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Though it feels very on trend, sustainability is more than just a fashionable buzzword that you can use to attract sales. In today's world, more and more companies are actually putting in the work to attain a holistically eco-conscious business. Other than cutting down on their environmental impact, companies that carry out true sustainability practices prove to be more profitable. In fact, Patagonia, an outdoor lifestyle brand that rakes in approximately $540 million in sales, has programs that support environmental initiatives like using recycled materials for about a third of their raw materials. This goes to show that sustainability and profitability can coexist — and even complement each other.

But before business owners and managers can draft an industry-specific plan towards a fully sustainable company, incorporating eco-friendly practices in the office can be a great start. Here, we’ve listed a few ways you can introduce sustainability to your daily operations.

Reduce paper consumption

It’s outrageous to think that in today’s digital world, many offices still use a ton of paper. In fact, The World Counts reports that U.S. offices use at least 12.1 trillion sheets of paper every year, and when discarded in the bin, these account for 25% of the waste found in our landfills. That’s why it’s important that offices try to mitigate their paper usage.

But other than saving the earth, Verizon Connect also makes the case for how reducing office paper use is good for business: Your employees spend precious time on printing and delivering documents on paper, so it makes sense that eradicating paperwork can make them more productive and help them to dedicate their time to more important tasks. One way of going about this is by digitizing the paper trail through file sharing applications and cloud-based storage systems. This way, your employees can access the documents they need without having to physically print them out.

Introduce soluble packaging and materials

It’s established that single-use packaging and materials are horrible for the environment. But, an office’s daily operation relies heavily on non-recyclable materials for product packaging, office activities, and food storage. Thankfully, today’s technology has brought on soluble packaging and materials like what we offer here at SmartSolve. From pouches to labels, water-soluble solutions are the best way to approach diminishing the usage of non-recyclable materials.

But while a lot of business owners think that soluble packaging materials might cost them more, sustainable improvements, on the whole, will lead to cost savings and positively impact your business. Case in point, Industry Week notes that a key player in the computer hardware industry was able to save more than $500,000 in packaging costs by simply transitioning to sustainable packaging. So despite the reasonably high upfront costs of alternative packaging and materials, utilizing sustainable packaging will inevitably result in higher savings down the road.

Reduce office energy waste

An upfront way of approaching sustainability for your offices’ daily operations is by diminishing the amount of energy wasted inside the office. The U.S. Energy Information Administration reports that commercial buildings consume 20% of the energy produced every year, so it makes sense to practice energy conservation efforts to attain sustainability in your office.

Other than practicing energy-saving habits like turning off the lights and unplugging office appliances when not in use, you can take a more proactive stance by making the switch to energy-efficient technology. From smart thermostats to LED lightbulbs, installing energy-saving tech can help your office cut down on the energy it consumes ⁠— and even reduce your monthly energy bill.

Guest article written for SmartSolve by Rian Jacoby.

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