Lynne Gowers

16 June 2016

Are you an eco-freelancer?

Did you know that Sunday, June 5th, was World Environment Day? It is the anniversary of when the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment was formed and is celebrated every year to raise global awareness of all issues affecting the environment such as climate change, global warming, natural disasters and resource efficiency.

Do your bit

Without getting all militant about it, World Environment Day is a great time to think about how eco-friendly your freelance business is. We all know that the great thing about working for yourself is that you are in control. You decide what work you take, how you do it and what hours you keep. This means that it is within your power to do your bit for the planet. Ok, so you might be a very small cog a huge wheel, but by making just a few small changes in your business practices, you can significantly reduce your impact on the environment. By reducing your energy consumption and waste, you can also save yourself money. Everyone’s a winner!

Here are a few easy steps you can take to becoming an eco-freelancer:

Working from home?

Making your home office a bit greener is surprisingly easy: put computers, printers and other devices into stand-by when they are not in use when replacing equipment consider energy-efficient models turn down the heating. Just one degree on the thermostat can make a big difference. (If you’re cold put a jumper on!) switch lights off when you are not using them consider roof or wall insulation to conserve energy.

Driving

Being a freelancer, you are probably already halfway there by not having to drive to work every day. Make a conscious effort to minimise the miles you are travelling. Before you jump in the car to visit a client, ask yourself if you could communicate just as effectively by phone, email or Skype.

Printing

Depending on your line of work, going totally paperless might not be a realistic option. Work on-screen as much as you can and send paperwork by email or via cloud-based software (encourage your clients to do the same). Where you do have to print documentation or marketing collateral, use green options such as recycled paper and vegetable-based inks. If you tend to do a lot of printing you can recycle your ink cartridges or use refillable versions.

Recycling

If your attempt at paperless working is not proving successful, at least make sure you recycle all your paper. In fact, before you do that, reuse it for scribbling – it might be your best work ever; (John Lennon wrote the words to A Hard Day’s Night on the back of a child’s birthday card!) When you need new office equipment, dispose of your old kit in an electronics recycling bank or, if it is still in working order, donate it to a friend or to charity. Also keep an eye on supplies coming into your business; use recycled or environmentally friendly products where possible.

Green for the planet, gold for your business!

World Environment Day is all about taking positive actions to safeguard the earth’s natural resources for future generations. As well as the warm fuzzy feeling you get from reducing your environmental footprint, there are tangible benefits for your business. As mentioned earlier, limiting your energy usage and waste will automatically save you money. But how about drawing on your eco-credentials as a selling point for your business? Some clients will have an environment policy and will only hire professionals with sustainable, green practices. So being an eco-freelancer could even bring in some work!

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