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Blog: 5 steps you can take to reduce your business' carbon footprint

Blog Growth Hub Net Zero 02/08/2022

Sustainability is the word on everyone’s lips

In this blog, the team from ECO-I NW share five steps you should consider when reducing your business' carbon footprint.

Environmental concerns are high on everybody’s agenda at the moment, for some this may have been a concern for quite some time, for others, it may be a relatively new consideration. Either way, sustainability is the word on everyone’s lips.

As a business, you may have already noticed that customers are becoming more conscious of where they buy from, meaning that being more environmentally friendly can give you a competitive advantage and therefore you should probably get to grips with becoming ‘eco-friendly’. But where to start?!

Let’s address one of the most popular environmental terms floating around in the discourse at the moment… Carbon Footprint.

What is a carbon footprint?

A carbon footprint can be described as the total amount of Greenhouse Gases (including carbon dioxide and methane) that are generated by our actions, or in this case, your firm’s actions.

To have the best shot at reducing global temperatures, we should all be aiming to reduce our carbon footprint, although this doesn’t happen overnight, below are some steps you can take to begin reducing your businesses carbon footprint.

By taking small and manageable actions, we can start making a difference today.

What can you do?

  1. Consider your modes of transport

Increasingly companies are making use of Microsoft Teams and Zoom for virtual meetings instead of face-to-face appointments. This is a simple and effective way to cut travel time whether that be by car, train, or plane. Alternatively, if you do need to travel to a meeting, consider taking the train, bus or even cycling if it is a short distance.

Employee commuting is often a businesses biggest downfall, you could implement a cycle to work scheme or offer a travel pass incentive to prevent people from driving to their office locations.

If your business requires a fleet of vehicles, you could explore the use of hybrid or electric vehicles.

  1. Take a look at your supply chain

Those who you do business with can also impact your carbon footprint. Why not take a look at your supply chain to check which companies are adopting sustainable strategies and policies.

You could also reach out to your suppliers to encourage them to follow in your footsteps and reduce their environmental impact.

Opting for a local supply chain will always be beneficial as it reduces the amount of transport needed.

  1. Check your energy

This is one of the simplest and lowest cost ways to reduce your carbon footprint. Knowing how much energy your business uses and its biggest sources can be a powerful position to be in. It means you can make positive changes to your operations to reduce this cost.

Smart meters can be beneficial for monitoring your energy usage and to identify peaks and troughs.

You can also replace the lighting throughout your premises with LED options or other low carbon alternatives.

  1. Reuse and recycle

Implementing correct recycling systems will encourage others to partake in the changes you are making.

You can also purchase second-hand IT equipment, recycled paper or even implement a double-sided printing policy. All of which will work to reducing your carbon footprint.

Encourage food vendors in your business to operate a reusable cup or water bottle policy or reduce the amount of single use cutlery you purchase which will encourage others to bring their own.

  1. Address your waste

Once you have attempted the above and you are left with your waste you can think about how you can reduce this. You could swap to cartons of milk and jars of coffee instead of sachets to reduce single use plastic. You can also adopt digital practices and move to a ‘paperless’ office to prevent hard copies of records being produced and therefore cutting paper consumption.

Finally, if you have waste that can be repurposed you could explore if this can be used to heat a biomass boiler or sold on to another business that may have use for it.

ECO-I Northwest

So, whether you read this blog because you were concerned about the planets future, your businesses future or you simply wanted to reduce your running costs, addressing your businesses environmental impact is crucial to the success of a modern business.

At ECO-I NW we understand that running a small business can feel like you don’t have the time to consider anything but your sales, so that is where we can come in and support you as we believe all businesses can do something to contribute to a low carbon society.

ECO-I NW is an ERDF funded project that supports SME’s across the North West to develop innovative low carbon products, solutions or services. We can also help commercialise and market your new ideas whilst considering your carbon outputs and how you can reduce them. Through our project you can also access world class expertise, facilities, and research from Liverpool John Moores University for zero cost to your business.

If you are ready to take the plunge and benefit your business and the planet then please get in touch