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Earth Day 2023: 4 Ways To Make Your Office Sustainable We only are executing a fraction of what needs to be done to reverse the damage and not just control it. Concerted efforts on all fronts, be it in the office or at home are required all around the year to truly reverse the effect of climate change. Here are four ways to make our workspaces more sustainable.

By Kavya Pillai

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Photo by Gabriel Jimenez on Unsplash

Today, Earth Day is widely recognized as an observance in the world, marked by billions every year as a day of action to change human behavior and create global, national and local policy changes. At present, we are in a continued fight with increased urgency as the deterioration of our environment becomes prominent each day.

As we approach yet another Earth Day, it is important to note that climate change is here. We are in the 11th hour and in dire need to address it. Gone are the days when we could blame the past for taking zero accountability. In the past a good majority has quoted Billy Joel's 'We Didn't Start the Fire' but it is high time we look at sustainability not just in our homes but also in our workspaces. Our efforts need to go beyond conscious choices this Earth Day.

From the water we consume to the air we breathe, every life-supporting and life-nourishing rescue from the planet is a gift to us and it is time that we begin treating it as such. A major reason to analyze workspaces is that "environmental impact of housing employees at specific locations is massive, about 2000 kg equivalent of CO2," said Pratik Gauri, CEO of 5ire. We only are executing a fraction of what needs to be done to reverse the damage and not just control it. Concerted efforts on all fronts, be it in the office or at home are required all around the year to truly reverse the effect of climate change. Here are four ways to make our workspaces more sustainable.

1. Green Commuting

EVs are a huge part of these steps. Ramya Ramachandran, Founder & CEO of Whoppl said, " We encourage sustainable transportation options such as carpooling, and provide incentives for employees who choose them." This is a small step in the right direction as in addition to being environmentally friendly, green commuting also has many other benefits. Green Commuting reduces road congestion and makes road travel safer and faster. It is also a cost-efficient way of transport as employees will be saving money on fuel. While the benefits of green commuting are significant many do not know where to start. High time we burst the bubble of sustainable transportation is difficult.

2. Going Paperless

Nirvaan Birla, Founder and Director, Birla Open Minds and Birla Brainiacs shared his thoughts with us regarding going paperless, "Being in the field of education, I have noticed a lot of paper waste. I encourage all my employees to reuse paper whenever needed and try to do most of their work on their desktops or laptops. We go by the saying 'reduce, reuse, recycle'." A bundle of 10 A4-sized paper reams of 70 GSM takes almost a tree to be made. Hence making a conscious effort in going paperless is vital by opting to go for Software based solutions whether it is Proposals, MOUs, documents, and paperwork in rotation. The technological advancements of the age we live in ensure safety and transparency for all to easily transition to paperless companies. Dr Manjula Pooja Shroff, CEO of Kalorex Group said, "In case of absolute necessity, print on both sides of the paper and reuse A4 printed paper on one side and consciously reduce paper waste."

3. Temperature Control

Large corporations must look into installing a 5-star rated Inverter AC as it not only saves money but also reduces CFC Emissions. It is a better choice compared to a 1-star AC. Furthermore, using tinted glasses to control the heat entering our offices plays a crucial role in how much companies pay for heating/cooling. The choice of switching to conscious temperature control also goes a long way in helping the environment. Limit the cooling and heating by understanding optimum temperatures that work for everyone. Dr Somdutta Singh, Founder and CEO of Assiduus Global told us, "Within our office premises, we actively practice energy conservation through basic measures such as switching off lights and air conditioning units when not in use, which effectively minimizes our carbon footprint."

4. Going Solar

Ishan Chaturvedi, Director and Co-founder, Vareyn Solar Pvt Ltd shared, "Currently in India, the dependence on Fossil Fuel is much higher than anticipated. We already have consumed our annual quota of resources planned and are now using up next year's natural resources."Investment in renewable energy has never been more prudent, especially for office spaces. The outtake is not just environmental but also economical. Embracing renewable energy and opting for green power sources like solar energy has become more accessible than ever with options like rooftop solar installations. Companies can also choose to source energy from green energy plants which are priced very competitively compared to traditional electricity plants that are powered by coal. According to Ankit Agrawal, Director, Zed Black & Mysore Deep Perfumery House, "Solar power is widely acknowledged for reducing energy consumption and emissions that are detrimental to the environment and thus promoting the usage of renewable energy and a sustainable future."

Additionally reducing single-use plastic and water wastage needs to be an important focus, something which Kannan Sivasubramanian, CEO Aranca also believes. " We have implemented measures to minimize plastic waste by providing all employees with reusable glass water bottles. We have also taken steps to conserve water by using recycled water in our washrooms," he said. To make the office spaces greener, begin with the small changes and help educate your staff and yourselves about the impact of non-renewable resources. It is said that our future is borrowed from our children and we owe it to them to ensure that the planet stays healthy and nourishing.

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