Reducing your Company's Carbon Footprint
Updated: Jul 12
Oh hey, is your company looking to go green? Welcome! We're here to help. A huge part of going green is by reducing your carbon footprint. We want to help you boost your sustainability and make your company more efficient. It is possible to run a profitable and carbon accountable business, but it also takes many works.
There are plenty of reasons to enact carbon-neutral practices. As the client crisis escalates, so does the probability that governments worldwide will start to impose strict carbon emission laws. This probability means it is best to get in the game early and be the change you want to see. In 2012, Net Impact additionally learned that customers prefer eco-friendly brands. They also found that being an economically conscious company is linked to employee satisfaction and morale. Companies such as Adidas, Microsoft, Google, Lyft, Amazon, and Salesforce have made the public commitment to being carbon neutral. If you are ready to take the pledge, then let's get started!
5 Ways to Become Eco-friendly:
Move Towards Zero Waste
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), production, transportation, consumption, and disposal of materials accounts for 42% of greenhouse gas emissions in the US. Reducing waste is a massive step towards helping impact the environment.
When your company moves towards zero waste, you must start with an honest reflection of your current carbon footprint. When you do a deep dive into your carbon impact, you can help eliminate waste in the worst areas. You may find you are entirely carbon neutral in some areas. Once you've figured out your company's impact on the environment, you can start to set waste diversion, prevention, and reduction. Then institute policies company-wide to achieve them.
There are various ways to reduce waste; here are some tips specifically for e-commerce companies:
Go paperless whenever possible
Donate old electronics and office furniture
Refiling and recycling ink and toner cartridges are hard to manufacture and take thousands of years to decompose.
Have a no plastics promise
Use compostable packaging and recyclable tape
Stay away from styrofoam; that means no more packing peanuts!
Encourage customers to recycle packaging and educate customers on zero waste policies.
Work with suppliers and manufacturers who have a zero-waste policy.
Another part of zero waste that many overlook are the actual place you conduct your business. If your company has a massive campus, ensure less grass and more natural wildlife spaces that mean less work waste. Work in a concrete jungle? Try adding rooftop gardens to help the bees and bring joy to your employees on their lunch. Setting zero-waste goals will always be a case-by-case basis but try your best to be creative in ensuring your company's properties are eco-friendly.
Harness Renewable Energy Sources
Renewable energy resources have made massive strides in the past years due to the combination of rising oil prices, cheaper energy solutions, and concern for the environment. Harnessing green energy sources requires a considerable expense. Familiar green energy sources include wind turbine farms, solar power, and water power, and although not cheap investments, they save more than they cost in the end.
Harnessing the power of renewable energy means a smaller footprint and an endless supply of energy. However, solar panels and wind turbines are not meant for every business. Businesses that rent their space should look into purchasing renewable energy from their power supplier. Depending on the business location, companies can harness local power sources, and specific tax structures allow for tax breaks when investing in renewable energy sources.
Harnessing renewable energy can also mean opting for company cars that are hybrid or completely electric. If you do not have the infrastructure to make the quick change, ensure that your current company vehicles are up to date, above DEQ standards, and still help the cause.
Cut Business Travel Emissions
According to the EPA, in 2018, transportation was the cause of 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions. It is easier than ever to connect with customers and partners virtually than traveling to meet them with advancements in technology. By cutting down on business travel yearly, companies decrease greenhouse gas emissions and helping the bottom line.
An article released by Business Travel News measures and analyzes GHG emissions by business travel alone. BTN has helped companies create protocols and work with travel companies to help follow through on these protocols. Companies who want to go green must do much work to reduce their travel carbon footprint.
Businesses can help reduce travel emissions by encouraging their employees to take public transit, bike, or carpool to work. Use commuter-matching programs and incentives like preferred parking spots for those who choose to carpool. When flying, you can filter flight options and book the more fuel-efficient economy seats on direct flights.
Though not every company can ask for employees to work remotely to reduce commuter GHG emissions, there is an opportunity to hold virtual training and conferences. Another idea is to encourage WFH options two days a week. Considering what 2020 has shown us, remote work does positively work, and people can be efficient.
Work with Carbon Neutral Partners
This eco-friendly option means more than just working with carbon-neutral manufacturers. It is about partnering with companies in all aspects of your business committed to being carbon-neutral, including catering companies for meetings, office supply companies, electricity companies, plumbers, cleaners, etc. The sky's the limit with the number of organizations a single company will interact with daily.
Another big part of using carbon-neutral partners is paying attention to your carriers, especially when an e-commerce company. Shipping can be a significant cause of GHG emission due to the travel associated with flying packages cross-country, internationally, and the last mile. It is essential to pay attention to routes and choose the carrier looking to help reduce cost and send the package directly.
#ShipTip: Our industry partner, Sendle, is the first company in the United States to focus on carbon-neutral shipping solely. They are a great company to partner with to reduce shipping costs and your carbon footprint.
Educate and Engage
As mentioned earlier, companies that participate in being eco-friendly are more likely to have happy employees. It is crucial to empower and motivate employees with incentives to carpool or ride their bikes to work and get them involved. Depending on company structure, appoint a representative from each department to bring forth suggestions. This is a great way to have feedback from employees with a different perspective.
Consider offering paid leave when employees volunteer for environmentally charged non-profits or matching company donations when they donate to their favorite environmentally friendly charity. There actual companies that will enable the user to use a personal dashboard to track and negate their carbon footprint by planting trees through a vast network of nonprofits called Forest Founders. Having a carbon track subscription is a great way to keep employees and the company alike accountable.
Remember that doing little, actionable steps towards being an environmentally friendly company is excellent. Many of the company's mentioned at the beginning of this post announced plans to be environmentally friendly within 5-10 years. Hanging your company goals and infrastructure takes time. Be a leader in sustainability, not just to improve sales but to improve the world's well-being for generations to come.