Six carbon-busting steps to help make your business greener

Whether your company is required to enter the Streamlined Energy Carbon Reporting (SECR) process or not, the need for carbon reduction is more precedent than ever before.

With ambitious net-zero targets now put in place by the government, sustainability has become a key part of everyday conversations in the workplace and at home.

Not all companies can invest in big carbon reduction projects such as the instalment of heat pumps, but there are a number of simple and cheap measures that can be put in place to play your part in the battle against climate change.

1) Green energy procurement

If you switch to a green energy tariff the supplier guarantees that a certain percentage of the energy you use (potentially not all of it, though) comes from a variety of renewable energy sources such as solar, hydroelectric, wind and tidal power.

The number of green energy tariffs being offered has been increasing for some time, and this growth has only accelerated during the lockdown, so there is plenty of choice in the marketplace.

2) Online meetings

We’re all familiar with Zoom and other online meeting platforms by now, given the restrictions placed on physical movement. Once restrictions ease again there could be a temptation to fill up the diary with several in-person meetings, but before you do that, ask yourself the question, ‘do I really need to travel?’ You could be saving the planet from harmful emissions by reducing your air or road miles.

Meanwhile, if you have a fleet of work vehicles, The Energy Saving Trust can advise you on how to make the fleet greener.

3) Install an EV charging point on-site

With the sale of EVs on an upward trend, the need for a wider spread of charging points has never been more obvious. Not many workplaces have this option at present so why not get ahead of the game and prove your commitment to sustainability by installing a charging station on-site?

4) Increase the efficiency of your office lighting

Research has shown that office lighting is crucial to the productivity of your workforce because of the impact it can have on a person’s mood.

Preferably, your workspace would let as much natural light in as possible to negate the need for artificial light, which is not as good for a person’s health and well-being. But where that isn’t feasible, energy-efficient LED lights should be the go-to option.

5) Avoid needless energy waste

Dimmer or timer switches on lights and well-sealed doors that automatically close are a couple of simple ways to avoid energy being used when it is not necessary.

Implementing a best-practice sustainability charter for your employees also helps bring about behavioural change when it comes to things like powering down devices properly.

6) Reduce, reuse and recycle

The food processing industry is classed as energy-intensive as it takes a lot of energy to produce goods and transport them. If you have a work canteen check to see if the collection of food waste is possible and if it is, make sure kitchen staff have the facilities to dispose of it correctly. Increasing vegan or vegetarian options on the daily menu will also help reduce your carbon footprint as 18% of global emissions are related to animal livestock.

Plastic water stations have become a popular place for colleagues to gather and have a chat, and whilst this is great for office morale, it is not so great for the environment. Encourage staff to bring in their own recyclable water holders and make a central drinking water tap available to them so they can refill when necessary.

Have a recycling area in the office or warehouse where different bins are provided for paper products, recyclable plastic and things like batteries. Many offices consume vast amounts of paper through printing. Try and reduce this as much as possible. Digitally signing documents rather than by hand is one way of doing this.