In the fight against global warming and climate change, scientists have advised that we need to reduce our carbon footprint. This, therefore, begs the question, what are carbon footprints and how can we reduce them? In a nutshell, your carbon footprint is the total greenhouse gas emissions caused by your activities, either directly or indirectly. They include all the things you buy, use and consume. As such, each person, business, company, organization or government has a carbon footprint. This article will see us how companies, in general, can reduce their carbon footprint.
A company can do a lot to cut its carbon footprints. It is made up of human stakeholders. These people can cut their carbon footprint, either personally or in their respective positions within the company and will do the trick.
This guide to 20 practical improvements that are guaranteed to make your company run more efficiently will help you decide where to start.
20 Smart Ways To Reduce Your Company’s Carbon Footprint
1. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Office supplies, to operations and the supply chain, a company should reduce, reuse and recycle. Be sure to reduce and reuse first as these practices skim the excess. If there is no reusable alternative, or reusing simply does not work for your business, start a recycling program within the office before partnering with the municipality. These three R’s will help avoid too much company waste from ending up in landfills.
2. Invest in renewable energy
The consumption of energy releases carbon emissions unless you are using renewable energy. Solar and wind have become the fastest-growing alternative energies, which are both clean and renewable.
Harnessing the power of renewable energies like solar power will save your company money in the long term, although the initial investment will be a bit costly. If the company owns or has leased property, consider installing solar panels onsite. If you do not, or have limited space, look for the same from your local power supplier.
3. Encourage workers to work from home
This is especially vital, given the current pandemic that has forced people to work from home for almost one full year now. Invest in high-speed internet, powerful home computers, virtual office software and video-conference services.
It is now very easy to work from home, which can be done like once a month or week, or even full time. In doing so, workers will avoid emitting more gases into the air through their vehicles or public transportation, and will leave them more motivated to work, as they can do it at the comfort of their homes.
4. Upgrade your office
In line with installing renewable energy into the office, you might as well consider replacing some conventional devices and appliances, and resort to the newer versions. Replace your old, inefficient incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs that save on electricity and money. Invest in good blinds and shading, upgrade your windows, and conduct maintenance on the company’s heating systems. Upgrading the office in these ways will save on the power used and money, not forgetting its carbon emissions.
5. Travel smart
In line with encouraging workers to work from home thereby driving less, you might also consider traveling smart, if you have to. Let your workers ride electric bikes, which have zero-free emissions, or switch to electric cars. They also use electric power, powered by a rechargeable battery, which significantly cuts on carbon emissions.
6. Fly less
Some businesses might force you to fly to another location in an instant. Unfortunately, air travel contributes to a myriad of emissions. As such, if you can avoid flying and utilise technology, you will be cutting on your carbon emissions. For instance, for every 1600 miles of air travel you avoid, you end up saving 720 pounds of carbon emissions.
7. Participate in the real world
You might not be able to do this at the office setting but will require you to go to the real world. Participate in activities that help save the environment, like planting more trees, educating the people on cutting their carbon footprints, and cleaning the environment. Become an advocate for the environment both in the company, and outside.
8. Educate yourself, your staff and customers
It means nothing if you are trying to cut on your carbon footprint, but no one else in your company has such knowledge. Therefore, let there be a civil conversation on the topic with your staff, the board of directors, and even customers. If everyone is aware of your policies to reduce carbon emissions, you will be making a huge step towards cutting your footprint, as well as any that might arise from your products.
9. Implement the same at home
All these smart ways of cutting your carbon footprint should not apply to your business or company alone; they should also be applied on a personal level. Consider replacing your bulbs at home, installing solar panels, using renewable energy at home, as well as educating your family, neighbors and society on how to cut your carbon footprint.
10. Embrace technology
Some companies still rely on paper for their operations. However, it is time to embrace technologies and forego papers. Its production is a major consumer of energy and results in greenhouse emissions. As such, give up paper and turn to technologies. Invest in software that will ensure you go paperless and if you have to use paper, print on both sides of the paper and use as few papers as possible.
