Hello, freelancers and Happy Earth Day. Yes, 22nd April is the day where people all over our beautiful blue and green planet celebrate all things Mother Nature and pledge to do their bit to help the environment. The theme this year is “invest in our planet” – and the Earth Day team are calling for businesses, governments and citizens to work together in a “partnership for the planet”. Freelancers are a growing part of the global economy, and so you too have a part to play in supporting a greener future. In this blog, we’re outlining our top ten tips to help you run an eco-friendly business in 2022.
1. Work remotely
Ditch the commute – and all its associated carbon emissions – and keep up with the remote working. Thanks to COVID-19, many more clients are set up to do business remotely, so if you can keep the meetings on Zoom and continue to work from home, this will help significantly lower your carbon footprint.
2. Make lunch at home
Instead of buying overpriced food wrapped in single-use plastic, make your own food at home and take it out-and-about with you. Use reusable containers or wraps to protect it in your bag. This is another earth-friendly tip that’s also good for your wallet.
3. Use public transport
If you do have to head out to your office or visit clients, leave the car at home and take public transport instead. Public transport is far kinder to the environment than single-person car journeys, it’s cheaper than driving (especially when fuel prices are so high), and it has the added bonus that you can work while on the move.
4. Ditch the printer
Printers are a bit of an overlooked scourge on the environment – a lot of wasted plastic, energy and paper. In these days of being able to electronically sign documents, there’s really very little need for one. Give up your addiction to “Ctrl + P” and save the planet!
5. Upcycle where you can
Often a lot of focus is put on the idea of recycling, and we forget that the best way to be green is to “reduce” and “reuse” in the first place. If things are starting to get a bit worn out, try and fix, repair or upcycle them before you decide to replace them. For example, is your work desk looking a bit worse for wear? See if you can fix and paint it instead of replacing. This can be a fun project for your downtime and will save you money too compared to buying new.
6. Recycle everything you can
If there are things that are absolutely beyond re-use, then do everything you can to avoid them going to landfill. There’s very little that can’t be recycled these days, especially when it comes to office equipment. Second-hand computer equipment and mobile phones can be donated to specialist charities who refurbish and redistribute them to people in need, and consumables like batteries and ink cartridges can be recycled.
7. Switch it off
With energy bills on the rise, this is an essential money-saving tip as well as a going green win! Switch off what you aren’t using at the plug. Don’t leave your devices on standby or plugged in to charge when the battery is full. Don’t leave lights or appliances on in rooms that you’re not in – it’s just a waste of energy. If you’re working from home through the day, you can try only heating the room that you’re in and turning off radiators in the rest of the house to keep your bills lower.
8. Use ethical suppliers
Sometimes when you’re running a self-employed business, you can use your purchasing power for good. Rather than always seeking the cheapest option, you could look for suppliers that are doing good things – and trying to have a positive impact on the planet. For example, you could switch your electricity to a renewable energy company, or double check where your coffee is coming from. These days, there are ethical suppliers on the market for everything from teabags to toilet paper!
9. Consider your carbon footprint
One of the barriers to making greener choices is a lack of knowledge about the impact our actions can have. A carbon footprint calculator like the one over at WWF can help you understand what changes you might be able to make to have the biggest impact on your carbon footprint – and the results might surprise you. This will really help you understand how you can work towards a green freelancing business by making the right changes.
10. Explore alternative energy
If the past few months have shown us anything, it’s that reliance on old technologies and fossil fuels is a dangerous – and expensive game. Now is a great time to explore alternative energy options in your area. One of the big announcements in the Chancellor’s Spring Statement was that he was abolishing VAT on energy-saving materials like heat pumps, solar panels and insulation. So if you’re planning any home improvements in the near future, it’s worth doing a bit of research to see if you could cut costs through installing some of these green innovations in your home. But if you’re not ready for big investments, there may be smaller ways to harness green energy – for example, many outdoor gyms will now let you charge your laptop or mobile through pedal power!
Freelancers can lead the way into a cleaner, greener future. Dinghy has been trying to play our part in being a green business too. We offset all our carbon emissions through our partnership with Ecologi. The lovely eco folks at Ecologi help us plant trees and support climate projects across the world – so by taking out a Dinghy freelancer insurance policy, you’re making an eco-friendly choice and helping the planet. We offer freelancing insurance that covers professional indemnity, public liability, business equipment and cyber liability. A quote takes just 30 seconds on our website and brings you another step closer to being an eco freelancer.