With the global climate crisis getting worse every day, it’s now more important than ever for large companies that contribute to global pollution and carbon emissions to take responsibility for their carbon footprints. But even beyond the biggest offenders, any business or collective can do its part to alleviate the worsening environmental situation.
With all the moving parts that work to keep your business running, it can sometimes feel overwhelming to determine which aspects of your business model could be modified to be more environmentally friendly. After all, so many things your company does daily are likely to contribute negatively to your carbon footprint.
But don’t give up hope! Once you can identify your business’ problem areas, it’s just a matter of making some simple changes to your everyday operations. So, without further ado, here are 11 ways to reduce your business carbon footprint.
1. Rethink Your Office Lighting Strategy
If your business has many employees doing indoor office work for long periods every day, you’re probably wasting more energy than you’d like to on illumination. Incandescent light bulbs are notorious for being inefficient and wasteful sources of light. By switching to LED lights, you could reduce your energy usage by 75% or more. And better yet, the bulbs will last much longer than their incandescent counterparts.
If you’re looking for additional ways to reduce your business carbon footprint, you can include natural light in your office illumination strategy. Keep the overhead lights off when the sun is shining through the windows, and you’ll minimize your business’s negative impact on the environment.
2. Consider Renewable Energy
Another excellent way to reduce your business carbon footprint is to take advantage of renewable energy sources. The options available to you will largely depend on your location. But if you can find a dependable source of renewable energy, making the switch will let you make tremendous progress toward your eco-friendly goals.
To ensure that you’re getting the real deal, ensure that your chosen renewable energy source comes with a REGO certificate. “REGO” stands for “Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin,” and it’s the only way to be certain that your energy comes from a completely renewable source.
3. Increase Energy Efficiency in Your Data Center
Your business’s data center is one of the most important places in your office building, and it’s often one of the most wasteful when it comes to energy consumption. Because workers have to keep some pieces of IT equipment at specific temperatures, your data center’s heating and cooling systems can easily get a bit out of hand.
When it comes to determining ways to reduce your business carbon footprint, you can use some simple organizational techniques to improve energy efficiency in this space. First, make sure that your team groups all the IT equipment together based on each piece’s temperature requirements. This way, you can have a hot aisle and a cool aisle rather than having all the equipment compete for the perfect climate. Furthermore, you can use plastic curtains to separate the warm areas so that the hot and cold air don’t mix.
4. Be Mindful of Emissions When Traveling By Car
If your company uses its own fleet of vehicles, this is certainly a red flag for carbon emissions. Gasoline-powered vehicles are a huge contributor to the climate crisis, which is why so many alternatives are cropping up these days. So, assess the vehicles that are currently in your company’s care. You should document any fuel efficiencies and view them as an opportunity to make some changes and reduce your business carbon footprint.
Instead of relying on traditional gasoline-powered transport, consider switching to a fleet of electric cars or vehicles that run on alternative fuels. These changes would make a huge difference in your business’ overall carbon emissions, and it would be the right choice for the sake of the planet.
5. Rethink the Way You Fly
Air travel is another major contributing factor to global carbon emissions. Making strategic changes to the way your business interacts with this mode of transit is a good idea if you’re interested in ways to reduce your business carbon footprint.
If at all possible, you can use alternative communication tools to eliminate the need for air travel. Programs like Skype and Zoom are excellent business solutions that can help you facilitate across-the-globe conversations. If physical travel is a must, consider taking a train if the circumstances allow it.
If you or your employees absolutely must travel by plane, flying in economy class is a nifty trick for reducing the number of carbon emissions that you as individuals are responsible for.
6. Implement Green Solutions for Food Production and Disposal
If your business has a cafeteria that serves food to employees, there are several factors involved with food production and food waste that can reflect poorly on your level of carbon emissions. Luckily, there are some simple ways to reduce your business carbon footprint in the kitchen.
Consider incorporating an environmentally friendly food waste disposal system, such as composting, into your cafeteria area. Make sure the kitchen staff has sufficient training to maintain and operate it properly.
Furthermore, it can be helpful to incorporate more vegan and vegetarian options into your cafeteria’s menu. The production of these foods has fewer associated environmental risks than that of meat and dairy products, so you should encourage these entrées as eco-friendly options.
7. Keep an Eye on Your Central Air Conditioning and Heating
Heating and cooling systems are major contributors to energy consumption for any residence, business, or public building. Making sure your company uses your A.C. in an environmentally friendly manner takes a bit of effort. Maintaining consistent internal temperatures, avoiding dramatic temperature fluctuations, and keeping the unit in harmony with the external climate are all ways to reduce energy consumption with your HVAC systems.
Additionally, you should ensure there are no leaks in the sealant around windows and doors that could let the air out, as this will also negatively affect the building’s energy consumption. If you’re looking for even more ways to reduce your business carbon footprint, you can try implementing some of the renewable space cooling techniques that the Environmental Protection Agency recommends.
8. Go Paperless
Excessive printing and paper use can be detrimental to your company’s environmentally friendly status. Thankfully, in the modern age, it’s quite easy to reduce paper use. Make sure all of your company’s paperwork, data, and communications are digitized and online if they aren’t already. Use electronic contracts for new employee onboarding and business deals instead of physical contracts, and avoid printing out documents that you can forward via email or edit digitally.
9. Say Goodbye to Disposable Plastics
The prolific nature of single-use plastic is a major contributor to the current climate crisis. As plastic is not a biodegradable material, this huge amount of waste sits in landfills for years, all the while releasing harmful carbon emissions into the atmosphere.
Purging these products from your office area is an easy way to reduce your business carbon footprint. Just identify the single-use plastics your employees use and switch them out for more sustainable or permanent and reusable products.
10. Encourage Recycling Initiatives in the Workplace
Recycling is our first defense as individuals against global warming, pollution, and excess carbon emissions. Make sure that everyone in your office knows how to properly recycle different goods. But don’t stop there. Ensure that the appropriate receptacles for recyclables are available and accessible throughout the entire office building. Simply knowing that recycling is the right thing to do isn’t much help to a well-meaning employee if there’s nowhere for them to dispose of their waste responsibly.
11. Engage in Eco-Friendly Philanthropy
Finally, when you’ve run out of ways to reduce your business carbon footprint, why not make a charitable contribution to a green charity or environmental research project? If your business is equipped for this sort of philanthropic work, your contribution could make a huge difference when it comes to finding new ways to save the planet from impending doom. Plus, it will certainly reflect well on your company’s public image.
It might seem like a daunting task to operate your business in the most environmentally friendly way possible. But with these 11 ways to reduce your business carbon footprint, you’ll be a step ahead of the competition when it comes to green business practices. Once you’ve gotten used to these small changes, you’ll wonder why you never worked like this in the first place!