If the globe is to survive the 21st century intact, it needs to get a handle on its carbon emissions. Every year, companies and individuals emit billions of tonnes of the stuff into the atmosphere, leading to worries about climate change and global temperature increases.
Fortunately, as brands, we can fight back. There are now more options than ever before for cutting our carbon footprints and creating a more sustainable world.
Stop Using Aircraft For Business Travel
Business passengers regularly use air travel to quickly get around the globe and manage their operations. However, these days, there are alternatives.
Research suggests, for instance, that taking the train for journeys of less than 1,000km may be superior to flying. For longer distances, businesses should use cheaper seating. For instance, estimates suggest that economy class passengers emit only a quarter of the CO2 of those in first class.
Reduce Your Reliance on Road Travel
Another tactic is to reduce the amount of road travel your business does, even if it is a mission-critical part of your operation. For instance, if you run a fleet, it’s a good idea to fit all your vehicles with chips so that you can see where they are at all times. GPS can show you the routes that drivers are taking and then evaluate whether they’re the best for reducing carbon dioxide output.
If you’re struggling to work out whether your fleet is green or not, you can get an outside organisation to audit your trucks, vans and cars for you. These services let you see your total carbon emissions and offer advice for how you can improve them.
Increase Office Lighting Efficiency
There are options for office-based businesses too, particularly in the realm of lighting. Over the last ten years or so, we’ve been through a mini revolution. These days, LEDs are commonplace, but back in 2012, they were a rare find. You could buy them, but prices were astronomical.
The calculus now, though, is different. Firms are getting better at manufacturing them in bulk. And now it’s easy to install them too, with more form factors available.
Embark On Carbon Capture Projects
For some businesses, eliminating CO2 emissions is impossible or very difficult to imagine. Heavy industry, for instance, relies on high heat generation from coal, oil and gas-based fires.
The trick here, therefore, is to offset the use of carbon. Instead of trying to limit its production at source, companies are now looking for ways to recapture it later on, all at low cost.
To do this, they’re increasingly relying on forestry services. These help them plant trees that take in all of the carbon they extract from the ground in the form of fossil fuels. What’s more, they provide new habitats for other animals and plants. Reforestation is a wonderful way to bring balance back to the natural world.
Reduce Energy Use in Data Centres
Data centres account for around 1% of the globe’s total energy use. When you think about it, that’s a vast amount. Simply crunching numbers in computers accounts for a large chunk of humanity’s entire energy requirements. Therefore, today’s companies are looking for ways to cut down on server power consumption.
If you’re worried about the amount of energy your servers are consuming, try setting your cooling systems to a higher temperature. Data centres usually try to cool their server rooms to 19°C, as manufacturers state that this temperature is optimal. However, hardware will still function well at temperatures all the way up to 23°C.
For every one 1°C increase in server room ambient temperature, companies can expect to save between 8% and 9% on their energy bills. That means that you could cut total power consumption by 35%, just by increasing the air conditioning temperature.
Another option is to install plastic curtains. A Google study found that installing metal end-caps on plastic curtains could limit temperature differentials while continuing to provide access to racks.
Lastly, you might want to consider setting up hot and cold aisles. 40% of server room energy is taken up by computers, with the remaining 60% going into cooling, lighting and USP systems.
Simply reorganising your warming and cooling can help to change all this. Setting up cold air containment, for instance, might result in a saving of 20% to 40%.
Minimise Your Food Waste
Food embodies a large amount of carbon dioxide. That’s because it typically requires a large amount of energy to transport it to where it’s consumed. And the further it has to move, the worse it is.
The obvious solution here is to choose locally-grown items for your food business or canteen menu. However, if you can’t supply these, then simply reducing food waste is another good option. The further you can make your deliveries go, the better.
Paper, like food, embodies a lot of CO2. That’s why so many businesses are now going digital. Instead of printing things out, they’re moving all correspondence and projects online and relying on digital screen representations instead.
There will be times, of course, when you will have to print. However, you’ll be surprised just how few and far between they are. As the boss, set the example. Then allow your colleagues to follow suit.
Pay More Attention to Reduce and Reuse, Not Just Recycle
The three Rs have become a popular sustainability mantra. We’re all supposed to be reducing, reusing and recycling.
However, while recycling has gotten a lot of attention, reducing and reusing haven’t. Commercial enterprises generally don’t like the idea because it could reduce demand for their output.
As a company, though, you can implement these policies with all your B2B inputs. For instance, you might reuse old equipment instead of throwing it out. Or you might reduce the amount of paper you order from your suppliers to cut down on waste.
All these measures help to reduce CO2 emissions, both directly and indirectly. Companies interested in sustaining their business models for the long-term should focus on them.
Image Credits: Artem Zhukov
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