Decrease operating costs


“Sustainability is not just something we do on top of our business. Making the business more efficient, spending less money on resources and wasting less aren’t just about sustainability, they are simply common sense.” – Simon Pringle, Head of Sustainability and Cleantech, BDO.

Sustainability is not separate from “the day job”, it is part of the very fabric of every business. Acting more sustainably can decrease your operating costs by targeting water usage, waste production, energy usage, heating costs and travel expenses.


Water waste is one of the most significant environmental problems we are all facing, especially in areas that are currently being affected by drought conditions. Consider this – one drop per second wasted is 10,000 litres of water you have paid for but have not used each year.

Water strategies should be put in place alongside energy and emissions, and a recent poll showed that 63% of companies already have water targets.

The more water you use, the more expensive it gets and when 85% of all condensation produced during manufacturing can be recycled there is no business case against water management. A company in Suffolk started to recapture steam generated during brewing and more than halved their water use to pints of beer ratio (3:1 compared to an industry standard of between 6:1 and 8:1).


While reducing waste may not generate revenue in the traditional sense, it will ultimately save your business money.

There are simple ways to reduce waste that are easy to implement, help the environment and save you money in the long run.
For example, print smarter

  • Review everything on screen before printing. Only print if absolutely necessary.
  • When printing is needed, save up to 50% on your paper costs by printing double-sided.

If production is sustainable, then the environment, employees, communities and organisations all benefit. These conditions can lead, always in the long term and often in the short term, to more economically viable and productive enterprises.


Energy-saving bulbs use up to 90% less electricity than old bulbs, but produce the same amount of light. They also last over 10 times longer.

Halogen bulbsCFL bulbsLED bulbs
Rough cost per bulbn/a£6£6
Typical energy saved*20-30%75%85%
Average lifespan (hours)2,00010,00020,000
Time to reach full brightnessInstant30-120 secsInstant
Typical running cost per year£9.86£3.08£1.85

A business can also reduce energy consumption by up to 25% simply by turning off computers and other equipment at the end of the day.


By upgrading single-glazed windows and adding wall and loft insulation heat demand can fall by 75% or more. In older buildings over 30% of the warmth is lost through air leakage.

Always change the building first, then look at the heating system. However, choosing renewable heating systems could save up to £960 a year compared to an old electric system and could allow your business to benefit from government grants like the Renewable Heat Incentive.

Even something as simple as installing a thermostat programmed to reduce the heat during periods of inactivity can save as much as 10% on your heating and cooling bill.


The internet allows us to use reliable teleconferencing for many meetings, completely removing the cost, and expenses, associated with those business trips.

When travel is necessary, having an emissions focused expense policy can encourage staff to make sustainable decisions and reduce your travel expenses.

Studies also show that employees who commute to work using an active travel method (walking or cycling) are more productive, increasing your company’s economic efficiency.