13 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint
Net zero GHG emissions are on everyone's mind this decade and as conscious consumers demand transparency, the spotlight is on companies even before laws set in to transition to more eco-friendly practices.
There are obvious ways to reduce the carbon footprint but even less obvious are the things that no one thinks about, like web hosting services or compiling parcels.
Before carbon emissions reduction and elimination can be achieved, businesses need to know what they are emitting. This is not as impossible to find out as using software that keeps track of the emissions data all in one dashboard is the first step to seeing your impact on the environment and creating a strategy to improve it.
Here we'll share with you 13 ways to reduce your carbon footprint so you can get to creating your strategy as you get going on the path to calculating and eliminating your emissions.
1. Choose renewable energy and practice smarter energy efficiency
Switching to carbon-friendly energy sources like renewables is possible where you can incorporate solar panels or generate wind energy. Renewable energy will help consistently lower your energy bills as well as reduce your carbon footprint. Reducing what you use is important until you can change to renewables. Not only are they better for the environment but they are creating jobs and opportunities for other people in the community. As more businesses get smarter about their energy sources and how they use them, a more consistent flow of renewables will take over, creating more jobs and helping communities thrive continuously.
Although renewables can be dependent on weather in the short term, this power source is easier to distribute to businesses in the long term and will provide more stable service than traditional fossil fuel energy services. If one wind turbine has a technical issue for example, another can take over to generate power as needed.
Fetzer Vineyards in California is the first net positive vineyard. They had been growing grapes organically since the 80s and began reporting their carbon emissions to The Climate Registry in 2005. Years ago they had switched to 100% renewable energy with on-site solar power and water waste treatments that are 85% more energy-efficient than alternative systems. Any emissions they cannot eliminate, they offset with carbon credits to make themselves a net positive company.
2. Measure your carbon footprint
It isn't easy to know what your carbon footprint is without actually measuring it. It's simpler for businesses to be able to track, calculate and offset carbon emissions in the same place with intuitive and precise software like Net0. Net0 enables businesses to record, track, analyze, and generate investor-grade reporting all from one central dashboard. Colleagues and vendors can each input their own information into their own part of the dashboard so all contributions are made one by one, making it a simple and routine step to incorporate into business practices in a very short time.
Net0 accurately and precisely measures all data that is recorded so measuring emissions isn't hard like it used to be anymore. Now companies can avoid using expensive consultants because of its intuitive Artificial Intelligence (AI) core which means businesses can cut time and costs where possible. Request a demo and see how much easier and cost-efficient the process is for your company.
3. Pay for carbon offsets
After recording and calculating carbon emissions, two more steps are involved in getting to net zero. First, see how you can reduce or eliminate the emissions. Next, use Net0 to offset emissions immediately from the same dashboard you added the data to. Now everything gets recorded and offset from A-Z. Carbon offsets can be paid for in the Net0 dashboard by choosing projects you want to contribute to. Paying for offsets will get projects going either in the world or in your community that will offset the carbon dioxide your business is emitting into the atmosphere, like wind projects or tree planting. Paying for these can be done by buying offsetting credits and all emissions can be offset, from a business trip in a rented car to your yearly energy supply. No matter the scale, you can reduce your carbon footprint all in one place.
It used to be difficult to offset emissions. Companies used to have to find partners they agree with, buy the offsets, and request certificates. Moreover, it was hard to be able to tell if the offsets were even being done. Net0 can do that all in one place with over 200 reliable options available for offsetting and 40 of which can be done in one click without any approvals. Give it a try and see how easy it is for your company to achieve your net zero goals sooner, compared to the old way of doing things.
4. Use sustainable web hosting services
Not many businesses or people think about sustainable web hosting. Since servers hosted externally use so much energy, the fossil fuels that are involved to keep them running get high. Web hosting includes tens of thousands of computers that use so much energy themselves and on top of that, they generate so much heat they need high-energy cooling systems to cool them down. TechRadar reports, "Web Neutral Project founder Jack Amend calculates that powering the average website produces 4,500 pounds of CO2 a year, equivalent to driving the average new car for more than 10,000 miles. We're not quite sure what ‘average’ means in that context, but whatever the precise details, the message is clear: hosting has a very real environmental impact, and it's much more significant than you might think."
Of course, it's always best to choose based on your needs and the size of your company, so it's something your tech department can look into further.
While many hosting companies are going green and certainly isn't confined to this list, TechRadar records what they consider the best green web hosting of 2021 that includes:
5. Support regenerative agriculture
Even farther than the sustainable or circular supply chain is the regenerative supply chain. Regenerative agriculture enables the soil microbiome to be healthiest, improve water holding capacity, and sequester carbon to improve global warming on top of the aforementioned.
Bigger firms like Nestle have made it known that they are investing in regenerative soils where they source and do various projects that take time and investment with entire communities of farmers in foreign countries. Supporting regenerative agriculture could be as easy as donating to projects you trust or it can become more extensive but it adds value on a more personal level, by getting involved with farmers in the long-term where you source materials or even finding new places to source if not everyone is on board. Regenerative agriculture is a big investment but the value it adds is recognized by customers and if it becomes a core value of the company, it can be achieved by businesses large and small if you take the time to search for the right people and resources.
6. Participate in fairtrade sourcing
Regenerative agriculture also ties into fairtrade sourcing to ensure that farmers can improve their living, working, and community conditions by working with you. If your company buys fairtrade carbon credits, they can do offsets with them, and conscious consumers know that it is a sustainable, carbon-friendly, and fair trade business. These credits will help improve fair trade regions for better air quality, invest in projects like drought-resistant crops in necessary areas, or reduced soil erosion because of tree planting projects that could be affected by flooding in regions where that happens as well.
