Tips for Reducing the Carbon Footprint of Your Small Business
How to Reduce Your Businesses Carbon Footprint
As natural disasters continue to intensify across the world, it’s clear that the effects of climate change are well underway. While we can’t undo the damage that’s already been done, it’s critical for every business and individual to do their part in preventing further climate warming.
Small businesses are the backbone of our economy, and they also have the opportunity to help with the climate crisis more than a single individual. If you’re a small business owner, it’s important to do what you can to reduce your company’s carbon footprint, regardless of the industry you’re in.
Here are some tips for a greener business.
Switch From Single-Use Plastic
If you own a restaurant, then you know a large source of waste comes from takeout containers, cutlery, straws, and other items needed to give customers their food to go. While you can’t eliminate this waste, you can make takeout more eco-friendly by switching from single-use plastic to compostable or more sustainable options.
It might take some research and experimentation to find an option that works well and fits within your budget, but it’s worth the effort and will make a big difference in your business’s carbon footprint. Be transparent with your customers about why you’re making the switch —most will be glad that you’re trying to reduce your carbon footprint and taking corporate responsibility seriously.
Even if you don’t own a restaurant, you might be using these disposable items in the employee area. Switching to reusable plates, cups, and cutlery can cut down on your office’s waste and could even help you work toward a zero-waste business.
Use Clean Energy & Reduce Consumption
Small businesses can reduce their carbon footprints significantly by using clean energy instead of fossil fuels. Right now, the easiest and most accessible option for clean energy is solar energy, requiring the installation of solar panels. While this is a large up-front cost, there can be government incentives available. Over time, the panels should pay for themselves.
Many small business owners can’t install solar panels since they don’t own the building they use for daily operations. However, it is sometimes possible to specify that you want to buy clean energy from your power supplier, which does typically require an additional fee.
Another important way to reduce energy impact is to reduce overall consumption. Switch lighting and appliances to energy-efficient models and install smart thermostats to help regulate indoor temperature more efficiently throughout the seasons. If you can, weatherize your location to help retain warm air in the winter and cool air in the summer.
Go Remote (Or at Least Hybrid)
Since 2020, more businesses are staying fully remote or have switched to a hybrid model for their employees. Not only is this popular among workers, it’s also good for the environment. With fewer people commuting by car, pollution is reduced. Even if you only have a few employees who commute, going remote or hybrid if you can have a positive impact on your business’s carbon footprint.
Get Everyone on Board
Your employees will play an important role in helping you reduce the carbon footprint of your small business. It’s important to get everyone on board with conserving resources, reducing waste, and limiting energy consumption. Even something as simple as remembering to turn off lights when they’re not being used can help. Some initiatives also help make the workplace safer for everyone.
It’s not always easy to get everyone on the same page, especially when the benefits aren’t immediately clear. If you’re having trouble getting people to comply with your sustainability initiatives, you might consider an incentive program to help everyone stay mindful and invested.
Do What You Can — and Stay Up-To-Date
Every business is different in terms of carbon footprint size, and the most important areas to improve will also vary, based on the nature of the business. A small legal office will naturally produce less waste than a restaurant, for instance, but there should still be opportunities to reduce carbon output.
The most important thing is to just do what you can. If you’re struggling to find opportunities for improvement, have someone come in from the outside and evaluate your business. Where can you make the most meaningful changes? In some cases, it might be necessary to add small surcharges to pay for these changes, but most customers will understand.
Once you’ve implemented strategies for reducing your small business’s carbon footprint, don’t just forget about the issue. Stay up-to-date on innovations so you can continue to make your business more sustainable as time goes on. We only have one planet, and we all have to protect it!
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