Michael Lansdell: Save the planet, improve your business
COVID-19 hasn’t made the climate crisis go away, and it’s no longer just huge, multi-national corporations that need to be more accountable and make changes to reduce their impact on the environment – it’s everyone, including every dental practice.
Maybe you don’t need a fleet of cars to get your associates to work, but by reviewing your operating procedures in line with climate concerns your business will reap enormous rewards. Before we get to financial benefits – and there are plenty – becoming an environmentally responsible practice will be rewarding in other ways.
It can strengthen relationships within the dental team and help you forge connections with other companies, organisations and groups in your area. Taking part in local environmental initiatives (cycle schemes, clean-ups of public spaces) is not only fun, but creates a positive workplace culture.
Positioning your practice as caring and community-spirited will enhance your brand and generate buzz for your services. And there are areas to look at that will not only boost your environmental credentials, but will improve efficiency and save you money – a win/win!
Do you need to reduce or replace any fossil-fuel heating for something ‘cleaner’? Would solar panelling be a viable investment? At the other end of the scale, set practical, everyday rules to change habits. Switch to energy-efficient lighting if you haven’t done so and be strict about turning lights off when they’re not in use.
What else? High-quality LED lamps make a working environment look and feel cooler as well as brighter. Shut down all tech at the end of the day and maintain equipment and appliances to ensure they are working at their optimum efficiency setting. If you use a ventilation/air-conditioning system, consider its efficiency rating and look at alternatives.
Your recycling protocols should be set in stone, with a fool-proof system for identifying what can be recycled or reused. There are a lot of single-use plastics in a dental practice, which are not only unfriendly to the environment, but not particularly good value either.
Switching to paper from plastic cups is an obvious example; autoclavable reusable impression trays are a less-wasteful alternative to single-use trays. Go paperless. I have previously covered the benefits of going paperless. From a dental practice’s perspective, it’s more efficient, saves space and is more secure.
Cloud-based accounting can revolutionise a business; information is accessible at the touch of a button and can easily be shared. A paperless practice will save money as well as reduce waste. There are some fantastic, good-value options on the market that will change the way you work for the better.
Research environmentally-conscious supplier(s) that could offer good deals on more ethical options. When it comes to travel, encourage car-sharing (when the science says it’s safe once more). Use the filesharing software and video conferencing that it becoming widely available during lockdown. When it comes to CPD, online learning and webinars are of increasingly high quality.
When we return to normal every dental practice should start thinking about its impact on the environment and how it can make positive changes. These changes can add genuine value to your business, not just from an environmental point of view, but to your profitability. Be a leader – not only for your team, but in your community. A successful, thriving practice can alsobe a responsible one.
Michael Lansdell is a specialist accountant and co-founder of Lansdell & Rose (https://lansdellrose.co.uk/). He adds: “Lansdell & Rose offers its dental clients a cloud-based accounting solution as part of its accountancy and tax-planning package.”
Photos by Bill Oxford and Nicholas Doherty on Unsplash