How can you reduce your carbon footprint

Climate change is a reality. What is your company doing to combat it?

Last year's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reported that without radical action to combat climate change, our planet will see average global temperatures rise to literally catastrophic levels. Our actions now and in the future will have consequences - permanent and possibly finite. Life as we know it will not be able to go on like this much longer.

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Climate change has had an immense impact on the way we do business at an early stage. If it continues to grow in importance, it will also dramatically increase business operating costs in a variety of ways. Since the entire global economy will ultimately be at risk, it is our duty to act in the interests of our planet - we only have this one. Future-oriented companies have long been acting in this spirit: 181companies have so far joined the RE 100 - a global cooperation of influential companies that are 100% committed to renewable energies.

“The time is over for mankind to think that it can selfishly abuse finite resources. Now we know that the world is not a commodity! ”- François Hollande

Although a longstanding political debate, climate change and our responsibility to do something about it are still viewed ambiguously. Some are constantly turning a blind eye to this global problem, while other companies that publicly take action against climate change and generally work to reduce environmental pollution not only serve our planet, but also the interests of their customers. Surveys show that consumers are looking for companies that share their beliefs so that by making a commitment to sustainability, companies can build deeper, more lasting relationships with their customer base.

It's never too early to make sustainability a priority in your company. Below are some tips that can help your company do this. For example, ask in the office for volunteers who would like to join a sustainability team to help you implement change. For example, you can organize and promote in-house volunteer programs.

You can go further by using the company's suggestion system: Ask all employees to submit suggestions about what your company can do specifically to counter climate change. You're likely to get some really new ideas that you weren't even considering before. These suggestions will also help you gauge how far your employees are willing to go to offset their carbon footprint. This allows you to take action without risking a decrease in employee engagement.

Actions your company can take to fight global warming

1. Consider switching to renewable energy.

Every day it becomes easier for companies to switch to renewable energy sources. Installing high-efficiency solar panels is not very complicated. You also have the option of switching to an electricity provider who uses renewable resources. If you get stuck in an existing power grid, you still have the option of making monetary CO2 offsets.

2. Increase your energy efficiency.

The days of halogen lamps are almost over. LED lights last longer, are just as bright and use up to 85% less electricity. In cooler months, you can also save on heating and lighting by opening windows to take advantage of natural light and air temperature. If you still use desktop computers at work, switch to laptops to save energy. For everything from printers to refrigerators, energy-saving devices are available to reduce power consumption.

“We are the first generation to end poverty and the last generation to take steps to avoid the worst effects of climate change. Future generations will condemn us sharply if we fail to meet our moral and historical responsibilities. ”- Ban Ki-Moon

3. Get rid of paper in your office.

The cloud computing revolution is really picking up speed and it's time you got started. A cloud-based infrastructure contributes to both energy and resource efficiency, saves space and offers your employees the flexibility to work from anywhere.

4. Switch off.

But only the electricity, please! Give your employees time at the end of the day to unplug their computers and other power-guzzling electronic devices, even when they are turned off. It can be done quickly and significantly reduces power consumption.

5. Book eco-friendly hotels.

Traditional hotels use incredible amounts of electricity for everything from laundry services to air conditioning to lighting. With measures such as reduced water consumption and LED lighting, many hotels are initiating the change to more environmentally friendly business operations. Show your support and reduce your own carbon emissions by booking business trips at these hotels. You can also inform your employees about ways to save energy on business trips.

6. Rely on environmentally friendly air conditioning.

Dozens of fans in your offices can cool things down for your workforce, but that's not your only option. If your budget allows, there are interesting new alternatives to traditional air conditioning. It is worthwhile to seek the advice of an expert here and have your building examined for weak points. Wherever you lose heat or cool air, you reduce the efficiency of your air conditioning system and emit additional greenhouse gases for no benefit.

“You cannot live a single day without influencing the world around you. What you do has an impact and it is up to you to decide what the impact you want. ”- Jane Goodall

7. Avoid plastic.

By banning plastic utensils from your office (including coffee sticks, cups and plates for parties or birthday cakes) you can ensure that you have not contributed to the greenhouse gases from their manufacture or to their supposed end-point in the ocean. Cheap porcelain plates are nicer anyway and dishwashers are automatically energy-efficient.

8. Work from home.

Not only do flex scheduling and telecommuting help reduce the stress of the usual eight-hour workdays in the office for your employees, they are also a great way to reduce your company's carbon footprint with little to no effort. If you let your employees work from home even one day a week, the energy efficiency of your office can be increased by up to 20%.

9. Find an alternative to air travel.

One of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to book fewer flights. If you are planning a business trip, you should consider whether you might also be able to get to your destination by train. More legroom, the possibility of only having to be at the train station a few minutes before departure and the mostly central point of arrival at the destination make traveling by train a much more relaxed option than flying.

"If you really think the environment is less important than the economy, hold your breath while you count your money." - Guy McPherson

10. Don't waste groceries and buy fair trade.

Fairtrade organizations support farmers in a variety of ways - for example by investing in reforestation and nutrient-rich soil development. Try buying Faitrade products and you will be part of the quest for improvement. In addition, buying the office snacks from local farmers reduces fuel consumption in the food supply chain as shorter distances have to be covered. Regular surveys of employees ensure that you provide the right food in the right amount and that there is little waste.

11. Last but not least: Think of the three R‘s.

Reduce. Re-use. Recycle. Make sure that you cut down and reuse in the first place as this will do the most to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions. When there is no alternative, it is time to look for recycling options. While some materials are not accepted by recycling centers, you can work with companies like Terracycle to prevent these items from ending up in places where they don't belong - such as the ocean or groundwater.

“The earth is a beautiful place and it is worth fighting for.” - Ernest Hemingway

While it's great to start making one change or another right away, it's better to first get an idea of ​​where you stand in terms of environmental awareness. If you know exactly the environmental impact of your company, you can not only measure the progress more clearly, but also communicate this progress to your customers and employees.

First, take a look at CoolClimate.org's carbon footprint calculator. From an initial estimate to a full summary of your company's environmental impact, the calculator is an excellent tool for measuring your company's footprint. If you're interested in knowing more about what this all means before starting your estimation, check out Sustainable Business Toolkit's full carbon footprint overview.

Start planning for a more sustainable future now.