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It’s time to celebrate World Earth Day

Learn more about the initiative and find out the quick and easy ways your business can get involved.

22nd April 2018 is World Earth Day and across the globe, businesses, environmental activists and everyday citizens alike will be drawing attention to the environmental issues facing our planet. The aim of World Earth Day is to educate on the ways in which we can all come together to help protect the world we live in, and this year’s extremely topical theme is ‘End Plastic Pollution’.

Established in 1970 in California following the devastating Santa Barbara oil spill which killed thousands of animals and destroyed the landscape, World Earth Day now has global reach with millions of people from hundreds of countries getting involved.

Saving the planet might seem like a pretty daunting task, but even the smallest of actions add up to make a real difference. While businesses should be doing their best to act sustainably and consider the environment year round, if you think you and your business could be doing more, World Earth Day is a great time to start.

Here are our top tips for the simple measures you could adopt to play your part:

Reduce use of plastic

Businesses in the hospitality industry – cafes, bars, coffee shops, restaurants and hotels – can often be excessive users of plastic and with stories about the impact of plastic on the environment dominating the news agenda, it’s time to make a change.

Consider stopping serving drinks with straws and refrain from having them on display for customers to take. You can make the decision not to give out straws whatsoever, or only to do so when customers ask.

Offer free still water to customers who come with their own refillable water bottle and offer discounts on hot drinks to customers who bring their own coffee cups; 7 million coffee cups are used in the UK alone every day, which adds up to a hefty 2.5 billion per year. Many big brands already offer customers discounts to encourage reduced use of plastic including Pret a Manger who offer 50p off any hot drink served in a refillable cup and Costa who offer 25p off.

Introduce Passion Days

It’s important for all businesses to give back to the communities in which they work – this can be done in many ways; through supporting local events, festivals or gala days or donating time and materials to local charitable causes.

Empower employees to take one day out from work each year for a ‘passion day’ or ‘day to make a difference’. This is an opportunity for employees to fundraise, volunteer at a charity or conduct local community work. Actively encourage staff to take advantage of this initiative by putting a rota in place, making sure business needs are not affected. You can also ask employees to give a short talk to other staff members following their passion day to tell them about what they achieved to inspire others to get involved.

In line with World Earth Day, why not pull together a team of employees and do some good work together – you could do a beach or park litter pick, or plant new trees, shrubs and flowers in a local community garden. This kind of initiative can also be great for boosting staff morale and positioning your business as highly desirable to work for.

Rethink the typical working day

25% of employees working for tech giant Dell work from home either full-time or at least a couple of days each week. Dell would like that to increase to 50% by 2020.

This is not only a benefit for staff which keeps them happy and encourages a positive work-life balance, but it helps Dell to reduce its impact on the environment. The company has estimated that its employees who work from home have reduced their travel by over 100 million miles per year – that’s a huge reduction in harmful gases and pollution from cars and public transport.

While mobile or at-home working doesn’t work for everyone, there are some businesses, particularly those that are office based, that should give it a go. Just remember to have a formal process in place for employees to follow and consider the technology you need to ensure you can function as normal.

Shout about it!

Social media is such a powerful tool for businesses to communicate with their customers. You can use it to tell them about your products or services but also about who you are as a company and what you stand for; studies show that customers are more likely to engage with companies with a social and environmental conscience.

If you are taking part in World Earth Day let your customers know via your social channels and tag @EarthDayNetwork with hashtag #EarthDay2018 to join in the conversation online.

For more information on World Earth Day, visit https://www.earthday.org/ and for more helpful energy saving hints and tips visit https://www.scottishpower.co.uk/small-business/