What is your business carbon footprint?
The phrase ‘carbon footprint’ refers to the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere by an individual, business or organisation. It is important for any business to know and reduce their carbon footprint because it affects the environment, and contributes to the ever-worsening problem of climate change.
A company's "carbon footprint" is a measure of how much greenhouse gas (e.g., CO2) they release into the atmosphere. Certain activities have a higher carbon cost than others do, so it's important to know which those are and how to avoid them.
According to this recent report, 100 businesses are responsible for a staggering 71% of all industrial emissions since climate change was officially declared a problem. But it’s not just them. When left unchecked, the activities of big and small companies alike can rack up significant environmental impact (and not the positive kind)!
It is important to know and reduce your environmental footprint if you are running a business. This is especially true in business because the products we produce and use generally have larger carbon footprints than personal ones.
The good news: It’s really easy to make some minor changes to cut your footprint today
Here are 5 easy ways that you can start to reduce your business’ carbon footprint:
1. Look for ways to save energy in your workplace
When you start to look for them, you’ll start to see all sorts of ways you can reduce energy use in your workplace.
Stuck for ideas? Here are a few to get you started:
- turn off lights when they're not needed
- use efficient equipment and appliances
- set thermostats at 68 degrees or higher during the day
- change out your lightbulbs for LEDs
- make sure employees turn off their computers over night
2. Reduce paper usage
Reducing your dependence on paper can go a long way for your business. You can easily reduce your impact by printing double sided whenever possible, recycling all paper and cardboard scraps from within the office as well as that of customers, providing digital copies where feasible.
3. Make an effort to reduce transportation emissions
Your transport choices can make a real impact both to the environment and to the health and wellbeing of your employees. By choosing to walk or travel by bicycle wherever possible, you’ll be promoting a healthier planet and a healthier lifestyle. If that’s not doable, try to encourage public transit over driving a car whenever possible.
Think about what travel is actually necessary for the work to take place. Could that meeting take place over Zoom? Could any of your employees work from home some or all of the time?
4. Reduce digital clutter
It's not just physical items that have a carbon footprint. You might be surprised to find out how carbon intensive your digital life is. Every email sent, item posted on social media and every piece of data stored in the cloud comes with a carbon price tag.
Web hosting accounts for an estimated 2% of all carbon emissions globally (the same amount as the airline industry). A whopping 40% of that energy use is just to stop servers overheating! But it doesn’t have to be that way. If you have the option, try to move your site onto a green hosting provider. Bonus points if your hosting is based in (or at least near) your country.
Did you know that the average email emits an average of 4g of CO2. That adds up quickly. Anything you can do to both send and receive less emails is going to make a difference. If you’re looking for a good tool to unsubscribe from emails, check out Leave Me Alone App.
Data centres have the fastest-growing carbon footprint of any area within the IT sector, doubling every 4 years. For this reason, file storage is something we should all be mindful of. Having a digital clear-out periodically is great for the environment and for your headspace!
5. Be a responsible consumer
Wherever possible, do your research into the products and services that your business is investing in. This will allow you to make informed choices about where your money should go in order to create a better world.
Why not start investing in low-carbon products and services, such as buying energy efficient appliances or using renewable sources of power. Look for the Energy Star label when purchasing new appliances or lighting fixtures. These products are certified as having superior energy efficiency (aka more bang for your buck).
By following these 5 steps, you could see significant changes in your business's carbon footprint. And that’s awesome! But it's not going to eliminate it completely.
It’s a good idea to calculate the carbon footprint of your business. This allows you to do two things: reduce your carbon footprint and offset what is left. Now you know better, you can start to do better.
Get Offset allows you to plant trees and offset your business’ carbon footprint on autopilot for a manageable monthly payment. We’ll handle all the leg work and just report your impact back to you, so you can get back to doing what you do best, safe in the knowledge that you’re having a positive impact. Learn more here.