Five Steps Your Business Can Take To Improve Their Carbon Footprint

As a society, our awareness of the climate crisis is growing. Changes are happening within businesses, with more and more consumers wanting to choose companies that care about their carbon footprint.

Having an eco-friendly approach doesn't just help the planet and attract customers, but it can also save your business money.

Better profits, happier customers, and a better world to live in makes it a win-win situation. Here's five crucial steps your business can take to reduce the carbon footprint of your business.

 

1. Go Paperless

Many businesses will hold their hands up and admit that the amounts of paper used in offices are not only expensive, but also completely unnecessary. But how can these issues be solved?

First of all, encourage employees to look at digitising where possible. This means changing from printed contracts to signing them online, annotating on a screen rather than on paper, and encouraging others not to print off emails unless absolutely necessary.

Of course printing can be unavoidable, but by consciously aiming to cut down on your business' paper consumption, your costs and carbon footprint will decrease. 

 

2. Increase The Efficiency Of Your Office Lighting

Here at Applegate HQ, we've switched to LED paneling lights, which are far more energy efficient and also have cut down on costs. This simple switch has made a big difference and brings long lasting effects.

When the sun shines into our offices here in Barnstaple (which won't be too much over the coming months sadly!), we ensure that any unnecessary artificial lights are turned off. Did you know that natural light also has been found to help avoid health risks, and even improve sleep?

Other steps you can take to improve the efficiency of your office lighting includes installing motion sensors to ensure your lights are switched off when nobody is in, and the using dimmable lights to make sure lights aren't at their brightest for no reason, this also helps to reduce electricity costs.

 

3. Minimise Single Use Plastic 

It's a scary thought to know that half of plastics ever created have been manufactured in the past 15 years, with about eight million tons of plastic waste escaping into the oceans every year. These are scary figures, and that's why it's so important to cut down on plastics, especially single use plastics like water bottles and cutlery in your office.

Making available, and then making use of recycling facilities in your office is crucial in helping to reduce the impact of plastic on the environment. 

At Applegate, we have fresh cold water available at all times so staff can refill their bottles rather than buying plastic bottles, check out the picture below where our business development team are proudly posing with their refillable bottles!

Water bottle picture

4. Replace Business Trips With Video Conferencing

As the pandemic took hold, almost all business trips were cancelled and replaced by meetings on software such as Zoom or Microsoft Teams. Now face-to-face meetings are beginning to resume, is it time for your business to reconsider whether the business trips are worth it, both environmentally and economically?

The transportation sector accounts for 29% of total greenhouse gas emissions each year. And with video conferencing technology has become more sophisticated and accessible over the past year, so is getting on that flight really needed? 

On the topic of travelling, has your business made space available for employees to store bicycles, and a place to change and shower? This helps to reduce travel emissions further whilst also improving health and in turn productivity at work!

5. Educate And Engage Employees

This is arguably the most important step in this article. Employees need to understand the purpose of why they're taking these measures, and how it can impact both themselves and the company in a positive way. 

In a time where the news regarding the climate is mainly negative, it's easy to give into climate despair. This sense of powerlessness is common among those attempting to take small steps, but when employees understand why they are being told to change long-time habits, they are less likely to resist new eco-conscious policies.

Encourage employees to see their own power, ask them for input on what they think your business can change. Here at Applegate, our government-backed SupplyDevon initiative is aimed to reduce carbon emissions in the county whilst also aiming to boost the local economy. 

 

So, what are your next steps?

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