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Mean, Lean and Green

By 28th July 2014No Comments

Effective Cost Management is not a one-hit wonder: it needs to be an ongoing activity.

The costs of products and utilities affect every organisation, and the key to financial success is making sure that you manage your overheads. Furthermore, looking at ways of improving your ‘green’ credentials will give you an edge over your competitors.

There are three steps to this approach:

‘Mean’ -this is all about minimising your costs by smarter purchasing.

‘Lean’ – this is all about understanding every aspect of your usage and consumption: not
just energy and utilities but also your consumables spend.

‘Green’ – this is all about looking for any environmentally friendly solutions that are
available, whether it is renewable energy or the recyclable products and services you procure.

Let’s look at some practical examples.


  • Smart procurement can mitigate the ever-increasing cost of energy.
  • Installing more efficient lighting, controls and insulation will reduce consumption alongside buying more energy efficient IT and kitchen equipment.
  • Examining the green options available will provide added value to your organisation’s
    offering – renewable energy is not only environmentally friendly but it can be a potential revenue source.


  • Check your invoices carefully as many water companies have complex charging
    arrangements that need to be examined closely.
  • Measure your consumption with other settings; this may identify potential leaks, misuse
    or incorrect control settings. Your consumption may be reduced by installing equipment to
    restrict or reduce the flow of water.


  • Costs can be reduced dramatically in this very competitive market by shopping around.
  • Make sure that waste is kept in separate streams and that you only put into the general
    waste bin those things that cannot be recycled; keep food waste and clinical waste separate.
  • Encourage the children to put paper and cardboard into a specially labelled bin.
  • Select suppliers who embrace recycling solutions such as anaerobic digestion to turn
    food waste into energy and compost – even soiled nappies can be turned into roofing tiles, plastic cladding, industrial tubes and cardboard packaging! This saves the use of fresh raw materials in the manufacturing processes.

Resources and toys

Search for products where recycled materials are being used, from stationery (recycled
paper) to green toys (recycled milk-bottles) and furniture (rubber wood – the most ecologically ‘friendly’ lumber used today). These provide enormous opportunities to benefit from reduced costs as well as using more sustainable products.

Consumable Products

Look for cleaning products that have minimum impact on the environment and are available in concentrates to benefit your costs.

There are lots of other opportunities: use Green Minutes for telephoning, reduce print
costs by setting the default mode to mono, and use paper clips rather than staples. All of these options have an impact on cost. Also recycle equipment such as computers for re-use.

Many consumers are already knowledgeable and fiercely passionate about environmental
issues. Communicating a more positive environmental stance to your existing and
prospective customers, by adopting a Mean, Lean and Green policy, will also yield significant bottom line benefits.

The article “Mean, Lean and Green” was first published in Teach Nursery Magazine