask yourself if it’s really necessary. Beyond paper, it’s also important to consider elements associated with paper-based processes such as printer consumables and more broadly the wastage of time. Utilising digital processes will eliminate unnecessary paper usage while ensuring your business increases its overall level of efficiency.
  • Engaging your employees: In a small business, especially a growing one, it’s important to get buy-in from everyone when it comes to driving sustainability. It’s also important to create a culture of sustainability. You can do this by creating green teams in your office and asking employees to nominate. Not only does a sustainable culture reduce your environmental footprint, but it also improves employee morale and community spirit. Ultimately, if employees realise the benefits and impact of operating more sustainably, it empowers them to make a difference.
  • Embracing change: Enacting sustainable business practices can be as simple as digitising manual processes. Given the current state of the Australian climate, it’s vital that environmental awareness is spread to other businesses within your community by demonstrating and advocating the benefits of “going green”. I’m proud to work for an organisation that has a “DocuSign for Forests” initiative. This provides financial commitments to support nonprofits to help protect the world’s forests. The initiative also advocates sustainable practices to our customers. This is just one example however regardless of how large or small your business is, communication with your local business community can inspire others to initiate change by reducing waste and positively impact the environment. 

Overall, as local demand for resources continues to grow, a sustainable future depends on us as individuals as well as businesses adopting the three principals/ R’s of sustainability – reduce, reuse and recycle.  Reducing paper is one of the most straightforward and easy to measure initiatives you can introduce to your business, not only will this reduce your environmental footprint, it will return time and cost savings back to your business. We can decide, today, the kind of world – and workplace – generations to come will live and work in.

With Earth Hour upon us, now is the time to agree to get your business involved in climate change.

Andrea Dixon, Marketing Director – APAC, DocuSign

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