Seed & Bean Co., a chocolatier in the UK, has 16 fairtrade sourced chocolate bars and uses eucalyptus packaging on these organic products, that customers can throw in the compost at home. They strive for protecting the communities they source from and the environment by having as many fairtrade sourcing products as possible. They enable the actual producers of the cocoa to decide where funding goes in their communities to better impact them based on their needs.
7. Reevaluate shipping and logistics strategies
One of the highest transmitters of carbon dioxide is logistics. Depending on the scale of your logistics, if the cargo is over heavy, smaller parcels, or locally or globally shipped, most take into account speed and cost. While it's great for customers for a parcel service like Amazon to ship one DVD overnight or in an hour, that is killing the environment. So they offer a discount when you box up many items together and have them shipped at once. Those same customers are now jumping on the conscious consumer bandwagon and are now criticizing the same services they asked for, for killing the environment.
8. Get manufacturing involved
Regarding packaging by manufacturers and inventories that are managed by procurement teams, these are two departments that can act proactively rather than reactively. There is more you can do after the product reaches the end consumer, like make biodegradable packaging, but whether the end consumer actually recycles or reuses it is their responsibility. You can only do as much as you can.
Companies such as Paptic Ltd. in Finland make sustainable packaging for products in the supply chain to improve the result of waste after the product reaches the end consumer.
9. Use smarter temperature systems
Food waste is a high transmitter of carbon dioxide emissions as well and the UN Environment Program records food waste in every region, United States - 30%, Latin America - enough being wasted to feed 300 million people a year, United Kingdom - 1/3 which is 6.7 million tonnes, and many more regions stated just to give a few examples. Food waste due to bad temperature shipping, over frozen freezers and refrigerators that people do not adjust accordingly in many regions that don't know how to use simple temperature systems, all account for spoiled food which harms, people, animals, the environment, wastes packaging, sets of methane GHGs, and is monetarily expensive.
10. Reduce, reuse, recycle
Individually, we've all heard about the 3 Rs for decades but it can be more easily enforced in businesses where the ethics of the company emphasize them.
- Reduce the amount of printing and office paper and ink. Only print out what is necessary and make it a rule to print on both sides of the paper when possible.
- Use only the office supplies necessary made with recycled paper and less toxic ink.
- Put QR codes on marketing materials and merchandise to include information storable on mobile phones to avoid too many printed materials that end up tossed in the bin. Encourage employees to print QR codes on business cards or better yet, store them in mobile phones for instant scanning to increase sustainability.
- Reduce food waste as it is a large factor in GHGs so when catering or ordering office shareable snacks and groceries, always take into account the food necessary.
- Make sure the recycling bins in your company are being used properly, rinsing out recyclables and that shredded paper is picked up by a proper company. Most people don't actually know how to recycle properly, making it null and putting a poster in your kitchen will help educate the employees.
11. Plan a circular economy for your supply chain
The circular economy is being adopted by supply chains large and small. As consumers demand even more transparency and environmentally-friendly brands and products, the circular economy gives a competitive edge as they care about having little to no waste in their product lifecycle instead of sticking with the linear supply chain that does very little to be proactive after the product lands at the final distributor. While end-consumers still must do their part and manufacturers should still move towards eco-friendly packaging, the circular supply chain will reinforce the reduction of wasted materials, chemicals, and carbon emissions.
Sierra Nevada Beer Brewery in California had earned a Platinum Zero-Waste Certification many years ago as they began super-composting back in 2010. Their HotRot composter from New Zealand can super-compost in 10 days what would take years for the earth to do to waste naturally. Moreover, they send out their hops to local farms for feed.
12. Encourage greener commutes
Many companies compensate for greener commutes as one of their onboarding benefits for employees. They may enjoy a free bus pass or a paid lot for the month as a choice. Or other public transportation compensation like subways or in some places even ferries. It's also a great idea to encourage bicycle riding by having a safe place to put bicycles in the office when employees get to work as many of them are stolen from parking lots, even with cameras and security.
Regarding regular business travel in cars for sales representatives and going to job sites, offsetting a carbon footprint could be the best choice until more cars are running off of electricity. With Net0, adding transportation data and offsetting the emissions immediately is simple. Net0 automates the process as much as possible to mitigate the amount of manual work your colleagues and vendors have to do when inputting the data, resulting in accurately measured data every time by Net0's system.
13. Lessen air travel
Doing business face-to-face is still necessary and very much a part of positions that encourage the business relationship. While not all business can be done by Zoom, using the least air travel possible and offsetting what you have used would do a great deal.
- Taking longer trips to focus on visiting with as many businesses, vendors, attending conferences, and more, as possible to avoid multiple trips in a month to the same places.
- Hiring remote workers is fantastic for having someone carry the workload in another location instead of having one person fly back and forth constantly. There used to be many outside sales roles that called for such trips to expand their territories, like traders that have very specific positions, experience, and connections. However, since new structures in business like covering different regional territories for less air time, and more time and cost efficiency, have become a noticeable and sustainable option, many companies are restructuring to accommodate a more environmentally-friendly way of connecting this sort of business.
When travel is still necessary, Net0 makes it easy to manually input travel data and its automated system will accurately measure and calculate the emissions so you can offset them in one click.
To conclude, you have to choose the options that are most doable in your business to start working on now, while implementing strategies and future investments for more advanced and detailed reductions. Since Net0 is the most cost-efficient, quickest and easiest solution, don't wait to sign up and start offsetting your emissions. Net0 only takes a few days to set up so you can start taking action now.
Try Net0 and take the first step by tracking, calculating, and offsetting carbon emissions to get a broader view in one place on how to become a carbon neutral company.