Businesses are finally taking responsibility for their carbon footprint. With companies like Ikea reaching carbon neutrality, it’s now not only ethical to be a sustainable company, but also potentially profitable. Consumers appreciate brands that support causes they are passionate about and are dependably willing to do more business with them.
Sustainable business practices can also save you loads of money on power bills. In this article, we take a look at a few common practices that will help you reduce your carbon footprint.
One of the biggest work-related emissions actually happens outside the office. Commuting! Even relatively small businesses can radically reduce their emission levels simply by allowing people to work from home some or all of the time.
Think about it this way. The average work commute is thirty minutes. That’s an hour of driving every day, multiplied by three hundred, times however many people you have working in your office. And of course, there are other side benefits that come from remote work as well.
With a smaller in-person staff, you can shrink the size of your office space, thus using less energy. You may even do as many companies post-Covid have, and do away with a formal office altogether, opting for shared rental spaces when the need for face-to-face meetings does arise.
Your employees will most likely be happy to avoid their commute, you will save tons of money, and it will be better for the entire planet. It’s rare for one simple move to check so many boxes.
This is something that businesses have been doing post-Covid anyway. For two years, they were forced to opt for remote meetings instead of in-person get-togethers and it went…fine. Not only was productivity the same or better than it had been in the past, but companies saved thousands of dollars on travel expenses.
Plus, remote meetings are significantly more time efficient. With the traditional model, an employee would fly out Monday, losing the entire working day to the tedium of travel. They’d have their meetings Tuesday and come home Wednesday. That’s another day lost to travel.
In total, hundreds of dollars were spent, and your efficiency took a 70% hit. Naturally, there are certain situations where travel will still be necessary. A big account that really appreciates that extra personal touch. A sensitive situation that needs onsite supervision. But by being more selective with how and when you send people out, you can save loads of money, and do the environment a big favor at the same time.
IoT or Internet of Things Technology are devices that connect to the internet through Bluetooth. It’s one of the fastest-growing technologies on the face of the earth, growing by the hundreds of millions of devices every year.
Tools like smart thermostats and other Bluetooth-enabled appliances are a great way to avoid wasting energy. Your smart thermostat, for example, can tell when people are in a room and begin cooling or heating it accordingly. When everyone has left, it will power down, saving energy.
Some devices are so smart they even learn your schedule. If your office begins filling up at eight, the smart thermostat can start cooling at six to make sure the room is comfortable when everyone arrives. You save money on your energy use and help the environment at the same time.
Alternative energy sources like solar and wind power are still relatively uncommon — mostly because they come with a very high startup cost. Panels can run you mid-five figures — more for a large building — and wind power is equally cost-prohibitive.
Alternative energy sources are definitely only for businesses that have the means to make a big step. If you’re on the fence about this, keep in mind that your energy savings will be enormous, and the carbon impact will be equally rewarding.
Carbon offsets are seen as a lame half-measure in the eyes of many. Something businesses do avoid putting any actual effort into sustainability. And there’s definitely some of that. Throwing money at a problem is often easier than taking actual concrete steps to solve it, and in many cases, the concept of carbon offsets illustrates that nicely.
Here’s how it works: you pay a company money, and they take steps to reduce carbon emissions in the atmosphere that are equal or greater to the ones you are putting out. You’re still pumping out the same amount of carbon, but, thanks to your offset, the sponge sucking it up got a little bigger.
If you’re sincere about sustainability, you shouldn’t use carbon offsets as a way to have your cake and eat it too. Instead, try to trim out as much waste as you can from your business practices. Once you’ve tightened everything up and made every cut that is within your power, carbon offsets can get you the rest of the way there.
They shouldn’t be used as a crutch, but they can be a valuable tool on the path towards carbon neutrality.