5 Tips to Reduce Corporate Carbon Emissions
Climate change is a hot-button environmental issue facing the world today. The phenomenon is caused by the increasing amount of heat-trapping greenhouse gases that in turn warm the Earth. Some of the consequences of the increased greenhouse gas emissions are rising atmospheric temperatures and sea levels, in addition to changes in storm patterns. To some, climate change is an inevitable side effect of the industrialized world. To others, it is seen as an imminent threat. No matter the cause or severity of climate change, however, both corporations and consumers can help protect our environment by reducing carbon emissions.
Businesses have the ability to work towards making an impact, as corporations are cited as one of the primary creators of greenhouse gas emissions. By measuring current carbon outputs and working to reduce their carbon footprint, businesses can send a message to their customers and the world at large that they understand their role in curbing greenhouse gases. There are several initiatives corporations can enact to reduce their carbon footprint.
1. Reduce Energy Use
Energy use typically comprises about half of a company’s carbon footprint. Reducing a facility’s energy use not only cuts cost on energy bills, but also decreases the environmental burden for which a company is responsible. Whether that’s installing energy-efficient lighting, using energy-efficient appliances, or switching to a green web hosting company, there are many ways to make small changes. And those small changes have the potential for a big impact: according to the EPA, over 1.5 billion pounds of greenhouse gas emissions would be saved if every office product purchased in the U.S. was ENERGY STAR certified.
2. Eliminate Single-use Plastics
Single-use plastics are another large contributor to a business’s carbon footprint. Every time someone throws away a plastic straw, bag, cup or packaging materials, these products exact a toll on the environment. Almost all plastic products are made from fossil fuels, and refining those fuels into plastics is an energy-intensive process that is driving up global emissions. Items such as cafeteria cutlery, disposable coffee cups and plastic water bottles can easily be switched for reusable items instead. Opting for reusable replacements reduces a carbon footprint while reducing waste hauling costs, too.
3. Offer a Flexible Work Schedule
Does your organization offer work-from-home days? According to a recent survey, roughly 76 percent of Americans drive alone to work every day. As commuters drive to work, cars create a large amount of pollution that indirectly adds to a company’s footprint. Whenever possible, offer a flexible schedule where work-from-home days are encouraged. This will lessen the amount of pollution your employees create as a byproduct of their job duties. As an added bonus, a corporation’s company cars can be fuel-efficient or electric models reduce the environmental impact as well.
4. Track for Supply Chain Efficiency
With so many interwoven pieces, an organization’s supply chain is brimming with opportunity for carbon footprint reduction. Oftentimes, money, time, and resources are wasted through inefficient operations. Directly ask suppliers if they have quantifiable measures on their generated greenhouse gas emissions. Some large corporations have already advocated for increased transparency from their suppliers. According to the CDP, Walmart, CVS Health, and Target have started collecting data from their suppliers in order to cut their environmental risks and reduce carbon emissions in their supply chains.
5. Educate Employees
With the proper training, employees can be the greatest asset in reducing carbon footprint. To achieve real results, it requires a steadfast commitment from every member of the organization, from top to bottom. Make a public pledge to reduce carbon emissions, and ensure employees understand the reason behind the pledge and what they can do to help. Workshops, webinars, and signage are all effective ways to educate employees. When everyone is involved, a real difference can be made.
More and more frequently, consumers are choosing to support entities that are socially conscious and showing tangible steps to reduce their carbon footprint. There are several key areas to approach when attempting to be more sustainable, including energy reduction, plastic reduction, transportation, supply chain transparency, and education, to name a few. For more information on how your business can work towards lessening its carbon footprint, please visit the EPA website to learn more.