Environmental concerns have never been higher on the agenda. With climate change, habitat loss, and mass extinction all unfolding, it’s the responsibility of industry to take remedial action. Not only is this the right thing to do from an ethical perspective, it’s also commercially desirable. Green activities are favoured by investors and customers, with environmentally unfriendly firms being shunned.
Why go Green?
The construction industry is potentially enormously damaging. The extraction and shipping of raw materials can impose a considerable environmental cost. Then there’s the buildings themselves, whose impact on the natural world might stretch out for decades.
So, exactly what might be done to address this problem? Construction firms have several potential courses of action to consider. Let’s examine a few of them.
By making minor procedural changes, you can lower the impact of your operations without spending anything. Staff might be encouraged to recycle, and to implement low-energy practices. Changing out light-bulbs for LED alternatives might be a good start – but broader changes to the culture of the business might yield more fruit in the long-term. Make your environmental objectives part of your business plan. Set targets and hand out rewards when those targets are met. Reducing your impact is something worth celebrating.
Use Sustainable Suppliers
You’re only as sustainable as the businesses you work with. It doesn’t matter if your on-site operations are carbon neutral if all the materials you bring in were hugely damaging. This applies especially to things like concrete, and for things that require rare-earth materials like lithium-ion batteries. If you’re concerned about the impact of your suppliers, then you might bring in an outside auditor to examine your environmental impact as a whole, and to make specific recommendations.
Use locally sourced materials
A good way to reduce the overall environmental cost of your materials is to use the ones that are extracted locally. This applies to sheet timber materials like plywood as much as it does to plastic and brick ones. You might end up paying a premium – but if you’re avoiding shipping thousands of tonnes of stuff across thousands of miles, this cost will be vastly offset. This applies even if the local businesses are more polluting overall than the distant ones. You’ll also be able to maintain closer relations with nearby businesses and raise your profile within the local community.
The types of vehicles you use have a big impact on the amount of energy you consume. Making the switch to more economical vehicles can have a sizeable impact. But so too can implementing a logistics system that monitors the speed of your drivers, and the amount of energy they’re consuming. In the long-term, this might shave down your carbon footprint – and help to make your business more profitable at the same time.