10 Steps to Make Your Business Carbon Neutral
Carbon neutrality has become, of late, an essential factor in determining the long-term sustainability of your business. Managing profit margins is slowly becoming just one part of running a business - the debt owed to planet Earth must also be managed. Hence, it’s crucial to know the easiest yet most effective ways to make your business carbon neutral.
These methods range from simple to complex, from a simple energy to audit to considering hybrid or full-electric cars (if possible) when buying company vehicles. Today, we’ll walk you through a number of these steps in some detail. Following these will definitely make you more prepared for stringent environmental norms that keep on coming year after year.
1. Determine How Much CO2 Your Business Currently Produces (Baseline Emissions)
This step is by far the most important in making the move towards carbon neutrality. This is because performing such a test lets you know how well you’re faring at the moment. It will also shed light on how much effort you’ll need to put to ensure your business is ecologically and economically viable.
Although you can do this by heading to the myriad calculators available for free on the internet, we’d recommend seeing a consultant with some expertise. Once this step is done, you can see how much money you’ll need to invest into offsetting these carbon costs.
2. Head to the Whiteboard - Determine a Long Term Plan
Carbon neutrality can either be achieved blindly by pouring money into carbon offsets, or by carefully planning so you can become carbon neutral while investing frugally. Some people actually end up saving money by going green, so you should take care of how much effort you put into planning your carbon emissions and greenhouse gas strategy.
Some businesses take a few months, others may take up to half a decade depending on the size or nature of their business. Also, make sure you consult people who’ve already done this before. Your strategy should aim for no less than 100 percent carbon neutrality.
3. Abandon Paper Trails, As Far As Possible
It might come as a shock that even in today’s world, with almost everyone in the developed and developing world in contact with mobiles and computers, there is still a significant usage of paper. Hence, switching to web-based platforms (which are a one-time investment) for where you have paper can save you not just money in the long run, but also carbon offsets.
The only major costs are that of the necessary platform which will be used to digitize your business, as well as purchasing digital signatures for your business. These are small expenses compared to years of paperless use which saves you much in carbon offsets in the future.
4. Give Your Vehicles an Overhaul
If your company cannot otherwise reduce travel due to physical delivery constraints, you can definitely make the switch to hybrid cars and trucks. You can also invest in full-electric vehicles if your business allows for it. The hybrid car market has something in store for everyone, from small hatchbacks to full-size trucks. Thus, you save fuel costs and reduce your carbon liability.
Fret not, however, if your budget does not allow for such an overhaul. Simple steps, such as switching off the air-con and keeping tires properly inflated can result in massive carbon emissions reductions. Simple tire pressure adjustments can save up to 250 lbs of carbon entering the atmosphere in a single year.
5. Switch to Video Conferencing and Telecommuting
This is by far one of the most carbon-viable solution's technology provides us with. By not forcing employees to travel large distances every day and instead using video conferencing, you save massive amounts of carbon liabilities. The same applies for business trips via air - video conferencing can save hundreds of thousands of pounds of CO2 from going up in air.
6. Conduct Energy Audits Regularly and Thoroughly
This point often goes unnoticed, simply because not many are aware of energy auditing. An energy, in short, covers all your heating and cooling systems, lighting, air leaks in doors and windows, as well as insulation of your office premises. A number of other seemingly unimportant factors are also taken into account.
After considering the current state of affairs, recommendations are made in order to efficiently yet effectively reduce your carbon liability.
7. Start Recycling, Company-wide
This practice can start just with paper, and later be scaled to create a company-wide recycling strategy. Making recycling paper mandatory is a good first step towards ensuring carbon neutrality. Later, recycling of metal, glass and all other recyclable wastes can be made mandatory based on the results of the pilot exercise with paper.
8. Start Gardening - But Reduce Manicured Lawn Areas
Gardening can be a huge boost towards ensuring carbon neutrality, and also boost company morale by hosting gardening activities as well as using the garden as a venue for company gatherings. However, a garden is fundamentally different from a manicured, maintained lawn. Lawns can rack up your carbon budget rather drastically.
Choose organically growing trees, flowers and fruits over considerable manicuring costs in terms of fuel and gardeners.
9. Small Efforts Which Generate Large Carbon Offsets Should Be Promoted
These efforts include recycling old computer parts, encouraging your staff to go for meat-free workdays, recycling waste, switching to e-newspaper subscriptions instead of traditional ones, and a number of other such activities. These can quickly reduce your carbon liability, while not requiring too much effort from your behalf.
10. Purchasing Carbon Offsets
In some cases, it just might happen that your carbon liability cannot be effectively met by the measures suggested above. Hence, you should definitely consider going in for carbon credits or carbon offsets, which are standardized methods of investing in a business that generate returns in the form of metric tonnes of CO2 saved. It’s trading money for lesser carbon liabilities.
This wraps up our list of the ten steps which can go a long way in ensuring your carbon liabilities tend towards nought while making sure your business keeps on thriving. Keeping them in mind can help you adapt to an increasingly carbon-aware world!