17th July 2014

7 Ways Businesses Could Reduce Their Carbon Emissions


Why Should My Business Work To Reduce Carbon Emissions?

In order to safeguard the long-term future of our society, it is essential that all businesses take action to reduce their carbon emissions. Yet beyond Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), there are many benefits for businesses that actively work towards sustainability.

Not only can reduced carbon emissions help businesses to reduce their expenditure, they can also play a huge role in influencing consumer choice. Studies are increasingly showing that the public are a lot more willing to trust businesses with strong and transparent CSR policies.

Before taking action to reduce carbon emissions, businesses should first establish the size of their carbon footprint. This will highlight the key areas of opportunity, providing an excellent starting point for businesses to develop a workable CSR strategy.

7 Ways Businesses Could Reduce Their Carbon Emissions

1. Behavioural Changes – It is often the littlest of things that make the biggest difference. For example, lighting a typical office overnight can waste enough energy to make 1,000 cups of tea. Switching-off lights at night is a no-brainer, but it is also a good idea to switch-off all unused computers, printers, and photocopiers.

2. Recycling – Businesses produce a lot of waste, and as much of this waste as possible should be recycled. A great place to start is by banning bins at desks, and instead supplying your staff with recycling bins for glass, metal, paper and food waste. This will encourage a more conscientious attitude to waste across your business.

3. Greener Commutes – Most people drive to work by themselves, in their own cars. This is hugely inefficient, and leads to huge amount of carbon emissions, not to mention traffic jams. As part of their CSR strategy, businesses could encourage their staff to car-share; to use public transport; or to walk or cycle to work when possible. Businesses could even offer incentives to employees with greener commutes, installing bike racks and shower facilities for the benefit of those who choose to walk or cycle.

4. Ethical Supply Chains – An ethical supply chain can be costly in the short term, but hugely beneficial in the long-term. Read our blog for more information on the many benefits of an ethical supply chain.

5. Efficient Heating – Some buildings are harder to heat than others, but there are a few ways to ensure that any heating system is working efficiently. These include good use of insulation, blocking drafts, and ensuring that radiators are never covered. It is also important to make sure that offices are never so hot that your staff feel the need to open windows.

6. Reduce & Reuse – Whilst office furniture and supplies do not themselves consume energy, energy was used in their manufacture. One way to reduce your carbon footprint is through ensuring that all office supplies were sourced and manufactured in ethical and sustainable ways. Recycled paper and vegetable-based inks could be used for paperwork; whilst all office furniture should be made using sustainable wood.

7. Offsetting – Some of the carbon produced by businesses is unavoidable. If this is the case, you can reduce your business’s environmental impact by offsetting your carbon emissions. A good way to do this is to invest in UK Forest Creation. The planting of sustainably-managed new trees can deliver measurable carbon reductions for any business.

At every level of operation, there are opportunities for businesses to reduce their carbon emissions. Some of these might seem obvious or insignificant, but in the long-term, even the smallest of actions can make a huge difference.