Turn Off the Lights to Share the Light: Why Good Environmental Practice is Great Business Practice
by Mark Polet
There is a misconception that good environmental management always costs money. Well, sometimes it does seem to cost when externalities are not costed fully (waste management, air and water pollution control) or when the company is not managed properly (contamination).
Turn Off the Lights so You can Share the Light
However, there is another area of sound business management where good environmental management saves money. It’s called efficiency.
In short, turn off the lights.
It is easy for all of us to fall into complacency or just get too busy to really manage our costs, especially in the challenging places where you work. That is why we are looking for quick wins. The first quick win my colleagues and I have noted in working for Kingdom Companies is energy efficiency.
Turn off the lights when you leave! I find it remarkable how many times energy is wasted in companies, even where energy availability is inconsistent. We have seen whole factories lit up with not a soul in them.
Manage your air conditioning. 25°C (77°F) is often recommended, no cooler. If you have your suit jacket on while you work at your desk, something may be wrong.
BAM is in the relationship business, and enrolling staff in Creation Care is one more step in discipleship.
Watch for phantom power costs. Turn off appliances when not in use.
Many electronic appliances (i.e. monitor screens) are still drawing power even when ‘off’. If at all possible, shut off at the main plug.
Here is the challenging news; changing behaviours is not easy. Behavioural measures rank lower in effectiveness than engineering controls (i.e. motion sensors to turn lights on) or substitution (i.e. LED bulbs for incandescent ones), but we are starting this way because (1) it is has less front end costs, and (2) BAM is in the relationship business, and enrolling staff in Creation Care is one more step in discipleship.
Also, safety must come first. Don’t turn off so many lights that your staff are suffering from eye strain or tripping hazards are difficult to see.
Start with this simple and effective quick win: Turn off the lights so that you can more effectively share the Light!
One way to increase the success of behavioural measures is to set up a person with the responsibility and authority for health, safety and the environment (they are all related). This person has to be pretty special: detail oriented, great encouragement skills, and aware of long-term consequences on health and the environment. That person can also start a ‘before and after’ measurement programme to see how much money you are saving.
So start with this simple and effective quick win: Turn off the lights so that you can more effectively share the Light!
The BAM Creation Care Consultation* group will continue to look for other helpful ways for you to Steward the Planet while sharing the Good News. If you know some good Creation Care hacks, share them! Please email the Consultation group here.
Read more on the topic of Environment and Creation Care in BAM:
>> Messy Site, Messy Company: Aiming for Environmental Excellence
>> Should Environmental Concerns Be a Priority?
>> Tikkun Olam: How Companies Can Repair the World
>> What If? Business Solutions to Environmental Problems
>> Wealth Creation and the Stewardship of Creation
*A BAM Global Creation Care Consultation is currently underway which will present its findings at the BAM Global Congress in 2020.
Mark Polet is a professional biologist with over 40 years of experience. Working on four continents, Mark and his wife Terri bridge cultures and traditions with people of good will to serve those who are spiritually and materially impoverished. Mark is passionate about bringing engineers, scientists, and business together to develop solutions to challenging environmental issues. Mark has the privilege to coordinate the BAM Global Creation Care Consultation. Prior to working in the impact business space, Mark & Terri owned a number of companies, including an environmental services company and an environmental consultancy.
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