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Eco-friendly accounting firm – how to do it?


by Joanna Pinkowicz

25 March 2021


Eco-friendliness is a topic that is discussed more and more frequently and is a part of our everyday life. When doing shopping, we increasingly more often choose organic food and natural cosmetics. At home, we sort rubbish and we try to be responsible consumers. We declare our interest in renewable energy sources and look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint. We want to take care of our environment. But in doing so, do we take our eco-friendly practices with us from home to work?

What can you do to make your accounting firm also more eco-friendly? The options are many and most of them do not require major investment.

Start with rubbish sorting

Thanks to recycling, waste can be processed and reused. By sorting rubbish we reduce the amount of waste brought to rubbish dump. Additionally, we save water and energy which would have to be consumed for manufacturing a new product.

The easiest method of sorting rubbish in the office is to place separate containers for glass, paper, plastic, mixed waste, lightbulbs, bottle caps and organic waste. An interesting initiative is e.g. to encourage employees to bring bottle caps collected in their households, and use them to support a charity campaign.

Do you really have to print it out

Most of work involving documents has recently been moved to the Internet, especially now, during the pandemic. We are supported by electronic document flow, servers and e-mailboxes. In the State of Global Paper Industry report compiled by the Environmental Paper Network in 2019 Poland was classified among 26 countries in which paper consumption was at least two times higher than the world’s average. A statistical Polish citizen uses 143 kg of paper every year. Unfortunately, accounting firms and accounting and financial departments lead this disreputable competition.

What can you do to reduce paper use? The answer is simple – switch from printouts to electronic files. Currently, we send and exchange data online, and the most efficient way to archive them is to store them as electronic files. If you really need a hard copy version, print the document two-sided and maximise the printing area. It is also worth making sure that the paper used in your office is recycled or has Blue Angel, Ecolabel or FSC certificates. Supporting eco-friendly suppliers helps the environment.

Save water

Water resources in Poland are low as it is, so it is particularly important to save them. How to do that at work? Taking your good practices from home to work is a good way to start.

Avoiding doing the dishes using running water or starting the dishwasher only when it is full, and install a smaller toilet cistern – these are just examples of things that will help you save from a few to several hundred litres of water, depending on the office size.

The above-mentioned reduction in paper use also translates into lower water consumption. How come? The production of one ream of paper requires as much as 625 litres of water. An average office worker uses on average 1.5 ream per month, which in the case of a medium-sized office means a consumption of almost 190 thousand litres of water.

Renewable energy sources

Electricity consumption makes up a large portion of the running costs of Polish offices. Offices can save electricity by good simple everyday habits such as turning off unnecessary lights or equipment after finishing work. Additionally, eco-friendly offices will make sure to replace their equipment with eco-friendly devices or to upgrade the lighting. Another way to energy efficiency is investing in renewable energy sources, i.e. photovoltaics which has recently become very popular.

Say NO to plastic

Zero waste or less waste movements increase product awareness, and teach us how to use the purchased products as long as possible . Switching from disposable utensils to reusable ones or deciding not to use water in plastic bottles but to use tap water filters or watercoolers instead will effectively reduce the production of plastic waste thereby helping the environment.

Employee engagement

For a change to be effective employees should be engaged in the process. It is a good idea to support the introduction of the first changes towards eco-friendliness with communication. How? Again, the simplest solutions seem to work best – use e-mail. It is a good practice if in the first e-mail addressed to the employees you introduce the person in charge for the area, then describe the planned changes and the expected behaviour. Infographics may come in handy here as they convey the message in a clear and easy-to-read way. Finally, it is important to encourage the employees to actively participate in the initiative and to let them know how they can contribute their own ideas. Creativity knows no bounds so the number of the ideas may positively surprise you.

Whether you are an accounting firm or a financial department in another company, “going green” is not that difficult. What is important is to introduce all the changes gradually. Building awareness will help reduce resource consumption and bills, but above all it will have a positive impact on the environment for which we are all responsible.  


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