There’s little doubt that the world is waking up to the need for urgent action on climate change. An opinion poll in July 2019 suggested that 85% of the UK population are concerned about the issue, with over half saying they are ‘very concerned’. While the government has formally committed the UK to becoming carbon neutral by 2050, many businesses are already working to reduce their own environmental impact. But they can’t do it alone.

To reach true carbon neutrality, businesses will need to look beyond their own activities to their whole supply chain. As well as addressing their own environmental impact, they will need to commit to working only with other businesses with good green credentials.

Planning for success

Any company serious about sustainability needs to have a clear view of its impact on the environment, and a coherent plan to minimise it – in other words an active environmental management system. As an ISO14001 accredited business, ASL has initiatives in place to identify how it interacts with the environment, spot any actual and potential environmental impacts, and measure progress in meeting its environmental objectives. This means monitoring and reducing the environmental impact of customers, staff, suppliers and channel partners – as well as its own.

Helping customers reduce waste

Through products like PaperCut, a print and photocopy accounting tool, ASL has helped over 50,000 businesses worldwide reduce paper usage. In March 2019 ASL also partnered with PrintReleaf, an innovative platform that converts paper footprint into actual trees. Since then, its customers have collectively offset the equivalent of 3.78 million pages by planting over 450 trees. ASL also operates a 100% cartridge recycling scheme – making it as easy as possible for its customers by providing and collecting the recycling boxes.

Reducing operational impact

ASL uses Ecotricity for all its internal energy needs. Ecotricity is arguably the UK’s greenest energy company and ensures it is making a genuine contribution by generating the equivalent in green energy that its customers take out of the grid. ASL has also switched all its main offices to LED lighting to reduce consumption. Recycling bins are used throughout the offices.

To help to reduce transport emissions and lower fuel consumption, ASL offers staff the opportunity to work from home and encourages the use of online meeting facilities and collaboration tools. It also provides EV charging points at all its main facilities, and Board Directors drive Hybrid Vehicles.

ASL monitors customers’ machines remotely to ensure they are at optimum efficiency, to reduce call outs. When a visit is required, ASL minimises travel by ensuring engineers are local to the organisation.

Let’s work together

Reducing environmental impact doesn’t stop at the front door. Where possible ASL works only with other ISO14001 accredited companies, to ensure that the products it supplies have as little environmental impact as possible. And of course, this works both ways. For example, ASL uses Ecotricity to supply its green energy, and Ecotricity in turn uses ASL to supply its print devices. Modern businesses need to do more than look to their own environmental footprint. They need to work together to ensure the whole supply chain is sustainable – or get left behind.