Lockdown has had an amazing effect on the environment. The Energy Information Administration has forecasted a 10% annual decline In US energy-related carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 – their lowest levels since 1991. In the UK, the Reducing UK Emissions: 2020 Progress Report to Parliament shows emissions are likely to decrease by 5-10%. With so much progress made, there’s understandable reluctance to go back to our lives before lockdown only to see emissions rise again.
We all have a part to play in supporting sustainability, but business owners in particular have a huge influence. We’re at a “historical turning point”; this is your chance to change the way your company works in relation to its eco-policies.
These changes can be highly beneficial to your business. In one survey, 71% of companies said that making their business more environmentally friendly led to them having reduced costs.
Whatever your reasons for beginning this journey, here are some things you can do.
Get to work greener
The way in which your employees get to work is as important to their carbon footprint as what they do when they arrive. In many cases, multiple employees will be using their own vehicle to travel to the office, and although this might be convenient, it’s a wasteful method of commuting. In the US around 28% of greenhouse gas emissions come from road transport, so it’s important that you do your part to encourage employees to utilize different methods.
Getting your employees to cycle to work wherever possible will save them money, make them healthier, and importantly decrease carbon emissions.
Lockdown has shown us that being more lenient about working from home will be beneficial. Over the past few months, many companies have found that their employees work just as well from home, and this move towards remote working is a great way to tackle carbon emissions that come from commuting.
Think about your energy
Whatever sector your business is in, the energy supply your company uses can make a big difference to both your carbon emissions and your costs. Switching from oil to gas is sure to benefit your business if you’re off the mains gas grid; with potential cost savings and reduced emissions, making this switch will result in a reliable and dependable energy supply. A spokesperson from Tamnavulin Distillery explained the company’s reasoning behind making the switch from oil to gas with Flogas:
Don’t just stop at influencing your employees' choices within your business; inspire them in their personal lives to be aware of the different energy choices they can make. Changing their energy supply could save them money and reduce the emissions they create in their home as well as their place of work.
Support other sustainable businesses
A great way to champion being a green business is to work with other companies committed to sustainability. Connect with sustainable vendors the next time you host a social or a networking event or build relationships with sustainable firms by offering company discounts or other incentives.
What about carbon offsetting?
If your company has to emit carbon due to essential activities, look at carbon offsetting options. Opting into a carbon offsetting initiative can mitigate your business’s energy emissions while also supporting essential sustainability projects around the world.
More companies are taking steps to become paperless with the rise of online communication platforms. Why not go one step further and make ‘paperless’ your policy? This could also extend to kitchenware, new starter packs and any other disposable products that could be switched out for a reusable or digital alternative.
Make your company culture green
There are many different things you can do to make your company more sustainable, but the company culture as a whole can change the way your employees think about sustainability. Ensure that you communicate your eco-efforts clearly and proudly to your workforce, and make sure that sustainability is worked into discussions and meetings whenever possible. Creating a green company culture will inspire your employees and ensure that sustainability is always at the front of their minds.
As a business owner, you have the influence to change the future for the better and make it greener for your company and your employees. There’s never been a more important time to improve your sustainability measures and empower your staff to do the same.