Small businesses have a lot to keep in mind these days. From economic stress to employee health, startups and small companies face a considerable number of challenges. Amid all of this, businesses can’t forget the importance of reducing their carbon footprint, either.
2020 marked the end of the hottest decade on record, emphasising the need for climate action. Knowing where to start with green projects isn’t always straightforward, though. Thankfully, there’s no shortage of ways in which businesses can reduce their carbon footprint.
Here’s a look at some business strategies that can make companies greener.
Data-Centric Goal setting and Measuring
Data is a crucial element in driving eco-friendly initiatives. Businesses can’t expect to improve their sustainability if they don’t know where they stand now. By gathering and analysing data about factors like energy consumption, they can see which areas to address.
Once they have this data, companies can set clearly defined sustainability goals. They can then continue using data to measure their success. This process is a standard business strategy for efficiency, but it can apply to going green, too.
Sustainable Supply Chains
One of the most common mistakes businesses make in reducing their carbon footprint is only focusing on central operations. Supply chains often go overlooked, but they generate 5.5 times the greenhouse gas emissions as the rest of a company’s processes. Creating a sustainable supply chain can dramatically reduce a business’s emissions.
Switching to a fleet of electric vehicles is one of the most effective ways to make supply chains more sustainable. Other possible solutions include reducing packaging waste, using data to find more efficient routes, and outsourcing as little as possible.
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Some sustainability solutions are obvious, like using renewables to power lights and machines. Others may not be as immediately clear, like eliminating fossil fuels from HVAC systems. While green heating is a less obvious strategy for sustainability, it’s an effective and profitable one.
In the U.K., businesses can benefit from the Non-domestic Renewable Heat Incentive, which helps cover the cost of green heating technologies. If company projects are eligible, reducing heat-related emissions can be remarkably cost-effective. The money businesses save in this area can go toward funding other sustainability initiatives.
Reducing Water Usage
Most people may not think of water when they think of reducing their carbon footprint. Despite this, water usage contributes a significant amount to energy consumption. The water sector consumes almost 1,000 terawatt-hours of electricity a year, and that figure doesn’t include heating.
If businesses can use less water and heat it less, they can see considerable improvements in their carbon footprint. Possible solutions include using more efficient pipe systems, repairing leaks faster, monitoring water usage, and using aerated faucets. These changes also reduce the burden of water bills, so they save both money and the environment.
Minimising Fossil Fuel Transportation
Transportation accounts for roughly one-fifth of global CO2 emissions, and more than 40% of that comes from freight and shipping. As a result, one of the best strategies to reduce company carbon footprints is to minimise fossil fuels in transport. That could include using electric or hybrid fleets, but it doesn’t stop there.
Employers can encourage their employees to work from home or carpool to work. That way, employee transportation-related emissions drop. Businesses could even establish reward programs for employees who use green modes of transportation.
There’s Always Room for Businesses to Improve
No matter how much a business has done to become sustainable, they can always do more. Sustainability initiatives don’t have to be dramatic and expensive, either. Companies can take little steps to improve their carbon footprint.
Some ways to become more sustainable aren’t immediately obvious. These five strategies are just a sampling of the methods businesses can use to go green.