- A sustainable coworking space is one that is designed, operated, and maintained in a way that minimizes its negative impact on the environment and maximizes its positive impact on the community.
- It’s key to have a clear understanding of what steps it takes to make your coworking space more environmentally friendly.
- Practices can include taking steps to reduce energy and resource consumption, decrease waste generation, and promoting sustainable practices among members.
As awareness of environmental issues continues to grow, businesses are increasingly recognizing the importance of sustainability in their operations.
According to Forbes, a whopping 90% of business leaders believe that sustainability is important, but only 60% of companies have a sustainability strategy in place. This suggests that there is still a lot of work to be done to ensure that businesses are doing their part to reduce their environmental impact.
If you’re among the business owners or managers who have yet to develop a sustainability strategy for your coworking space, you’re not alone. But don’t worry — with the right guidance and commitment, it’s entirely possible to reduce your environmental footprint and make your workspace more sustainable.
This guide explores the steps you can take to create a more sustainable coworking environment, from small changes that you can implement right away to larger, long-term initiatives that require more planning and investment.
It’s key to have a clear understanding of what it takes to make your coworking space more environmentally friendly, and to be equipped with the knowledge and tools you need to get started.
What It Means to Be Sustainable & Why It’s Important
A sustainable coworking space is one that is designed, operated, and maintained in a way that minimizes its negative impact on the environment and maximizes its positive impact on the community. This means taking steps to reduce energy and resource consumption, decrease waste generation, and promote sustainable practices among members.
There are several reasons why it’s important for coworking spaces to prioritize sustainability.
- First and foremost, it’s simply the right thing to do. We all have a responsibility to minimize our impact on the planet and ensure that future generations are able to enjoy a healthy and thriving environment. By operating sustainably, coworking spaces can contribute to this goal and demonstrate their commitment to environmental stewardship.
- In addition to its moral imperative, sustainability also makes good business sense. Coworking spaces that prioritize sustainability are likely to attract members who share those values and are looking for a workspace that aligns with their personal or professional goals. By reducing energy and resource consumption, coworking spaces can save money on operational costs in the long run.
- Studies have shown that there is a strong correlation between sustainability and consumer loyalty. According to Forbes, 88% of consumers are more likely to be loyal to a company that supports social or environmental issues. Additionally, a study by Wunderman Thompson found that 83% of consumers would choose a brand with a better sustainability record over a competitor.
- Finally, sustainable coworking spaces can have a positive impact on the local community. By promoting sustainable practices among members and engaging in community initiatives, coworking spaces can demonstrate their commitment to social responsibility and build a positive reputation among their neighbors.
12 Steps to a Sustainable Coworking Space
Becoming a sustainable coworking space involves taking a range of steps to minimize your environmental impact, reduce resource consumption, and promote sustainable practices among members.
Here are some key steps you can take:
- Conduct an environmental audit: Start by assessing your current operations and identifying areas where you can reduce waste and energy consumption. This could include conducting an energy audit, assessing your water usage, and analyzing your waste generation and disposal practices.
- Develop a sustainability plan: Based on the results of your environmental audit, develop a sustainability plan that outlines specific goals and targets for reducing your environmental impact. Your plan should include short-term and long-term goals, as well as strategies for engaging members in your sustainability efforts.
- Reduce energy consumption: There are many ways to reduce your energy consumption, from switching to energy-efficient lighting to investing in renewable energy sources like solar panels. You can also encourage members to turn off lights and electronics when not in use, and implement policies to reduce unnecessary energy consumption.
- Promote sustainable transportation: Encourage members to use alternative transportation options like biking, walking, or public transit to reduce carbon emissions. You can also provide bike racks, showers, and other amenities to support sustainable commuting.
- Reduce waste: Implement a comprehensive waste reduction and recycling program to divert as much waste as possible from landfills. This could include providing recycling bins, composting food waste, and encouraging members to use reusable dishes and utensils.
- Implement coworking space software: Utilize coworking space management software to digitize paperwork and communication, such as electronic billing, paperless contracts, and touchless sign-in. This will reduce paper usage and increase efficiency, while also creating a more streamlined and professional member experience.
- Use low-VOC paint: Use low volatile organic compound (VOC) paint when painting or renovating the space. Low-VOC paint emits fewer toxic chemicals, reducing indoor air pollution and improving indoor air quality.
- Clean with green products: Choose eco-friendly cleaning products that are free from harmful chemicals and toxins. This will help to reduce the number of harmful chemicals released into the environment and improve indoor air quality.
- Green the space with plants: Incorporate plants into the coworking space and use reverse osmosis systems to improve air and water quality and promote a sense of well-being among members. Plants can help to remove toxins from the air and add natural beauty to the space.
- Ditch single-use items: Eliminate single-use items like plastic cups, utensils, and water bottles. Encourage members to bring their own reusable items or provide alternatives like ceramic mugs and reusable water bottles. This will reduce waste and promote sustainable habits.
- Encourage sustainable practices among members: Educate your members about sustainability and encourage them to adopt sustainable practices in their own businesses. This could include providing resources and tools to help members reduce their own environmental impact and recognizing members who prioritize sustainability.
- Opt for eco-friendly certifications: Consider obtaining certifications that prove your coworking space is eco-friendly. These certifications can help demonstrate your commitment to sustainability and attract members who prioritize sustainability.
Here are some examples of eco-friendly certifications:
- LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): A certification program that evaluates building design and construction practices to promote sustainability and energy efficiency.
- Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI): A certification program that offers a range of sustainability certifications, including the LEED certification.
- Green Seal: A certification program that evaluates products and services for environmental sustainability and performance.
- B Corp: A certification program that evaluates companies on social and environmental performance, accountability, and transparency.
In conclusion, by implementing sustainable practices, coworking spaces can reduce their environmental footprint and promote a more sustainable future for our planet. Not only does this benefit the environment, but it also has numerous benefits for coworking businesses, such as:
- attracting and retaining environmentally conscious members,
- reducing operating costs,
- and improving the overall health and well-being of the workspace.
As we move towards a more sustainable future, it is important that coworking spaces play their part in reducing their environmental impact and promoting sustainable practices. By following the steps outlined in this guide and continuously striving to improve sustainability practices, coworking spaces can create a positive impact on both their business and the environment.