What can your business do to reduce your environmental and climate impact?
Businesses will benefit from reducing their environmental impact and being more sustainable by:
- making cost savings from using resources more efficiently, such as cutting energy, water use and waste.
- accessing new markets by developing sustainable products and services.
- protecting reputation and credibility.
- being prepared for future changes and policies.
- attracting staff and improving morale – having a strong ethos of sustainability is increasingly important to employees.
Where can your business start?
You can improve your company’s emissions with small and large actions:
Take action on energy
- Improve your company’s energy efficiency
- The Carbon Trust has a range of straightforward guides and tools to help, including sector and technology specific advice.
- Energy Solutions Oxfordshire (ESOx) is a complete energy efficiency service helping organisations lower their energy use while saving time and money. Their vision is to make it simple and cost-effective for every business and organisation in Oxfordshire to save energy in their building. Sign up for their mailing list and get your free energy checklist to see how you can make your business more energy efficient.
- Switch to cloud computing to significantly cut emissions from digital services
- Switch to a green energy supplier such as Green Energy UK who even provide 100% green gas.
- Consider installing renewable energy such as solar panels or heat pumps.
- The Low Carbon Hub is a not-for-profit community energy company that can help you save money on energy bills and cut carbon emissions by installing a community-owned solar PV array on your premises, at no cost. Learn more about their offer via their brochure and get in touch via their website to see if community energy can help your business.
Promote plant-based diets
- Encourage staff to cut their consumption of meat and dairy – have vegetarian/vegan team lunches, take part in Good Food Oxford’s annual ‘Switch Up Your Lunch’
- Only provide vegetarian/vegan options when catering. Use caterers such as Waste2Taste who create delicious, sustainable meals from surplus food.
Bank for good
- Use the services of a sustainable and ethical bank such as Triodos Bank.
- Provide ethical funds for company pensions as the default.
- Improve your company’s water efficiency – see Waterwise for tips for businesses.
Develop a sustainability strategy
This will help provide direction and a framework for achieving your sustainability goals.
- Conduct a survey on your carbon emissions and use this information to plan how to reduce your emissions.
- Take a look at Better Business’s tips, or see Corporate Citizenship’s guide.
- Check out Bioregional’s One Planet Living framework! Used by giants like Kingfisher, B&Q and Nandos, our framework helps businesses look at sustainability in an engaging, simple, and cost-effective way.
- Reduce the need to travel – locate your business so it is accessible for public transport, consider allowing staff to work from home or using video conferencing for meetings.
- Promote sustainable travel – offer a cycle to work scheme, including providing bike racks and showers; convert company cars to electric ones, consider taking the train to European destinations, and keep flying to an absolute minimum.
- Use Trainline’s business travel platform – a corporate rail travel platform that provides businesses with tools and information to encourage staff to use public transport. Not only does this help reduce carbon emissions, but it also eases congestion and fosters a sense of community among commuters.
- Move towards a ‘circular’ economy business model – explore opportunities for sharing, leasing, rental, remanufacturing, repair and take back.
- Aim for ‘zero waste to landfill’ – reduce the amount of waste going to landfill and follow the waste hierarchy.
- Move away from single use products – invest in glasses, mugs, crockery and cutlery in staff kitchens and catering. Minimise packaging and work with suppliers to reduce the packaging they deliver to you.
- Reduce paper – go paperless where possible, or consider using a sustainable printing service like Seacourt Ltd
Engage to create change
- With suppliers – work to identify and reduce the carbon emissions of your business. Consider implementing a green procurement strategy.
- With customers – tell them about your sustainability actions and get feedback on ways they would like your services to be more environmentally-friendly.
- With other companies – to share ideas, find new markets, products and solutions. Consider joining Oxfordshire Greentech to be part of a business network that will advise on reducing carbon emissions.
- With staff – ask for their ideas about what the company should do, run internal campaigns to reduce waste and increase recycling.
- With your local community – support local climate and wildlife groups by allowing staff time off to volunteer.
- One Planet Living mini toolkit for small and medium-sized organisations will help you create a One Planet Action Plan that embeds sustainability within your organisation.
- Consider becoming a B Corp, a business that balances purpose and profit. B Corps are legally required to consider the impact of their decisions on their workers, customers, suppliers’ community, and the environment.
- Work to achieve a recognised an international environmental standard such as ISO14001.