Importance of a Business’ Carbon Footprint

While the sustainability efforts and carbon footprint of businesses were considered a ‘nice to have’ marketing story in years gone by, today’s consumers display a growing interest in those they choose to purchase from and work with. Indeed, with big businesses constantly announcing their own targets and ambitions, and a growing number of organisations looking to achieve carbon neutral status at some point in the near future, customer attentions are constantly drawn to hefty goals and objectives aimed at improving CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) credentials.

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Today, a business’ carbon footprint doesn’t just demonstrate the industrial power behind the organisation but it also gives a perception of its attitude towards the world we all live, and that in which it works.

 

How should a business calculate its carbon footprint?

Businesses have a variety of options when it comes to the actual calculation of their carbon footprint. Ideally, a specialist should be brought into to calculate emissions and make a full and thorough analysis but there are informal methods that can be used internally for a ballpark figure.

In the case of casual calculations, a business can collect the data from each of their relevant emissions-releasing activity, ideally over a 1-year period. This can be converted using the appropriate greenhouse gas conversions factors from an industry body, such as the DECC (Department of Energy & Climate Change) or DEFRA (Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs). An online calculator can then be used to ascertain exact emission figures.

 

How can businesses manage and reduce their carbon footprint?

There’s a whole host of actions that businesses can take to reduce their carbon footprint, and such installations and initiatives often need not be radical to have a vast impact!

Working with sustainable suppliers, using recycled resources where appropriate and lowering business travel can all impact heavily on not just operational carbon emissions but also the costs incurred. Carbon offset is also a popular option for those organisations who find themselves unable to operate without enacting some emissions and allows for businesses to purchase credits into initiatives to neutralise their own environmental impact.

In offices, stores and physical facilities, similar changes can be made to the sustainability of the building itself. The installation of automatic doors that don’t open until someone is ready to walk through them reduces unnecessary heating output, with a tangible effect on energy emissions and their costs.

The integration of separate bin systems for different waste types can encourage recycling. LED lighting can reduce unnecessary energy use; even more so if set on a timer that switches off illumination until someone is present. Energy-saving modes on IT equipment can have a similar impact.

 

What are the positives of changing (improving) business carbon emissions?

While of course all businesses should aim to operate responsibility within the environment they exist in, the eco-friendly benefits to improving an organisation’s carbon emissions isn’t purely sustainability focused.

Those who are able to demonstrate increased sustainability focus are able to promote a positive PR story to both the media and customers alike, and there is growing evidence that such efforts garner positive consumer approval.

What’s more, with an increasing amount of ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance) guidelines and regulations being introduced, businesses already taking steps to lower their carbon footprint are more likely to be ‘ahead of the curve’ when it comes to legally mandated targets and actions.