5 Things Your Organisation Can Do to Reduce Carbon Emissions NOW
You think of yourself as a eco-friendly person, sure.
You might wake up in the morning, take a short shower and eat your locally sourced, organic breakfast. Then, you get in your fuel-efficient car (maybe even public transport, if you’re really good) and off to work it is.
You get to the office, there’s a stack of documents on your desk and even more paper in the waste basket. It’s boiling, someone forgot to turn the AC off last night and your computer has been left on as well. Just another day at the office, right?
Something doesn’t add up…
Sustainability isn’t limited to the home, and there’s a myriad of great ways to cut down your workplace’s carbon emissions.
And with the climate crisis in mind, reducing emissions is a great way to show that your organisation is conscious of sustainability issues and staying ahead of the curve.
Contrary to popular belief, starting to reduce your organisation’s emissions doesn’t have to be a costly endeavour. In fact, here are five things your organisation to do to reduce emissions right now, that won’t cost an arm and a leg…
1. Turn Off Everything (When It's Not Being Used)
Make sure to turn off all lights at the end of the day and keep lights off in unused, or infrequently used rooms. Heating doesn’t need to be on overnight but can be switched on first thing in the morning.
Rather than leaving computers in sleep mode, turn them off fully when you leave the office. Many computers will have auto-sleep mode settings, which you can use to make sure they’re not using excess power when you don’t need it.
Not only will turning devices/lights off when not in use reduce carbon emissions, it’ll cost you less. Keeping your electricity bill as low as possible is a great way to save both money and the planet.
2. Keep an Eye on the Printer
Reducing paper use is a great step to reduce emissions, with document sharing services popping up alongside the ol’ reliable email inbox.
Think twice before you go to print something, do you really need it?
While many workplaces are starting to go digital, paper seems inescapable in some circumstances.
If you do need to print something, printing double-sided is a great way to make the most of the resources you’re using, reducing your emissions. Purchasing recycled paper in the future as an alternative is also a neat way to reduce the impact of your printing.
As well as this, consider the end of life or disposal of those documents, 2.5 million tonnes of waste are sent to landfill in New Zealand each year. Are you able to save those papers from the tip? Be sure to set up a recycling system and inform employees across the organisation how to use it.
3. Assess Your Business Travel
A huge contributor to carbon emissions in New Zealand is transport, making up around 20 percent of our national greenhouse gas emissions. If possible, see where your organisation can cut back on travel emissions and look to video-conferences as an alternative.
Before you go trailing across the city, country or even the world, and racking up the associated emissions, assess whether a simple video call would suffice.
Driving to meetings and flying cross-country may have been the norm for years, but with COVID-19 lockdowns, New Zealand’s gotten pretty good at working remotely and, consequently, video conferencing.
4. Measure Your Carbon Footprint
If you’re wanting to become a more sustainable organisation, it’s good to know your starting point. That way, in the future, when you’ve had years of operations with sustainability in mind, it’s easier to prove (and measure) the worth of your actions.
A carbon footprint or greenhouse gas inventory outlines the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by the activities of, in this case, a particular organisation. It is a great indicator of your organisation’s impact and emissions.
Calculating your carbon footprint is easy but having a solid understanding of your organisation’s data is crucial. Energy use, travel, gas, and water are all factors that will be added together to calculate your footprint and it’s important to have reliable data on these.
Your footprint will change as your emissions do, so monitoring it over time is a great way to know how any changes made have impacted your emissions.
5. Develop a Carbon Management Strategy
A carbon management strategy lays out your organisation’s approach to reducing carbon emissions, as well as identifying objectives and targets.
While this requires a little more thought than the rest of the steps laid out in this article, it’s certainly the most important for long-lasting, effective change.
This is where knowing your carbon footprint comes in handy. Having a good understanding of the ins and outs of your organisation means you can pinpoint exactly where emissions are coming from, how much you need to reduce them and how you reduce them.
By assessing and understanding ‘problem’ areas, you can start planning to reduce those areas. As well as this, spotting easy-to-reduce areas (like non-essential business travel) can provide great platforms to get you started.
Once you’ve made some immediate changes, it is a good idea to work with a consultant to flesh out this strategy and adopt a sustainability reporting software to continue your progress.
CarbonEES: Towards Zero
e-Calc™ is an environmental management and sustainability reporting software that makes it easy to understand the impact of your projects.
e-Calc™ displays the impact and ongoing savings from your current programmes and can be reported in dollars, GHG emissions and kilowatt hours. This helps you demonstrate the financial and environmental value of emission reduction projects.