In 2019, the UK became the first major economy in the world to pass legislation requiring it to reduce CO2 emissions to become net zero by 2050.
Achieving this goal is a communal effort, and your company, just like others, can play a key part in offsetting the country’s carbon footprint.
From switching to LED lights to encouraging sustainable commuting, here are seven green initiatives you can take today to help the environment and instil an eco-consciousness in your employees.
Install a recycling bin
One of the simplest ways you can offset your carbon footprint as a business is by installing a recycling bin and encouraging your employees to use it. Yes, the good all recycling process can do wonders for the environment!
Make sure that there is a recycling bin in the office at an obvious place in a communal area and maximise your green points by adding a recycling box on everyone’s desk to encourage good habits around disposing waste.
Switch off electricity and power when not in use
It’s easy to slip into the habit of leaving the lights on when the last person goes out through the door. And how often do you think your employees remember to switch off their computers and other electronics in the office?
Make sure you encourage your staff to be mindful about their power and electricity use. You can set-up end-of-shift reminders to pop up on your employees’ screens or assign a person to energy-saving duty every week who ensures that all lights and equipment are turned off. This will turn saving the environment into a communal goal your company is working towards. Don’t forget to reward your staff for their efforts too.
Switch to LED lights
Fluorescent lights tend to consume a lot of energy. Their sustainable alternative, however, LED lights, are a must for today’s consumer.
LED light bulbs reduce your electricity consumption by up to 75%, especially the ENERGY STAR rated products. Also, they last up to 25 years longer than their incandescent ones while providing the same level of brightness.
Embrace green procurement
Green procurement stands for the purchase of products and services that have little to no negative environmental impact. Rather than a short-term impact from once-in-a-while sustainable decisions, green procurement is a long-term commitment that considers the environmental impact of a product or service throughout its lifecycle.
What you need to do as a business is to assess your supply chain to find out where your products and services come from and what they are made from. That way you can replace them with sustainable ones. For example, you can switch to green energy and buy recyclable products and equipment.
Introduce green challenges for your employers
If you want to make offsetting your business’ carbon footprint fun for your employees, then it’s time to introduce some challenges.
A bring your lunch in sustainable containers day, wear recycled clothes day, or BYO reusable cup day can be great examples to try out. You can even turn them into month-long challenges and give rewards to the person who has acquired the most points.
In the UK alone, 2.5 million disposable coffee cups are used and discarded annually but only one in 400 are recycled. Encouraging your employees to bring a reusable cup to work every day for a month will save many paper cups from ending up in the landfill. You can include other activities in the challenge too, such as reducing their screen brightness and using less paper. As a reward, grant the employee who has gained the most points from the challenge with a sustainable coffee delivery subscription, for example.
Promote sustainable transportation
Environment Protection UK reports that road transport contributes to 22% of total UK greenhouse emissions.
To offset that, encourage your employees to use green transport, such as bikes or electric bikes. Even car sharing can be a good way to make a positive impact.
In 1999, the UK government introduced the Cycle to Work scheme designed to reduce road congestion and pollution while promoting healthier journeys. More than 1 million people across the UK have benefited from the scheme.
As a business, the scheme is easily available to you and your employees. All you have to do is sign up for it and you will be able to lease a bike and the relevant accessories such as road bike helmet, cycling jersey and a reflective mirror. Signing up for the initiative is free and at the end of it, all costs are recovered.
There is a bonus: you can save up to 15.05% in National Insurance contributions for every employee who partakes in the scheme.
Cycling to work has a number of physical and mental benefits for your staff, resulting in happier and more productive workforce. It’s been proven that people who cycle to work tend to take fewer sick days, thus saving the company money.
Take advantage of government support
The UK government offers various forms of support for businesses who want to embark on the sustainability journey.
This includes loans and grants designed to help fund the purchase of energy-efficient equipment. Free business advice on sustainability is also available. The support you can get depends on the location, the nature of your business, and the project you’re planning on using it for. Visit the GOV.UK finance and support finder for more information.
The road to becoming net zero by 2050 is not a straightforward one. While it’s difficult to become fully sustainable as a business at once, there are certain initiatives your can take to offset your carbon footprint. Implementing such initiatives not only is doing good to the environment but also increase a company’s reputation and cost savings.
By setting an example, you can inspire your employees, consumers, and other companies to adopt sustainable practices, thus creating a ripple effect of positive change. Take the action to build a better future for all of us.