How can we reduce our carbon footprint?
My business has been running profitably and efficiently for years, but recently I’ve been put on the spot by clients and employees about how environmentally friendly it is. I haven’t a clue what our carbon footprint is, or how to reduce it without harming productivity. Any ideas?
A. Adam Warren, founder of Greencare H20 writes:
Environmental responsibility is a journey not a destination, so make your first steps now before bad habits become part of company culture. As well as helping the environment, a responsible approach boosts profits, enhances your reputation, saves resources and helps to retain staff.
Your carbon footprint is the amount of harmful CO 2 emitted by your operations. Simple strategies, such as providing recycling facilities, switching off lights and PCs, unplugging phone chargers and limiting printer use can help reduce it and cost nothing. But cultural change must be championed from the top, so assign a ‘Green team’ to implement and measure environmental strategies. Also, set up regular forums so employees can raise concerns and suggest ways of making the business more sustainable.
Smart procurement decisions, such as buying green electricity and technology, replacing kettles with energy-efficient water boilers, installing infrared water control systems in bathrooms, and using energy-efficient light bulbs all help. Also, excessive business travel can be tackled by using virtual meeting technologies.
Once you have your own house in order, look to a third party, such as The Carbon Neutral Company, to accredit your efforts. Then you can ask suppliers to provide evidence of their green accreditations. A green supply chain is an increasingly important aspect of many partnerships – especially government contracts.
Finally, ensure you communicate your successes back to your employees to boost morale internally. One thing every employee has in common with you is that each of their children will benefit from your company’s environmental stewardship.