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Guest Contributor Edwin Ho shares actionable tips to reduce your coworking venue’s carbon footprint.

It’s a simple fact that pollution is a significant problem for our planet. With waste and pollution levels rising at an alarming rate, more and more cities are becoming clouded in smog. The increasing level of pollution has lead to the United Nations signing the Paris Accords in 2016, resulting in an increase in global interest in improving sustainability through encouraging eco-friendly business practices.

After living in Hong Kong for several months, I’ve observed a number of events which intend to educate and encourage local businesses to implement sustainable practices; however, smaller businesses often struggle with the financial, time and human resource constraints that sustainability initiatives require.

Within this Coworking Manager’s Guide, we’re hoping to provide coworking managers with simple, actionable advice to help you reduce your venue’s carbon footprint.

Make the switch to sustainable energy

Implementing renewable energy sources, such as solar power, could be an investment which helps to increase profits in the future and goes a long way towards improving sustainability. The cost of installing solar panels has decreased over the last few years, making it more affordable for businesses of any size to implement. By utilizing solar energy and insulating your walls to trap heat during winter and A/C in the summer, you can cut the cost of your office heating and cooling expenses in half.

Change Your Web Server & Host on Green Web Hosting

You may be wondering how web hosting can help your company achieve sustainability. Although green web hosting providers offer the same services, it’s the methods of energy these companies use which sets them apart from a standard web hosting companies.

A relatively new concept, green web hosting uses renewable sources such as wind and solar to power their locations and data centers. Alongside these renewable energy sources, rather than use carbon emitting generators, they run machines which consume less power and are designed to cut energy consumption wherever possible. By making use of such services, your website can become a sustainable asset along with your physical office.

Encourage Reduce, Reuse, Recycle Actions

We’ve heard this many times, but there are still companies that do not execute the three ‘Major R’s.’ How can you implement the three R’s within a coworking space and how do they actually help you with improving sustainability?

Reduce activity that consumes non-renewable energy, such as printing unnecessary emails and documents, keeping the lights on in unused rooms and switching off the A/C in unoccupied rooms. These activities not only save energy, they also save you money. As a manager, you should be leading by example and initiate the trend of reducing activities that waste natural resources. Send an office-wide email announcing that the company is becoming more sustainable or provide smaller general rubbish bins and bigger recycling bins. You could discourage users from printing unnecessary documents by charging to use the printer.

To cut down on the amount of garbage going to landfills, make sure you’re reusing materials where possible. Use refillable pens, glasses and metal utensils instead of paper and plastic, a whiteboard instead of paper notes, and secondhand furniture.

Recycling paper, metal cans, plastic, glass, and broken electricals should already be a standard part of your eco-friendly office policy. When your members have finished with their lunch, they can even put their unwanted food in a bio-compost bin. Many cities even offer incentives to encourage recycling. For example, the 7-Elevens in Hong Kong offer $1 for every Kowloon Dairy milk bottle returned to the store.

Persuade & Reward Employee Carpool & Cycling To Work

Motor vehicles and factories are the number one reason for the rapid increase in pollution across the world. Unfortunately, in a lot of cities, traveling via public transport does not offer the same level of comfort and convenience as using a private vehicle.

One possible solution to this problem could be to incentivize carpooling and cycling. Offer your members onsite bike storage and reward them for carpooling and cycling. This will help dramatically reduce your venue’s carbon emissions and will free up spaces in the car park.

Sustainability practices are on the rise. It’s never been easier or more cost-efficient to greenify your coworking space. For more tips, find out how some enterprises achieved sustainability in Hong Kong.

How do you work towards improving sustainability your the coworking space?

About the author

Edwin Ho is a digital marketer living in Hong Kong. Aspiring traveler of Asia and avid football (or soccer) fanatic, Edwin is active in all aspects of digital marketing. Find out more about him here.