Eight ways to make your business more carbon efficient
Reducing your business’ carbon emissions isn’t just the right thing to do for the planet, it can boost your bottom line as well.
The UK Government wants the country to get to net zero carbon emission by 2050, It is the most ambitious target for carbon-free status in the developed world, and it is expected that businesses will see big changes in regulations to help achieve it.
However, companies can take the lead by cutting their carbon emissions now. When you do, you’ll find that it brings benefits to your business, not just the planet. Your operating costs will be lower and you enhance your brand reputation.
In this article, we’ll look at eight ways you can start to lower your business’ carbon emissions. See how many you can achieve in your business.
1 – Carbon efficient tech
Small changes to the technology you use in your business can make a significant difference. Carry out an audit of your equipment and see where you can make improvements.
For example, lighting. You could invest in LED lights for your office which are 10 times more efficient than standard halogen bulbs. You should also look at automated lighting systems that turn the lights on and off according to the time of day and who is around.
Not only will you see the difference in your carbon footprint, you’ll probably see lower energy bills.
2 – Watch your waste
Much of a business’ carbon footprint is made when it buys equipment that has to be made, transported, used and then disposed of. Businesses should be looking to only purchase goods when it is essential. Then, when they’re done with them, they should dispose of them carefully. Zero waste should be the target.
Try going paperless in your office. Do you really need to print out all your documents? Or if you must use the printer, could you use recycled toner?
3 – Generate and store your own power
To really make a giant step on your way to net zero, you could generate and store your own renewable electricity. Most businesses do this by installing solar panels on their roofs, but if that’s not possible you could try a wind turbine.
These may not be possible if you are in an office block, or do not have the necessary land, but it is always worth investigating.
Once you are generating electricity, think about how you store it. Storing excess energy (in batteries) on your premises will reduce your reliance on the National Grid. Alternatively, you could sell back to the Grid,any excess energy that you generate. It could help your business’ bottom line.
4 – Change the way you travel
A large proportion of your business’ carbon emissions may be due to travel. If members of your team use planes to travel the world, or even drive up and down the country in cars, vans or lorries, it’s all excess carbon.
2020 has been the year of the video meeting. Could the meetings that you and your team travel to take place on Zoom just as easily?
If you must travel by car, or your business runs a fleet, could you go electric? There are more than 34,000 public vehicle charging points in the UK to help you as you travel long distances.
5 – Create a net zero culture
You shouldn’t be the only one in your company driving down carbon emissions. Make your drive to net zero part of the culture in your company. Communicate your vision to your teams, get them to buy in and get them on board. Ask for their ideas on ways to reduce your carbon footprint.
Think of ways you could encourage your employees to think harder about their personal carbon footprints. You could even make it competitive (but friendly!).
6 – Offset
It’s near enough impossible to reduce your carbon emissions to zero, but you can achieve net zero by paying back the carbon you generate. This is called carbon offsetting.
You can offset the carbon in your business by purchasing carbon credits. The money raised goes to sustainable projects such as planting trees or renewable energy.
7 – Make your net zero drive part of your brand
Reducing carbon emissions and slowing climate change is in fashion at the moment. However, you want it to be something permanent, not something you start off with the best of intentions then let fall by the wayside.
A great way to create accountability is to tell your customers about your drive to carbon neutrality. Make it part of your marketing and advertising.
Not only will it keep you on the path to net zero (after all, once you’ve told your customers, you can’t go back on it), it could also win you a few new admirers.
8 – Get smart with your meters
Smart energy meters are a great way to monitor how much electricity and gas you use in your business. You can see a real time picture of your energy consumption, and therefore, your carbon footprint. What you measure, you can manage.
One thing to watch is when and how you install your smart meters. If you have standard meters that are working well, it is more efficient to keep them as they are. However, if your meters are coming to the end of their natural life, or if you are constructing new premises that need energy meters, you should always go for the smart option.
Achieving net zero in your business is a long journey, but every journey starts with a single step. Follow as many of our eight methods as you can, and you will soon notice a difference. And remember, taking the initiative now will save you a lot of hassle in the future. Good luck!