Small changes that make a BIG difference: Easy ways for companies to reduce their carbon footprint

Grace Womersley, BELIEVE..
April 2024

As awareness spreads about our’ impact on the environment, businesses and consumers alike are placing a larger emphasis on reducing their carbon footprints. Not only does “going green” benefit the environment, but it also improves the financial health and risk profile of a company. Simple, cost-effective switches can improve employee satisfaction rates and make businesses more attractive to consumers and investors.

Know your starting point.

What is a carbon footprint? Put simply, a carbon footprint is the best estimate of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced directly and indirectly by a business. This can range from emissions produced during the manufacturing of a product to the electricity consumed by a company to facilitate its daily operations. Emissions fall into one of three ‘Scope’ categories. Many websites offer a ‘Carbon Footprint Calculator’, and once you have a starting point, it’s easier to identify where the most impactful changes can be.

WHY SHOULD BUSINESSES CARE?

  • 81% of consumers felt strongly that companies
    should be actively taking steps to help improve the environment
  • 73% of office workers want their employer to
    improve its green credentials
  • Environmental credentials are incredibly important for prospective employees, with nearly 1 in every 4 people saying they would refuse to work for a
‘The Guardian’
“Nearly 1 in every 4 people saying they would refuse to work with a company with a poor sustainability record”
‘The Guardian’
SCOPE 1, 2 AND 3 EMISSIONS

8 Simple steps to reduce your corporate carbon footprint

In practice, making a shift towards being a greener company may seem complex at first. However, it’s all about the small changes that make a big difference.

1. Going renewable

One of the easiest ways is for businesses to switch from fossil fuels to a renewable energy source. Many energy providers offer renewable energy solutions that are backed by “REGO” certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin), guaranteeing that the origin of the energy supplied is renewably sourced. Embracing energy efficiency can also deliver energy saving costs. Renewable energy is now cheaper than fossil fuels and they’re only set to get more affordable.

Experts at Oxford University have predicted that a transition to green energy sources could save the global economy up to $15 trillion compared to taking no action.
2. Going circular

Minimising unnecessary waste, reusing when possible and recycling materials such as metal and plastics all helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill. Rotting waste in landfill produces harmful greenhouse gases that contributes towards a business’s carbon footprint. By providing recycling bins for different materials, businesses can lessen their impact on the environment

3. Going paperless

With the technology we have today, there’s no need to be keeping paper records anymore. Already traditional mail has been replaced with email, and it’s not difficult to replace other paper processes with electronic processes.

For example, businesses can switch to using tools like Google Docs and Office 365 to securely store documents. This reduces waste and allows everyone at the business to access the documents they need anytime, anywhere.
Did you know that simply turning off your computer overnight can save enough energy to run a refrigerator for an entire month!

4. Reduce electricity


Minimising unnecessary waste, reusing when possible and recycling materials such as metal and plastics all helps to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in landfill. Rotting waste in landfill produces harmful greenhouse gases that contributes towards a business’s carbon footprint. By providing recycling bins for different materials,
businesses can lessen their impact on the environment

5. Reduce travel

Depending on what industry you are in, it may be worth considering switching to hybrid or fully electric company cars or fleets. Car manufacturers are making huge investments into developing their electric models and consequently electric vehicles are becoming more affordable. Moreover, companies should look to encourage alternative travel to flying; such as taking the train, as flying is the most carbonintensive form of transport.

6. Educate and engage employees

Education is crucial to ensure all the analysis and planning carried out to make businesses go greener goes through successfully. Hosting workshops, listening to new ideas and sharing success stories can all motivate businesses to keep reducing their carbon footprint and encourage employees to get on board with environmental efforts

7. Reduce commutes


The carbon emissions from employees work commutes is included in a business’s Scope 3 emissions. Encouraging employees to think more consciously about their travel choices can have a large impact. Whether that’s implementing a work-from-home policy or incentivising employees to cycle into work or use public transport, there are many ways to slash emissions produced by commuting.

Research from DeCarbon8 found that the carbon emissions from commuting during lockdown fell by roughly 30-38% of what they were pre-lockdown, showing how impactful incentivising green commuting can be.

8. Offset your carbon

Carbon offsetting is the process of compensating for emissions by taking part in activities that reduce the equivalent amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere; such as replanting trees. However, offsetting should only be used to compensate for emissions that can’t
be reduced, not as an alternative to implementing practices to reduce emissions.

9. Invest in technology

Companies may invest in various innovative technologies, such as blockchain technology to streamline their operations, enhance security, or explore new business models. For instance, some companies are integrating blockchain into supply chain management to increase transparency and traceability.

Other companies are investing in advanced robotics to improve efficiency and productivity in manufacturing, logistics, and other sectors. These robots may be used for tasks ranging from assembly and packaging to warehouse automation. Furthermore, companies can leverage Virtual (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) technologies to enhance customer engagement, create immersive experiences, digital twins for training, piloting and education purposes.. For example, retail companies may use VR to allow customers to visualize products in a virtual showroom.

10. Invest in innovation

Companies are increasingly embracing open innovation models, which involve collaborating with external partners, such as startups, universities, and research institutions, to co-create new products, services, and technologies. This approach can accelerate innovation and expand companies’ access to diverse expertise and resources. Participating in Industry Consortia or Alliances: Companies may collaborate with competitors, suppliers, and other stakeholders through industry consortia or alliances to drive innovation, develop industry standards, and tackle common challenges. These collaborations can lead to shared research and development initiatives and the co-creation of new technologies and solutions.

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DISCLAIMER
The information contained in this article is provided for information and marketing purposes only and has no contractual value. BELIEVE. does not warrant or make any representation as to the accuracy or completeness of any information expressed .  Copyright BELIEVE. Partners AG 2024
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