REDUCING YOUR CARBON FOOTPRINT
‘Carbon Footprint’ refers to the levels of carbon dioxide and other ‘greenhouse gasses’ that are released into the atmosphere as a direct result of business activities. This can be from obvious sources, such as vehicles, or from more discrete sources such as boilers and heaters.
Reducing your carbon footprint can be completed internally and along your entire supply chain. With more and more sustainably minded companies popping up every day, there is usually a supplier who has considered their impact too.
Why Should I Reduce the Carbon Footprint of my Business?
From a business point of view, the environmental impact of a company is a growing concern for many customers, so keeping your carbon footprint low is important for your bottom line as well as protecting the natural world.
From an environmental point of view, producing carbon dioxide reduces levels of greenhouse gasses in our atmosphere. Greenhouse gasses are important for trapping heat in the atmosphere, so a reduction in these gasses is closely linked to changes in the Earths’ climate – so reducing your footprint helps the atmosphere to operate normally.
Cutting your emissions will also usually mean a cost saving, meaning your profit margins will be higher.
What is Carbon Offsetting?
Carbon offsetting refers to the process of balancing your carbon output with an equivalent decrease in carbon through a carbon neutral or carbon negative activity – for example, a tree will use carbon dioxide and produce oxygen, offsetting the carbon produced by another activity.
Whilst it is debatable that carbon offsetting is as good as having no carbon emissions, it is a step in the right direction. For many companies, completely removing all carbon footprint related activities is not possible, so carbon offsetting can support an ethos of reduction effectively – and your customers will appreciate the efforts.
TOP 10 WAYS TO REDUCE YOUR FOOTPRINT
Top 10 Ways to Reduce your Footprint
1. Light It Up
Use LED or energy saving bulbs as they use far less energy (and cost less to run) than old style incandescent bulbs. Even better, install ‘occupancy sensors’ which are motion sensing.
2. Green Giants
A living wall is a great PR opportunity and looks fantastic, but simply planting a tree or some flowers is a good start toward carbon offsetting. You can also sponsor or organise a corporate tree planting day to involve your employees too.
3. Solar Flair
Adding solar panels to a building reduces the energy needed from the National Grid, and in some cases you can make money by producing more energy than you use – this then goes back to the grid and boosts your bottom line.
If the cost of solar panels to cover the whole business is too high, consider isolating certain activities and using smaller solar panels to complete specific tasks.
4. Travel Update
Switch over to electric cars or low emission vehicles. If the cost of this upgrade is too high, there are some other simple ways to reduce road damage. Driving slower, pumping up tyres regularly, getting an annual service and organising car sharing can all help reduce your emissions. The worst culprit is air travel, so where possible go by rail, road or sea instead.
You could also try to introduce a walking, cycling and public transport culture, perhaps with a competition or reward scheme. The government has a ‘Cycle to Work’ scheme which you could adopt. Alternatively, where possible, allow people to work from home, or do conference calls and Skype instead of getting staff to travel to meetings.
5. Turn it Off
Encourage staff to turn off computers, lights and other electronics when they leave for the day. Remember that electrical equipment still uses small amounts of power when in standby mode so try to turn off at the socket if possible – especially things like chargers, kettles and microwaves. Make sure that all computers have screen savers and energy saving mode active.
6. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
Reduce your purchases to what you need to prevent waste – especially with printing. Try to make things digital, or if you have to print then make it double sided.
Make an effort to reuse where possible. If you can’t reduce or reuse, try to recycle any rubbish and create a culture at work of recycling and reducing waste. This works for purchasing too – why not buy second hand furniture? Gumtree and Freecycle are great places to spot a bargain and help with recycling too.
7. Supply Chain Secrets
Review your supply chain. Can you reduce how much you buy? Could you pick more environmentally considerate companies to do business with? Could you switch to a company that ship by rail or sea rather than by air? All of these will help reduce emissions along your supply chain.
8. Heating and Cooling
Put the temperature down a bit, or opening a window rather than using air conditioning, makes an impact over time.
9. Flushed Away
Having an economy flush option on a toilet saves water – and therefore the environmental cost of cleaning water.
10. Upgrade your Access
Whilst using the stairs is completely carbon neutral, businesses need access solutions. Gartec lifts typically cost less to run than a kettle, are made from 95% recyclable materials, and are more energy efficient than a conventional lift – if you need a lift for access or disabled users, a Gartec passenger platform lift is an environmentally friendly option.