There can be no doubt that it’s been a turbulent time for business, with unprecedented challenges brought about by the Covid pandemic and other global events. As a consequence, issues around climate change and the importance of reducing our carbon footprint seem to have been moved down the agenda.
However, the importance of tackling climate change is just as high as ever, and in fact many of the actions around reducing our carbon footprint have a special relevance right now, particularly for small businesses dealing with the challenges of high energy prices and unpredictable supply chains.
With energy costs at record highs, reducing energy use or switching to renewable sources of energy are changes that can quickly benefit the bottom line as well as the environment. And yet, recent national business surveys have shown that the majority of small businesses across the UK have yet to put measurable targets in place to reduce carbon emissions. These surveys also show that cost is considered the most significant barrier to changing behaviours in small businesses, with decision makers nervous to drive forward change due to the initial investment this might require.
But not every switch to reducing carbon emissions needs to cost the earth. There are lots of simple, energy-saving methods that just require an extra moment of thought without hitting the balance sheet.
Firstly, consider whether every trip to the office or client visit is absolutely essential. More and more of us are comfortable doing business over video conferencing and meanwhile technology allows much greater opportunity to work from home rather than committing to the daily commute. When those meet ups are essential, travel sharing is incredibly effective – delivering more chances to catch up with colleagues and ensuring every extra passenger is one less car on the road.
When purchasing office equipment or supplies, try to seek out energy-efficient or local options. These are rarely dramatically more expensive and instantly repay the difference with their impact on your carbon footprint. There may be possibilities across your whole supply chain to source more locally resulting in the three-fold benefit of supporting local business, reducing the miles used in delivery and ensuring your supply chain is protected from global events.
Many of us have formed good habits when it comes to the practice of reduce, reuse and recycle at home, but what about the office? Sadly, it can be all too easy to be forgetful in the corporate kitchen at work. However, with a bit of planning and a strong team ethic, there are quick wins to be won. Make it a team challenge to be recycling effectively and doing all you can to reduce unnecessary waste in the office, as slimming your bin really does make a difference to reducing your carbon footprint.
Depending on the shape and size of your business, some of these ideas might be more difficult to implement than others, but there is a way any business can contribute. Carbon offset schemes allow individuals and companies to invest in environmental projects across the globe that are providing ways to help balance their own carbon footprint.
Often centred in developing countries, these projects help bring new technologies or ecological methods that can help to make a bigger push towards reducing carbon emissions around the world. This might involve anything from introducing clean energy solutions or absorbing CO2 directly from the air through the mass planting of trees.
While referred to as carbon offsetting, of course the best solution for us all is to reach Net Zero carbon targets in your business and still support transformative change across the globe.
To find out more about how to reduce your carbon footprint, read about our free courses and take the next step today to creating a sustainable business: https://colbea.co.uk/learn/low-carbon/