In a recent post, “Why does my company need a carbon strategy?” We talked about why your organization needs to reduce carbon emissions. In this blog, we’ll look at some strategies for reducing your organization’s carbon footprint.
Know where you’re at now. Calculating your carbon footprint is time-consuming, but you need to know where to start. There’s plenty of data on how much carbon is emitted per kilometer of travel, how much is emitted per kilowatt-hour of electricity, and so forth. What it will require is meticulously going in through all those potential sources and adding it all up.
Here is a partial list of potential sources of carbon emissions:
- Business travel
- Employee commutes
- On-site vehicles (forklifts, lawnmowers, golf carts)
- Indirect usage, such as carbon emission during shipment to you by contractors
- Water, electricity, and gas usage
Once you’ve gathered all the data, you can use one of many methods to calculate your carbon footprint.
The University of California Berkeley offers a simple business carbon calculator that will give you a sense of where this is headed: https://coolclimate.berkeley.edu/business-calculator. While not perfectly accurate, you’ll have a sense of what you’re looking to calculate and work with.
Once you have your current usage numbers, you can set a goal.
Create a carbon reduction strategy. This is your roadmap to success. It will involve making incremental changes until your organization is carbon-neutral and eventually carbon zero. Carbon neutral means that emissions are offset by some other strategy that gives a net-zero emissions calculation. Carbon zero means no emissions at all.
For many companies, carbon zero is not possible right now. If you are receiving any shipments from elsewhere, there are carbon emissions that you cannot control.
Your carbon strategy should lay out each of the steps you will take and the changes you’ll make to get you to your goals.
Set a series of achievable carbon goals for the future. Making those goals achievable is vital for a successful carbon strategy. For example, if you have done nothing so far, converting your entire electricity supply to renewable energy in a year might be a challenge.
Or not. There are different cost-effective ways to switch. By utilizing carbon strategy software, you can identify opportunities to help reduce emissions.
Your goals should build on themselves until you have gotten significant and appreciable improvement. Measurement and verification of the actions you take will be a critical piece to ensuring tangible improvements over time.
Publish your goals and current usage. Publishing your carbon emissions goals is an excellent marketing tool. Many other companies, including major tech companies, have published goals of getting their entire corporation to carbon-neutral within a few years. Part of that is working with other businesses that are reducing their carbon footprint as well. Consumers purchase from carbon-conscious companies.
Get employee and management support. The next step is to get agreement from the employees, managers, and stakeholders in the business.
The employees are often ready to go. As consumers, they know that corporate carbon emission reduction is essential for changing the current climate status.
Managers may view this as a lot of extra work for them as they may have to consider changing how they think, their processes and who they do business with. It is an essential part of business in the 21st century, being forward thinking is going to take extra effort in the beginning.
Stakeholders, including investors and owners, may balk at the strategy. Implementing many carbon reduction strategies can involve significant cash investment. The key will be to show the cost savings by emitting less carbon. One of the most effective ways to do this is to use carbon reduction software, like 360 Carbon Excellence. It provides you with a comprehensive, professional report that shows the savings in carbon and dollars saved.
In every solitary case, carbon costs money. While changing machinery or tactics to a new method might save money eventually, there will be some first outlays for cash. Electric vehicles are, for the moment, more expensive than gas-powered vehicles. The reduction in carbon emissions, though, will extend beyond buying gasoline or diesel; a reduction in taxes, avoiding fines, and incentives to cut consumption are just a few of the upsides to taking that first initial step.
Some simple specific ideas
There are a few things you can do to change to being more energy-efficient and carbon-friendly quickly. Some items on this list are so simple, that they might seem elementary, but every incremental change will help.
- Change incandescent light bulbs to LED. They are inexpensive and will save money. One bulb might not seem like much of an impact, but 100 can change things.
- Offer flexible schedules. If your team can choose to avoid rush hour and come to work when it takes a lot less time, it will cut down greenhouse gas emissions from their vehicles.
- Consolidate your shipping. Instead of ordering and shipping a half container, try to order a full container. If that means you need to have items from China wait a couple of days while something else gets loaded, plan for that. Upfront planning means greater savings later.
- If possible, place much larger orders. It doesn’t cost a lot more to ship 1000 of something than it does 100 and the carbon footprint is nearly identical.
- Reduce business travel. With today’s technology, there’s almost no reason to travel. Do teleconferencing. Offer online meetings. Use technology to keep the number of plane tickets to a minimum. Switch to rail if possible. If you’re travelling from city to city, especially along the coast, trains are a great alternative.
- Offer commuter passes free. Give your team free bus or subway passes if your city has public transportation.
- Change the lawn to a modest maintenance plant. Red clover and other plants grow low, require almost no mowing, and rarely need to be watered. In dry climates, consider converting the yard to rocks. You might even put it in a Zen garden. No mowing. No watering. Rare wedding. Super low maintenance.
- End single use plastics and cardboard. If you often ship between your warehouse and your offices or store, purchase reusable boxes. They can be returned on the next delivery truck and save a lot of waste.
It’s all about commitment
As soon as you think about ways to save energy and reduce your carbon footprint, the ways to do it become simple.
Still, a comprehensive plan accounting for all carbon usage is a lot easier said than done.
Let the experts at 360 Carbon Excellence do the work for you. They will provide you with a complete report that shows everything you can do to reduce your corporate carbon footprint, with ease.