Let’s face it—most of us probably don’t put in as much effort as we should, when it comes to reducing our carbon footprint. You may be surprised how easy it actually is for your business to reduce its impact on the environment, by making a few simple changes. If you get really ambitious about making a difference, here’s an example of one business that almost completely eliminated its negative impact on the environment. If you’re not quite ready to affect change on this scale, we’ll go into some easy things you can do every day to reduce emissions.
Diageo North America
One company took the initiative to blow away any expectations of those concerned about environmental responsibility and sustainability. The North American division of Diageo, a global producer, manufacturer, and distributor of spirits, beer, and wine, cut their total carbon emissions by 80 percent—that is a figure that would astound even the most ambitious environmental organization. It was not cheap to reorganize the company to make it super-green, and it took some time—around 7 years, in fact. The task force responsible for taking the company in this new direction started by calculating its current carbon footprint and its reduction goal. Read the entire story by following the link at the end of this article.
Diageo is, of course, an example of an extreme case; however, we can learn one important lesson from their hard work: If your business is ready to make the necessary changes to reduce your negative impact on the environment, it really is possible to change the game entirely, when you make the investment of time and energy.
Let’s get down to more realistic strategies that you can implement for your own business, to significantly affect your carbon footprint.
Step #1: Assess Your Current Emissions
To get started, you’ve got to look at a snapshot of your current emissions. See the link at the bottom of this page for a great carbon footprint calculator, provided free by the University of California, Berkeley.
Step #2: Identify Where You Can Improve
Depending on what industry you’re in, some businesses will have more emissions than others, so naturally, the kinds of solutions you will be able to utilize also vary between different business types. Categories to examine include: Waste management, energy efficiency, hybrid company vehicles, and water conservation. Anyway, these are a good place to start.
Step #3: Formulate Your Plan & Create a Budget
This is where “going green” moves from being a sentimental, abstract idea to real-world strategy. Count the cost, decide specifically what changes you are going to make, and what time frame your plan is going to require.
Here are some simple green solutions to get started:
- Replace any incandescent light bulbs with Compact Fluorescent Light (CFL) bulbs.
- Install low-flow toilets/automatic shutoff water faucets.
- Use biodegradable trash bags.
- Recycled toilet paper/paper towels.
- Supplemental rooftop solar panels.
Step #4: Get Leadership on Board
If you want your proposed changes to really stick, it’s essential that you get your leadership team involved. Your team sets an example for everyone else, plus it shows that the company is serious about your plan to reduce emissions. Whether you want to overhaul your infrastructure completely and go super-green, or you just want to do your duty as a citizen of the world with some quick changes—you just have to take the time to decide where you can improve. Any reduction in your carbon footprint is a step in the right direction.
Need more advice about creating an environmentally-friendly business? This post shows how going paperless can increase efficiency: Going Paperless: Is It Really Worth It?