Carbon footprint, sustainability, and eco-friendly are current buzz words in the world of business, as many companies become more aware of their impact on the environment and take positive steps by learning how to reduce the carbon footprint of their business.

It’s a sensible move for several reasons, the benefits of reducing our carbon footprint far outweigh any costs, and there are of course the financial benefits of reduced waste and the increased perception of social responsibility. Not just limited to big business, everyone can take action to reduce their business carbon footprint, as well as their personal carbon footprint.

Recycle and Reuse

Companies reducing their carbon footprint have so many options available now that are made from recycled and environmentally friendly materials. Almost every item in an office from paper to furniture is available in an eco-friendly alternative to virgin paper and plastic.

In addition, many office items can be refilled instead of replaced, such as ink, toner, or rechargeable batteries. Simple steps like this can make a huge difference to resources and the bottom line of a business.

A large variety of office products can be recycled after use too, such as paper, metals, computers and some stationery and accessories.

Cut the Drive

People who drive to work have a much higher carbon footprint than those who walk, cycle, or take public transport. Encourage the use of alternative transport options such as public transport, exercise, or car-pooling between staff.

If your business uses company cars, consider hybrid or electric cars for cleaner running and less fossil fuels. Even better, incorporate work-at-home options for staff. The commute to work inevitably produces carbon emissions that can be eliminated by working from home.

For business that require communication between other cities or countries, consider replacing travel with a video conference. Can the meeting be conducted via Zoom or Skype? A small investment in video conferencing tools might be far less expensive than regular flights and will save hundreds of dollars in travel.

Offer Meat-Free Options

The UN list livestock as being responsible for 14.5% of the world’s GHG emissions, with beef and dairy cattle representing about 65% of these emissions. Animal agriculture is also responsible for mass land clearing, where large portions of native forest are cut or burned for grazing or fodder crops.

As people become aware of their own environmental impact via consumer choices, businesses are jumping on board. In 2018, WeWork implemented a company-wide meat-free policy, and Google offices have introduced vegan options to their company cafeterias.

To gently introduce the concept to the workplace, try Meat-Free Mondays. Delicious plant-based food is now readily available, and there are health benefits as well as environmental.

Turn It Off

Air-conditioning, phone chargers and computers use a surprisingly large amount of energy. Encourage people to turn off and unplug electrical equipment where possible, which will save on the electricity bill alongside a reduction in carbon emissions.

Newer technology tends to be more energy efficient than older air-conditioning systems, fridges or chargers, and it’s worth upgrading to a more modern version for the sake of lower carbon emissions and electricity use.

When it comes to air conditioning, adjusting the temperature by a few degrees can make a big difference to energy consumption. Especially in larger buildings and office environments, it’s important to make sure the size of the machine matches the size of the room, and the temperature is set around 10 degrees higher than you’d normally set it.

Outsource to Socially Responsible Companies

Environmental sustainability goes beyond our own actions. By supporting other businesses that work to make a positive environmental impact, we can create a network of eco-friendly action.

At every stage of a supply chain, there are opportunities to reduce our carbon footprint. These include source materials and their degree of recyclability, the machinery used for production, waste and disposal policies, and transport. Each of these factors make an impact on the environment. Supporting those companies who take an active role in minimising their impact means that you are extending action beyond your own business.

As consumer demand for ethical and environmentally friendly products and processes increases, it’s up to businesses to step up and meet these standards. The benefits stretch beyond good environmental practices. Businesses can enjoy reduced financial costs and a respectable reputation for doing what is right for the environment. It’s a win for all, and importantly, one that doesn’t cost the earth.

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