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17.11.2022

Go carbon neutral with your business

How your small business can support biodiversity and offset your carbon footprint

🛍 Consuming less and preferably locally

The saying ‘reduce, reuse, recycle’ at its heart aims to reduce the amount we all consume, as businesses and as individuals. Many of us buy things we don’t actually need, and sometimes don’t even really want.

This is the simplest way to reduce your carbon emissions – don’t buy as much stuff! Every product we purchase has a carbon footprint from its manufacture as well as transport and storage. So just by buying less = carbon emissions are reduced. This will make you consider purchases carefully, as well as saving you money.

Consider purchasing second-hand items for the workplace wherever possible – the quality is usually not impacted and the price is most likely cheaper – another way of saving money. From office furniture like desks and shelving to tech like computers and printers, you can get some great refurbished items.

When you do buy things, choose local suppliers. As well as supporting a local business rather than large retailers, shopping locally as often as possible reduces your carbon footprint, as items don’t need to travel from a centralised warehouse or even from overseas. 

🙋‍♂️ Encouraging environmental volunteering for employees

Many businesses do some kind of volunteer work for charities and non-profits – environmental volunteering is a great way to support biodiversity and actively reduce carbon emissions. This might involve planting trees, community gardening, species surveying and more. A quick Google search reveals great local opportunities for environmental volunteering with local councils and other organisations including The Wildlife Trust.

♻️ Supplying reusable office resources that minimise waste

You can reduce waste and promote more sustainable practices in lots of small ways in the office – and these will all add up over time. Eliminating paper or plastic cups and providing ceramic mugs and glassware for your team to use at work is an easy way of reducing the carbon footprint of your workplace, and saves money too as you don’t have to keep replacing disposable items. 

Many offices are paperless, but many still rely on notebooks, printouts, post-its, and other paper supplies. Try reducing their use as much as is practical, and where paperwork is unavoidable, choose recycled paper suppliers and recycle used paper as much as possible. If there are security or GDPR issues, use a paper shredder before recycling. 

🚴‍♀️ Promoting lift share and bike to work schemes for employees

Commuting is a huge contributor to carbon emissions. Many employers continue to allow their team to work from home, which obviously reduces the environmental impact of commuting to zero, but working from home is not always practical. For employees who need to be at the workplace, enable them to travel to work in a more eco-conscious way. This will save your team money in fuel costs too. 

The Bike2Work scheme is a government funded employee benefit which provides money towards the cost of bikes for your team. As well as reducing carbon footprint, biking to work will also improve employees overall health and wellbeing, reducing time off due to illness.

🥦 Providing plant-rich food options in the office

A more plant-based diet is better for the environment and can provide health benefits too. Many people would like to include more fruits and vegetables into their diet, but one of the main roadblocks is time, especially at work. If the only food option at work is a vending machine full of processed snack foods, consider providing alternatives. Many offices enjoy a fruit delivery from local and sustainable suppliers, which is a great work perk that also provides a health boost to your team. If there is a canteen or cafe on site, ensure that their menu includes plant-based options. 

🏣 Retrofitting your office space to use less energy

A lot of appliances in the office use a crazy amount of power! Especially if that equipment is old and has a poor energy rating. Using older equipment is usually more eco-friendly, but it’s better to recycle some inefficient appliances and replace them. Eco-friendly printers use vegetable based inks and use less electricity when operating. Instead of having a clunky, large coffee machine that needs filling, servicing etc. and is plugged in and idling all the time, try using a drip pot or French press and enjoy fresher coffee, with a reduced carbon footprint. 

Consider limiting use of air conditioning and heating to days when it is really needed, rather than having it on by default. Install energy efficient LED lighting, use lighting on timers in areas that don’t need to be lit all day, and take advantage of natural daylight where you can.

🍃 Offering sustainability training to employees

Tired of emptying old coffee out of the recycle bin? Offer sustainability training to employees. These courses offer information on subjects like waste management, procurement and supply chain management, resource use reduction, and overall efficiency and conservation. This can help by ensuring everyone is on the same page about the company’s goals, allow for the exchange of ideas, and increase knowledge on sustainability – much like any other training course. You can then decide on how you can best support biodiversity and reduce your carbon footprint together, as a team.

🖇 Providing pro-bono or discounted rates for environmental organisations

This is a great way of supporting biodiversity and the environment as a whole. There are plenty of companies and organisations out there that are probably looking for the exact services you provide. If you are not in a position to offer goods and services for free, a discount is still beneficial.

🌳 Funding biodiversity conservation and protection projects

There are plenty of organisations out there who are dedicated to protecting the environment, supporting biodiversity and conservation. You can sponsor local projects, which helps to promote your business too. Showing your customers that you contribute to environmental causes is also invaluable PR. Consider supporting a conservation project to mitigate some of your impact on the environment, as well as supporting their good work. If you donate to a charity, this also allows you to pay less corporation tax.

⚡Use a green energy supplier

Green energy suppliers such as Ecotricity and Green Energy UK obtains their power from wind farms (like those near us, in Mablethorpe), solar panels, biomass, hydropower, and other non-fossil fuel based sources. When looking for a green energy provider, always check that they have a current Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin certificate (REGO) and Renewable Gas Guarantee of Origin (RGGO). This means they are certified by energy regulator Ofgem as suppliers of genuinely green energy obtained from renewable sources.

Soon, Tokamak Energy will be providing energy generated by nuclear fusion on a commercial scale – this is safer than the more commonly known nuclear fission process as the reaction cannot become unstable, as in ‘nuclear meltdown’. If it stops working correctly the reaction simply stops. Fusion does not produce radioactive waste that needs to be stored away for literally thousands of years, like fission does.

🌺 Offset your carbon footprint with My Square Metre

You can use our carbon calculator (link) to find out how many carbon emissions are generated by your business, and then offset them through us. We don’t just plant trees and call it a day – we plant native wildflowers on land which is protected for a minimum of ten years. This not only offsets 3 kg of carbon per square metre, but also provides food and a habitat for bees and other pollinators which we rely on for our food production. We only use brown sites and other former industrial sites for our wildflowers – we don’t buy up existing meadowland, or take land away from farmers. After the ten years is up, the land is fully rewilded – it can then be used for sustainable farming or other eco-friendly uses. Try our carbon calculator now or get in touch to find out how we can help turn your business green.

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