Building green, sustainable businesses is essential in the world today. With climate change and sustainability increasingly high up on everyone’s agenda, it is more important than ever that businesses do what they can to reduce their carbon footprints.
Ensuring that your business is as green as possible is not only important for the future of the planet. It will also impact your customers. The general public is increasingly concerned with the environment and increasingly looking to buy products and services from businesses that align with their priorities. In other words, as a business, you will ignore the need to be eco-friendly at your peril.
The first step to reducing your carbon footprint, as a business, is to understand where you are right now, and then analysing how you can improve it to have the biggest impact.
Carbon Footprint Analysis
The best way to understand your business’s carbon footprint right now is to carry out a carbon footprint analysis. Depending on your business this can be a big task, but it is an excellent way to accurately calculate your business’s carbon footprint and begin to make plans into how it can be improved.
A carbon footprint is a measure of the amount of carbon dioxide that is released into the environment according to specific activities. These could be directly, such as from furnaces in your business’s processing plant, or indirectly, such as the carbon emissions that are released through your supply chain.
There are three groups of emissions – depending on how directly they are related to your business:
These emissions come directly from your business and include emissions from chemical production, the combustion of fuel from vehicles, and processing furnaces.
These emissions relate to the energy that is used by your business that is sourced from energy companies – energy such as electricity, cooling, heating, and steam.
Other Indirect Emissions
The third group relates to all of the other indirect emissions that are not covered in group 2. These include any that are not directly controlled by your business, such as employee travel, business travel, supply chain, waste that is created and how it is disposed of, office technology, investments, and consumer use of your products and services.
Gathering information about your carbon emissions can be quite complicated. Some of it can be found through looking at bills or speaking to service providers, and some of it might require more thorough investigation.
When it comes to the energy efficiency of your building, it can be useful to check its energy performance certificate. This is an assessment that is carried out on a commercial building where its energy efficiency features are examined and rated. This is also a good place to start when you are looking to improve your carbon footprint, as suggestions are provided by the energy assessor on how to improve the building’s energy efficiency.
The UK government has devised a conversion guide to help you to calculate your business’s carbon footprint, helping you to get on the path to reducing it.
Once that you have got a detailed analysis as to your business’s carbon footprint, you can set yourself some goals to where you would like to be. These can then be used not only to reduce your impact on the environment but also to show your customers and potential customers how eco-friendly you are.
Reducing your Carbon Footprint
As a business, there will almost certainly be several ways that you can help to reduce your carbon footprint. These include:
- Improving the energy efficiency of your building through cavity wall or roof insulation, installing new, efficient boilers and heating systems, and fitting double glazing.
- Locating your premises where there are good public transport links.
- Ensuring that you are creating as little waste as possible, and what you do create, recycling as much as possible.
- Buying raw materials from suppliers who take their environmental responsibility seriously.
- Investing money with ethical banks.
- Using recycled materials where possible.
- Ensuring eco-friendly best practices in your business.
- Ensuring that your business’s manufacturing processes are as eco-friendly as possible.
- Looking at carbon offsetting as a last resort.
It is not always possible for every business to be 100% net zero. However, this should be the ultimate aim for every business. We are seeing the effects of climate change daily in the world that we live in and bringing down our carbon footprints – both on an individual level and a commercial level – is an important aspect of helping to save the planet.