There are many reasons why the whole world is going green. Not only are the future generations at risk of living in their own waste, but we are also facing disasters beyond our comprehension due to climate change. It is high time your business hopped on the eco-friendliness train and reduced your carbon footprint.
What are the benefits of zero net carbon emissions?
There are plenty of reasons why you should go for zero net carbon emissions. By making an effort to reduce your carbon footprint, you will not only be helping the environment, but you will also be joining tens of thousands of companies looking to make a positive impact on our planet and forever changing the industry. Together you can pave the way for more eco-friendly practices and support a more sustainable supply chain.
Another good reason to go green has to do with the type of customers you will attract. More people, especially the younger generations, are becoming environmentally-conscious and are actively looking for brands that care about saving the planet. As the vast majority transitions to an eco-friendlier mindset, you will have a competitive advantage by going green.
Additionally, aiming to reduce your carbon footprint may also have a positive impact on your finances. While it may seem that it is an expensive endeavor, it actually may end up saving you some money. If you optimize the efficiency and sustainability of your business, you may realize that your previous practices have been unnecessarily wasteful. For instance, by switching to a paperless method of issuing invoices and receipts, or by recycling your byproducts (and even selling them), you may end up saving the environment and money!
Estimate your carbon footprint
While this all sounds fine and dandy, you first have to determine the amount of emissions your business produces. Your overall impact on the environment can be measured by your carbon footprint, which is the total amount of greenhouse gasses you produce, both directly and indirectly. You have to know the size of your footprint to be able to gauge the number of emissions you should reduce. The size of your footprint can never be determined accurately, unless you have the technology required, but you can get a rough estimate.
For a start, you will need information about your business activities for the past year. That means determining your energy, gas and water consumption, business travel and fuel consumption, waste disposal and recycling. Then you can use any program to calculate your carbon footprint, or you can do it manually by using your government conversion factors.
Do competitor research
Whenever a business opts for a new strategy, they always conduct competitor research. And this strategy is no different. The easiest way to find out whether something works or not is by looking into companies that are already implementing change. See what the industry leaders are doing and try to picture that in your company. Would these measures be applicable in your case?
Also consider the costs. A lot of companies are pledging to go zero, but very few of them actually manage to do so. Learn from their mistakes and see what methods work for you.
Create a realistic strategy
While aiming for zero net carbon is a positive goal, you should know that going green takes time. It requires you to completely reevaluate your business practices and make a lot of changes. The goal of succeeding is to set a realistic timeframe. Identify the biggest carbon emitters and look for new suppliers.
You can consult sustainable asset finance companies with eco-friendly partners who measure their carbon footprint, and even get funding for new energy-efficient assets. Most importantly, take baby steps – first identify the easiest changes you can implement and go from there.
Set small goals
Just like we previously mentioned, take baby steps. It will keep you motivated and positive about reaching your goals. Also it gives you plenty of time to rethink your strategy and evaluate the costs and benefits. So, start small, like optimizing your appliances and even switching them out for more energy-saving ones. Install a meter to monitor your energy usage.
Use eco-friendly packaging, and manage your waste better by recycling. If you have any production byproducts, you can find a way to process and reuse them, or even sell them. Also consider some long-term changes, like installing solar panels, or other renewable energy sources.
Your strategy may change over time according to new technologies that have yet to be invented. It is always advisable to stay ahead of the curve, so be on a constant lookout for better technology. Also, make it a habit to annually review your progress, and implement new changes accordingly.
There is always something you can improve, and by doing it yearly, you ensure that you are constantly progressing, but also taking time to adjust to the changes.
While hitting zero net carbon goal may seem so far away, it is going to pay off in the long run. Besides the fact that being eco-friendly is beneficial for the environment, you also never know what new laws may soon be implemented, and you may end up paying government penalties in ten years if you do not transition to a more sustainable production method.
By Derek Lotts