11. Unplug if not in use
All electrical appliances draw power from the grid as long as they are on, even if they are not being used. Even in ‘standby mode’ these devices draw some power which has some effect on the environment. If you are not using your TV, microwave, air conditioner, computer or other devices, unplug it completely. Flipping the switch could also do the trick and is the simplest teaching you can pass on to other staff or family members, towards cutting your carbon emissions.
12. Eat less meat
Meat has a huge carbon footprint because of the inefficient transformation of plant energy to animal energy. Agriculture is the leading source of deforestation in the Amazon, to make space for grazing cattle, and the billions of animals in the animals, have to be fed every year.
All that feed has to be grown, harvested and transported in a manner that produces emissions that are unhealthy for the environment. Additionally, all these animals release carbon, especially cattle in the form of methane, a greenhouse gas that is significantly more effective at trapping heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Avoiding meat would mean fewer animals have to be slaughtered or even grazed.
13. Switch to smart shipping
If your company relies on the shipment of products, you might want to look for greener shipping methods. Avoid shipping by air as it has lower fuel efficiency than ground delivery. Reduce the number of shipments by maximizing capacity rather than shipping in several light loads that consume more fuel.
14. Don’t waste water
For people to get safe water, it has to be pumped, treated and even warmed, all of which take up a significantly high amount of water. 3% of all the United States’ energy is used to just pump and treat water. Saving up on water will reduce energy costs, as well as reduce greenhouse gas pollution.
You should take simple steps, both at home and at the company, like fixing leaky faucets and fixtures. At home, take showers rather than baths, and turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth. Whether at home or t the office, fix leaky toilets, as they can waste up to 20 gallons of water daily.
15. Evaluate your current carbon consumption
Hire an expert or get an emissions-conscious office manager, who can evaluate your company’s carbon consumption in a day. This helps in assessing where you currently stand, to know how you can improve. Benchmark the present number of greenhouse gases generated and you will be able to develop an appropriate strategy to follow.
16. Utilise Fairtrade
The reality in life is that international trade will not stop for climate change. To reduce business’ carbon footprint, sustainable solutions in globalization have to be introduced, and this is where Fairtrade comes in.
Fairtrade organizations aim to equip smallholder farmers with the tools to adapt to and combat climate change since they will disproportionately be affected by climate change. These tools include developing nutrient-rich soils and investing in reforestation projects. These projects sequester carbon and also foster environmentally-sustainable agricultural products.
17. Raise your business voice
Companies and businesses have a voice and they ought to use it to help lower carbon footprint. Today, environmentally-woke customers only want to purchase from companies that align with their values and the best way to do so is to support policies that save the environment.
Today, about 82% of US Fortune employees want to work with companies that are vocal about social issues, and 87% of customers purchase from a company that advocates for an issue they care about. Businesses and companies should be vocal about reducing carbon footprints and customers, investors and employees will respond similarly.
18. Support positive legislation
Sometimes, it is up to a higher power to help see what the future will be. In most cases, that higher power is the government. The government should be the first in line to help cut their carbon footprint, and organizations, individuals and companies will follow.
The US, under former President Trump, pulled out of the 2015 Paris Agreement, that seeks to fight climate change. Some businesses and investors continued to fight, pledging to continue working towards accord standards. It means if the government or higher authority does not want to support legislation aimed at cutting back on carbon emissions, companies, corporations, individuals and investors should not give up the fight.
19. Engage with sustainable partners only
Consider partnering with other local businesses who are also in the fight against climate change or for a greener world. At the same time, only work with partners who share your passion for limiting your carbon emissions, so that you all have a positive impact on the environment. Create sustainable business relationships to hold each company accountable as well as help reduce your carbon footprints in the long run.
20. Measure your progress
Be sure to check back and see if you are staying on track and consistently reducing your carbon footprint. This should be done by measuring your company’s progress, where you create a timetabled strategy of what you are implementing and how much energy you expect to save against the amount being saved. You will therefore be able to adjust your plan over time.