Take the Leap Into a Sustainable Future

leap_into_futureWe now live in a society where it has become imperative to make greener choices if you want to stand out in business. As consumers become ever more savvy to sustainable measures, they want to turn to companies who are making ethical choices. If for no other reason, going green has become a great selling point.

As a business, profits must remain a priority, so for many smaller businesses it is not always realistic to make large investments in renewable energy sources, for example. But, there are other ways to access these emerging technologies, as Jiva Dental has found out.

The dental practise in Surrey has made enough changes to their premises that they have earned the title of the first – and only – carbon neutral dental practise, not just in the UK, but in the world. In terms of changing your energy consumption, and energy bill cost, it can be done, one step at a time.

This was achieved at Jiva Dental after Principal Dentist, Dr. Bob Bhamra, travelled the world in 2004, and came back to the UK – and his dentistry career – with a new outlook to business and the environment. Acknowledging that almost everything we do contributes to our carbon footprint, Dr. Bhamra set out to reduce the carbon offset of the practise, and ensure that their energy sources were as sustainable as possible.

For those who believe this was an overnight success, it wasn’t, and even Dr. Bhamra acknowledges that there is still work to be done. He has said: “We’re not perfect, but we are passionate about doing ‘our bit’”.

This is so much the case that for all the emissions he is unable to curb, they are offset through investment in various programmes across the world, many of which include investment in renewable energy.

For example, Jiva Dental helps The Solar Electric Light Company in the more remote areas of India. This company take kerosene lights, which are currently used for lighting homes although very polluting to the environment, and replaces these with solar panels. Not only does this ensure that the energy used is now renewable, but it also ensures that the community are able to achieve more in the evenings that they may not before, such as studying or working.

Proving that you don’t need to shower your facility in solar panels to take advantage of cleaner energy, Jiva also switched their electricity supply to Ecotricity, which supplies exclusively from renewables such as wind, water and solar. Ecotricity not only powers the practise without the need to burn any fuels, but it re-invests it’s money into the building of more green energy, meaning that Jiva are not just improving their own green credentials, but cultivating the access to it for others by selecting an ethically sound supplier.

The rest of amendments from the practise has come with time and dedication, including making a conscious decision to ensure anything purchased is recycled, from the floors installed to the paper used in daily admin. They ensure that no energy is wasted, through energy-efficient IT systems, as well as insulating the facility appropriately so no heat is lost (Jiva have done this using recycled materials such as recycled glass, sand and limestone). Their air conditioning is the most energy-efficient on the market and even the beverages offered to customers and staff, are Fairtrade and organic – solidifying their status as a business with a conscience.

Some of these aren’t actually difficult tasks to achieve and simply involved buying a different brand of paper of coffee. Certainly changing IT equipment isn’t feasible for all small facilities at once, but at some point, it will be time for an upgrade and that is the moment to decide whether you want to be a part of the green movement.

So go on, take the leap and become more environmentally responsible. With little steps, they eventually amount to a big difference.

This guest post was written by Karen Asbury from Jiva Dental, the UK’s first Carbon Neutral dental practice, located in Kingston-Upon-Thames.

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