As a business owner, you know the significant role your company plays in the community around you.
With that presence comes responsibility, which is why more businesses are taking a harder look at the impact their operations make on the environment.
You’ve probably heard of the term, carbon footprint. In general, it reflects the amount of gases, including carbon dioxide, that are produced by the activity of a person or company.
In business terms, your company’s carbon footprint can be affected by:
- Direct emissions, such as from company fleets or factory equipment that burn power or heat
- Indirect emissions, such as the result of purchasing electricity
- Other indirect emissions, such as from delivery companies that provide goods to your business, or through business travel
Businesses can reduce their energy usage in a number of ways. Although some can be more costly or involve more planning, here are 5 easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint as a company.
Use Energy Star Appliances
If every office used equipment that was Energy Star certified, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates more than 1.5 billion pounds of emissions would be saved. That’s a savings of more than $117 million in energy costs each year.
Various types of IT equipment can be Energy Star qualified, including audio/visual, computers, data center storage, displays, imaging equipment, servers, small networking equipment, television, and power supplies.
Energy Star also recommends small energy-savings tips that you can pass along to employees:
- Put computers and other office machines to sleep when not in use.
- Consolidate printers, which saves money on energy usage, ink and paper.
- Use smart power strips, which can be controlled by programmable timers, and even can sense occupancy in the room.
The amount of waste a company generates is a major contributor to its carbon footprint. That is because the decomposition of waste in a landfill can produce methane gas. These emissions then become trapped in the atmosphere.
There are many ways to reduce waste, so it makes sense from a business perspective to implement initiatives to do so. After all, waste reduction can save your business money by reducing disposal costs and through minimizing purchasing.
Even in your office kitchen you can find ways to reduce waste. For example:
- Use reusable glasses, mugs and plates.
- Replace bottled water with a filter on the faucet.
- Replace any appliances, such as dishwashers, refrigerators and microwaves, with Energy Star appliances.
If your office doesn’t already recycle, offering employees this option is a great way to keep more waste out of landfills. Some communities even offer composting services, which is the recycling of organic materials, like food and yard trimmings. Every little bit helps.
Switch Power Sources
For companies that have production facilities or factories as part of their operations, direct emissions can come from chemical reactions that occur when producing chemicals, iron, steel and cement. They also can occur when burning fuel for power or heat.
Reconfiguring plants so that machinery is run on clean burning natural gas can reduce the consumption of higher carbon footprint .
Warehouse equipment that runs on diesel fuel can also be updated to a more environmentally-friendly alternative, such as incorporating electric forklifts with lithium-ion batteries into your fleet.
Change The Way You Travel
If your company fleet is due for any additions or upgrades, consider incorporating more fuel-efficient vehicles. Even if adding electric or hybrid vehicles into a company fleet isn’t an option, choose cars and trucks that are more eco-friendly.
Even if it isn’t feasible for a business to replace its fleet, there are several ways a company can reduce its carbon footprint.
- Keep current vehicles maintained. Scheduling regular tune-ups and performing other vehicle maintenance can help a car or truck optimally perform and save fuel.
- Reduce business travel through air or other modes of transportation, or even better opt to do conference calls through video conferencing.
- Encourage employees to carpool, or allow telecommuting when possible. You can also provide a stipend for employees to use a ride sharing company where offered.
Evaluate Your Suppliers
For many companies, emissions that contribute to your carbon footprint come from outside their own operations. However, your business still has an opportunity to examine possible opportunities for increasing energy efficiency in the supply chain.
Engaging with suppliers and other businesses that offer sustainability initiatives can benefit your own footprint.
For example, if your business produces hazardous waste, transportation to remove that waste is one of the activities that has the most impact on your carbon footprint.
For companies located in the Western United States that use solvents as part of their operation, Temarry Recycling offers an alternative to the traditional way of disposing of that solvent waste. Many of these western companies send their solvent waste to fuel blending facilities, which means that their waste must be transported across the country to Kansas or Arkansas (the closest fuel blending facilities). This transportation alone can produce more than 1,500 kg of carbon dioxide.
By making the switch and sending their solvent waste to Temarry, companies can dramatically reduce their carbon footprint.
In addition, Temarry’s closed loop recycling system provides companies with a more sustainable disposal option.
Your company can reduce its carbon footprint in several ways...Using more energy efficient equipment, reducing waste, re-examining the fuel sources you use, reconsider the necessity of your employee’s travel and the types of vehicles they use, and evaluating how your suppliers may be impacting your carbon footprint.
Want to see what your company’s carbon footprint is right now? Our article, How To Calculate My Carbon Footprint, assists you in determining your footprint, as well as provides further ways to conserve energy in your business.