Since most of the world is staying indoors and isolating to stay safe, there has been a notable decrease in air pollution in cities across the world. Some herald it as one of the few positives of everything going on, with some companies realising that fewer people commuting and working in the office results in energy usage going down.
Becoming carbon neutral is something that sounds difficult on paper, but in practice, it can be remarkably easy for any business, no matter their size, to reduce their carbon footprint. In many cases, it can happen more as a whimper than a complete overhaul of practices
Here’s how companies can take steps towards becoming carbon neutral.
Figure out how much carbon your company is using
Let’s tackle the most challenging part first; knowing the carbon footprint of a business.
It can be hard enough for one person to work out their footprint, but scaling that up to cover a business seems like an incalculable task. It can be simple though if you know where to look. Companies which provide a service, such as producing a physical item, can lean on their energy bills and travel expenses (i.e. miles flown for business trips) to get a good baseline figure.
Companies which manufacture can take the same figures and also look at their Scope 3 emissions (these are the indirect emissions a company produces). There are even freelance consultants you can ask to come and give a precise measurement of emissions.
Getting a rough idea can then put you a better position of how to take carbon neutral measures. Luckily, this doesn’t mean having to overhaul operation completely, as there are neutral steps you can take in the interim.
Go tree crazy
You can make the best start by helping to get as many trees planted as possible. There are dedicated charities and non-profits you can contact to plant new trees or help pay for the maintenance and upkeep.
Some examples of this are WeForest, Fund A Forest and On A Mission. These initiatives ask you to donate towards their work, helping you indirectly bring your carbon levels down.
Literally buy negative carbon
It’s crazy to think there are now businesses which provide carbon offsets for anyone looking to buy them.
You can find services such as methane capture, wind farm energy, and landfill gas capture, which all aim to do the hard work for you by the tonne. They provide your business with accreditation that shows you are paying to help offset personal emissions.
This is very helpful when a business can’t find a viable path to reduce internally.
Completely revamp heat generation
One of the biggest sources of emissions for businesses comes from heating. When businesses rely on oil and gas heating, it can have a massive impact on the footprint. Luckily, there are companies out there, showing bigger businesses how to turn the heat up and emissions off.
A great example of this is the UK based industrial engineering company Star Ref. They realised that burning fuels for heat generation is a costly and messy process which most businesses can quickly change to bring emissions down.
Instead of using fossil fuels, a neat pump can convert waste energy from cooling processes into useful heat for office buildings. Imagine a factory using and producing hundreds of litres of wastewater a week. All the “dirty” water getting flushed down the drain can instead be re-routed to a pump which then creates heating and hot water.
It’s a prime example of closing the loop on emissions and helping a company get one step closer to being carbon neutral.
Don’t go to meetings (but do still go)
Zoom. It’s probably the most popular word of 2020 now that so many of us are working from home. Hopefully, it can grow from a novelty towards being the norm. With fewer people commuting every day, the lack of traffic and materials being used (just imagine how many fewer coffee cups are being wasted every day) businesses can keep emissions levels to an all-time low.
Changes to when people need to be at work, and how often we need to commute to see clients can see your levels naturally get lower.
Want more articles on how to improve different aspects of a business?
Read the latest business posts from the site here. Recently we’ve covered topics including social media which come in handy when you need to showcase carbon neutral efforts, as well as advice on branding and lead generation.