How SMEs can help the environment

Whilst many South African businesses are likely to make youth development and upliftment initiatives a priority in June, the month also marks National Environment Month, which essentially began in 1972 with World Environment Day. The day marks an important celebration as it is one of the main vehicles used by the United Nations to promote awareness, support and political action for a sustainable environment.


“There are a number of benefits small businesses could enjoy from contributing to the environment such as improving their bottom line, giving them a competitive advantage, enhanced company culture and increased employee engagement,” says Derek Wilson, head of leading online insurance and financial services platform,, “The research team at looked into the following tips that could benefit the environment and small businesses in South Africa”.


Save on energy costs


Replace light bulbs with fluorescent energy-saving lights and if your office has many windows and is well lit during the day, opt to work in natural light to save energy and costs. Encourage staff to switch off lights in areas that are not frequently used such as storerooms, boardrooms and unoccupied offices. Also encourage staff to use the power-saving options on their computers and screens. Consider moving IT to cloud-based systems rather than using server rooms that require additional energy for cooling equipment.


Use recycled materials


There are various organisations that use recycled material to produce anything from paper and posters to books and pens to plastic bins and bags and various other promotional and functional goods. These are often also cheaper than the less environmentally friendly options. Whether you require packaging for products, materials for branding and advertising, or office stationery and supplies, consider partnering with a small recycling business in your neigbourhood who makes use of green materials. Also consider partnering with these businesses by negotiating cheaper rates for materials in return for staff running recycling initiatives for them at your offices.


Go paperless


With technology being more accessible to consumers and small businesses, there are various ways in which information can be obtained and stored. Consider using scanner apps for official documents and working with electronic systems and programs for files such as invoices and statements, contracts and communications. Should your business require any forms or information from customers, do this via an online platform or network rather than having people complete physical forms. This could save you and your customers time and money.


“ is also committed to helping the environment with our paperless, easy-to-use online platform,” concludes Wilson, “Small businesses could also save costs by comparing Business Insurance from a range of South African insurance providers on the platform”.

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