Based on the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) Global 500 Climate Change Report 2013, 50 of the 500 largest listed companies in the world are responsible for nearly three quarters of that group’s 3.6 billion tonnes of greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. As the wave of global consciousness grows for businesses to be more environmentally, socially and economically responsible, South African businesses need to consider integrating sustainability strategies into their workplace.

This is according to Arthur Chien, CEO of Talesun Energy, a supplier of solar energy solutions, who says that companies need to look at championing green concepts by taking sustainability into consideration, especially with the ever-increasing energy costs which South African businesses have been subjected to.

“Energy efficiency needs to be the most important facet of greening a business. The solution for businesses to go green and to save on energy costs is to build sustainability into the business strategy,” Chien says.

He advises local companies to consider developing a comprehensive green business plan, which encompasses energy efficiency measures, including improving the efficiency of utilities, equipment and transport. “Energy wastage often goes unnoticed and lowering the overall energy use will automatically reduce a business’s carbon emission footprint, which in turn will also help to improve a business’s bottom line.

“By switching to renewable energy sources by installing photovoltaic solar energy systems for example, businesses will become self-sufficient suppliers of electricity, as well as save on increasing energy costs.”

There are other measures that Chien suggests businesses take into account when planning their sustainability strategy going forward.  These include the following:

  • Replace all incandescent lighting with fluorescent bulbs;
  • Heating and cooling are responsible for the majority of the costs found on utility bills. Businesses need to ensure that heat or air-conditioning is turned down or switched off, or to look at the option of installing a thermostat to regulate temperatures. Furthermore, ensure that regular checks, repairs and tests are conducted to ensure that there are no leaks or defective filters;
  • Install low-flow showers, nozzles, toilets, urinals, tap faucets, etc.
  • Source suppliers, partners, products, and services that share the same green sustainable principles as your businesses; and
  • Encourage education and innovation within the business by setting staff incentives such as car-pooling to work.

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