Businesses today are becoming more conscious of how they affect the environment. Many companies are searching for ways to reduce their carbon footprint and become more sustainable. Not only do they reduce their own carbon emissions, but they also become an excellent example for clients and partners too.
No matter the size of a business, the changes they make to reduce greenhouse gas emissions help the environment. However, the process of reducing carbon emissions doesn’t happen overnight. Instead, it takes a concerted effort to study how each part of the company can become more eco-friendly. The process may mean changing providers, rethinking processes, and more.
What Does the Term “Carbon Footprint” Mean?
Carbon footprint refers to the amount of carbon dioxide released into the air through certain activities. For instance, when you drive a car fuelled by carbon-based fuel, the vehicle releases carbon dioxide into the air. Another example is the production and use of a plastic bottle of water. Carbon dioxide is released through production, transportation, sourcing the water, and more. Each of the activities used to create the bottle of water creates greenhouse emissions.
That’s a simplified example; however, it illustrates the carbon footprint concept. Each company in the world uses energy to run processes, provide services, and create products. These days, the goal is for a company to reduce its greenhouse emissions to help the environment.
We’ve put together a list of ways your company can reduce its carbon footprint.
Ways Your Business Can Reduce Its Greenhouse Emissions
1. Measure Your Company’s Carbon Footprint
The first step is to measure your company’s carbon footprint. This data provides a baseline of current activities and how large your carbon footprint is right now. This information can then be used to find ways to reduce greenhouse emissions, allowing your business to become more sustainable over time.
2. Use Renewable Energy
One of the first places to start is to use renewable energy to run the company. There are more green energy providers offering renewables than ever before. The first place to start searching for renewable energy services is with your current provider. It’s possible they may have renewable energy plans available.
If your current provider doesn’t offer renewable energy, then it may be time to consider choosing a new provider who can guarantee that their power comes only from renewable sources. If the energy provider doesn’t offer this guarantee, then your energy will come from a variety of sources, which may not all be renewable.
When searching for a green energy provider, check their fuel mix and see if they guarantee that all their power comes from green sources. It’s possible some providers may only be offsetting your usage. Avoid these providers and instead look for those that use only renewable energy sources, which are guaranteed.
3. Choose Sustainable Web Hosting
Even your website may be using too much energy. However, it’s possible to reduce your site’s carbon emissions, too. First, check to see if your current servers are hosted externally. If so, your site could be using a lot of energy to keep the servers running.
If you’d like to reduce your website’s carbon footprint, look for these eco-friendly options:
- Hosting companies that use renewable energy sources
- Carbon offsetting
- Technology that improves energy efficiency
- Energy-saving equipment
4. Use the Three Rs: Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle
Using the three r’s (reduce, reuse, & recycle) is another way your business can become more eco-friendly. It’s essential to think creatively about how to apply the three Rs to each part of your business. They can be applied to all areas of your business, including office supplies, processes, packaging, and more.
For instance, do your employees drink soda from aluminium cans? Then why not consider creating an aluminium can recycling bin? You may be able to make a deal with a local aluminium recycling company to come and empty the container on a regular basis. This way, the aluminium cans don’t end up in the landfill. Instead, the cans are recycled, lowering your company’s carbon footprint.
What about shredding old documents? Rather than tossing documents into the garbage, why not shred them and take them to a paper recycling company?
Rather than buying new office furniture, why not consider buying used office furniture? Not only can your company save money, but you also help reduce your company’s carbon emissions by using furniture that’s used rather than new.
These are just a couple of the ways your company might apply the three Rs. Again, using this method may take some creative thinking. However, the three R’s can dramatically lower your carbon emissions.
5. Choose Sustainable Suppliers
Another way to lower your company’s carbon footprint is to only use sustainable suppliers. Consider that your current suppliers may not be using eco-friendly methods. While you’re not involved in their operations, as a customer, buying their services or products works to increase your own carbon footprint. Changing to greener suppliers can thus lower your own company’s carbon emissions.
Look for suppliers that have ISO 14001 certification. This certification offers proof that the company uses green methods for its Quality Management Systems and that the supplier is actively working to lower waste reduction and improve resource efficiency. Choose suppliers who are CarbonNeutral® certified whenever possible.
6. Use Online Meetings and Events
Today, many companies use a hybrid work model, with some employees in the office and others working remotely. In addition, the hybrid work model has led many businesses to move to online meetings and events.
Online meetings and events are more eco-friendly. For one thing, no one has to travel long distances for the meeting/event. Consider that travel accounts for about 1/5th of total global emissions. By changing over to online events and meetings, your company can lower its carbon footprint and save money on travel costs at the same time.
7. Invest in Green Office Equipment
Another place to lower your company’s carbon footprint is to invest in green office equipment. Here are some ideas to consider when opting for greener office equipment:
- Change to LED lighting and turn off the lights at the end of the day. Try to rely more on natural light during the day.
- Use only kitchen appliances that have a high energy rating.
- Enable energy-saving/battery-saving modes on all PC & mobile devices.
- Lower the office thermostat; lowering it by 1°C can reduce energy for heating by about 13%.
These changes may seem small; however, when combined across the entire company, you may be surprised at how much energy you save. Not only that, but your business may also save money on energy costs.
We’ve mentioned a few ways your business can lower its carbon footprint; however, there are many more you may want to consider.
Before making a move to become more sustainable, it’s a good idea to start with an audit of your company’s carbon emissions. Then use this data as a baseline as you make greener choices. You’ll have a benchmark to measure progress and see where to effectively make changes within or organisation.