In today’s society, everyone is becoming increasingly more conscious of ways to reduce their carbon footprint to help limit the catastrophic effects of climate change. However, your own personal footprint is not the only thing that matters. Now more than ever, it is crucial that business owners take responsibility for their offices and workspaces and implement positive change for the benefit of the environment. Here are just some of the things you can do to aid a reduction in your office’s carbon footprint.
Installing newer, more efficient heating systems can help lower greenhouse gas emissions from your business, in line with the UK government’s target to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050. Although this is a large initial outgoing, it will have impactful results in the long run.
Not only will this help save the planet from further damage, but it will also decrease your energy costs through more efficient heating systems, improving your profit margins for years to come.
A good heating system is also essential for creating a pleasant working environment for your employees, which will, in turn, boost productivity and morale.
Upgrade Appliances and Lighting
An easy way to quickly implement carbon savings is to replace any old non-efficient appliances such as kettles, toasters, and fridges for more energy-saving options. With EPC ratings clearly shown on packaging, investing in new, more efficient appliances couldn’t be simpler. The same goes for lighting. Traditionally, many offices tend to have harsh strip lighting that consumes lots of energy. Switching to an LED alternative is a great way to make your office greener.
Make your Office Smart
Switching out appliances and lighting is a good start, but there is even more that can be done to get the most efficiency out of them.
Installing smart technology such as smart bulbs, timer plugs, and motion sensors is an accessible but effective way to guarantee that energy is only being consumed when it is actually necessary, rather than running all the time. Not only is this great for your carbon footprint, devices such as motion sensors can be good for increasing office security out of hours.
Going paper free will reduce your office’s carbon footprint as it reduces deforestation, and landfill waste, as well as cutting energy use from printing. If going paper free is not an option for you then being paper-lite could be. Reminding employees to only print out documents when absolutely necessary and encouraging double-sided printing is a good place to start. For where paper is used, be sure to provide paper recycling points throughout the office and ensure recycling is taken seriously by all members of the team.
Although the carbon footprint of an office is largely the responsibility of the business owner and office manager, it is also good to encourage your employees to make more carbon-conscious decisions too. How your employees arrive at the office will have a significant impact on their carbon footprint. Offering a hybrid working policy that allows employees to work from home some of the time is the most obvious way to cut down on any environmental impact of getting to the office. Again, this also has positive financial impacts on the business.
When not working from home, you can encourage employees to use more environmentally friendly transport methods to get to work where possible, such as walking or cycling. Many companies take part in a cycle-to-work scheme as an incentive for employees. These schemes often offer staff money-off bike purchases and access to secure facilities for bike storage.
Public transport is also a good option for those who don’t wish to walk or cycle to work. Some companies may choose to subsidise a proportion of public transport costs for those who choose to travel to work this way. This is a great incentive for employees and can also lead to shorter commute times for those traveling within busy city centres.
For some, car travel is going to be the only viable option. In this case, carpooling can be a fantastic option. Generally, several employees are likely to be traveling to the office from the same area, meaning it is far more efficient for them to share one car.
It’s fair to say that coffee plays a big part in a lot of offices, so making sure that it is drunk in the most environmentally friendly way possible is a good place to start. Providing the means to make good coffee in the office won’t only make you a more favourable boss, it will also deter staff from buying coffee on their way to work, often coming in single-use plastic or non-recyclable cups. Be sure to invest in a coffee machine that doesn’t require plastic pods which get thrown away afterward, and make sure lots of re-usable mugs are on offer. Some companies are choosing to gift their employees branded travel mugs that help staff avoid single-use plastics if they do choose to bring or purchase coffee from outside of the office. It’s also important that the coffee you are drinking is as sustainable as possible so be sure to look into fair trade options.
Offsetting your carbon emissions is an alternative way to help balance your office’s carbon footprint. If you offset your total emissions to net-zero, you can be certified carbon neutral. This accreditation can reassure employees, clients, and customers that you’re committed to limiting the environmental impact of your company. When you become carbon neutral, there are several ways to offset your emissions and ways to give back to the planet, including investing in renewable energy or planting trees.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that offsetting alone isn’t enough to protect the environment and in addition to aiming for carbon-neutral status, you should also implement other office policies, like those mentioned above, in order to reduce the overall carbon footprint of your business.