Keeping check on your environmental impact while diversifying
Diversifying your farm can be a quick win for your pocket but what about for the environment? If your new business pursuits create a harmful environmental impact, then not only are you jeopardising your local ecosystem, but you are risking future profits.
While you may be gaining quick wins. For example, hiring out your farm as a wedding venue, the next day when erosion and litter have caused a negative environmental impact, your crops may yield less produce at the next harvest or your local river may be polluted affecting tourism.
Consequently, it is important to keep a check on your environmental impact while diversifying and expanding your business. Read on to discover our tops tips to stay ahead of the game.
Monitoring and measuring
Monitoring and measuring your energy, land, water and waste can help you keep on top of any environmental impacts that your business may cause. By analysing data month on month, you will be able to highlight periods of concern and address them accordingly.
For example, if you know that during the summer you will need extra water can you arrange water storage and harvest rainwater in the winter. During periods of cold weather, when you know you will need to spend on heating, ensure your wind turbines are up and running.
Monitoring can be done using an excel spreadsheet. Have a tab for each operation and input raw data. Next, to the raw data, you can insert graphs which will highlight trends you need to be made aware of. Knowing where you are currently will also help you to set financial and environmental goals in the future.
In addition, monitoring will help you identify any issues. If water usage is very high one month, you may need to check for leaks.
Introduce sustainable development
Diversification can be environmental too. Just because you are increasing profits, it doesn’t mean you need to cause detrimental environmental impacts. Try to tie in protecting the environment with diversification.
For example, hosting a summer festival provides the perfect opportunity to have inspirational environmental speakers talk. Engaging with the public can make a real difference too. This not only will help your business but will bring together the local community.
Be one of a kind and stand out for the great work you are doing.
Invest in the right tools
If hosting large events or functions, ensure you have a plan in place to mitigate any environmental impacts. For example, investing in the appropriate bin infrastructure will ensure that waste is disposed of appropriately and doesn’t enter local waterways.
Why not separate food waste and use it to make compost. You could even sell or give away for free coffee ground waste made in the coffee machines. Coffee grounds are great for the garden. Alternatively, coffee grounds can be transformed into coffee logs and used to heat homes.
Encourage your guests to bring reusable water bottles by selling drinks at a discounted cost to those who have their own.
Be wary of investing in compostable packaging that is expensive and not necessarily more environmental. This is because compostable packaging needs to be sent to an industrial composter to be broken down (if it is left outside, it will stay outside and not breakdown for decades). There are many misconceptions regarding this.
In order to keep a check on environmental impacts plot your carbon footprint. This will show how much carbon emissions are created by different aspects of your business. In this way, areas that need to improve will be highlighted. These can be points to focus on going forward. It may bring to your attention that your energy usage has the highest environmental impact. To combat this can you swap to a renewable energy tariff or invest in solar panels?
Compare Your footprint is a tool that can map your emissions for you in an easy and realisable manner.
Ask for help
While diversifying may cause environmental impacts if doesn’t have to. If you stay on top of your operations and regularly check what you are doing, you will be able to prevent lasting damage.
We would love to hear from you on what you have done to limit your environmental impact, send them to us here and we will share them on the website. We look forward to hearing from you.
Like what you have read get in touch with Green Element to find out more. We can produce a carbon footprint for you and advise on how to reduce your environmental impact while diversifying your business.