Issues such as corporate sustainability, energy efficiency and environmental protection look set to remain high on the agenda for businesses, consumers and the political establishment in 2018.
There has been encouraging progress on these fronts in the past year, but it's clear that there is still a long way to go and many improvements yet to be made. Looking ahead to the coming year, businesses will be thinking about how they can contribute to achieving some of the ambitious goals and targets that have been set for 2018 and beyond.
All organisations and businesses across the UK have some exciting targets to aspire to if they want to become greener and play an important role in the drive towards true sustainability.
In January 2018, the government published its 25 Year Environment Plan, setting out its proposals for making major environmental improvements over the course of a generation.
Key measures include a consultation on a new watchdog that will hold the government to account on green standards. A 'net environmental gain' principle for development of buildings will help to ensure that new constructions deliver environmental improvements on a local and national level.
Environment secretary Michael Gove said: "Through this plan we will build on our reputation as a global leader in environmental protection, creating an environment everyone can enjoy and helping the next generation flourish."
On the renewable energy front, the WWF has noted that Britain broke 13 different records in 2017, and this encouraging trend is set to continue this year. The campaign group said 2018 could usher in "a new era of low-carbon electricity".
Gareth Redmond-King, WWF head of energy and climate, said: "We have never been cleaner or greener - and we are on course for an even better year in 2018. Climate change is wreaking havoc on our nature and wildlife, but we are at last facing up to the challenge, turning our backs on polluting fossil fuels and embracing a new clean future."
How businesses can be part of the green revolution
If your organisation is encouraged by Britain's recent progress on environmental matters and bold ambitions for the future, you might be thinking about how you can make an active contribution to this movement.
Here are some practical measures that businesses of all sizes can implement to raise their green standards:
Optimise energy consumption
The amount of energy a business consumes is a hugely significant element of its overall carbon footprint and environmental performance.
There are many options available if you are looking for ways to optimise your energy consumption. Installing natural ventilation, for example, can reduce your reliance on expensive, power-hungry heating and cooling units by making the most efficient use of outside air and the warmth already in the room.
Raise staff awareness and encourage positive habits
Your workforce is one of your most powerful resources to achieve genuinely beneficial change across the organisation.
Launching initiatives such as dedicated training programmes or collaborative, employee-led energy-saving projects can introduce people to more positive habits and show why they are so important.
Eco-friendly performance doesn't stop with the business itself. It's important to subject your various suppliers and service partners to close scrutiny to ensure they are living up to the same green standards you expect of your own organisation.
When you are sourcing key goods and services, look for suppliers that attach importance to principles such as sustainable production and recyclable packaging.
Ditch inefficient appliances
From office computers and printers to kitchen appliances and light bulbs, there are many electrical items operating in the typical workplace that play a key part in organisational sustainability and efficiency.
If you have fallen into bad habits of using the same products for a long time, look for modern alternatives that could make your organisation greener while cutting your energy bills.
Image credit: eccolo74 via iStock