Use Less, Waste Less
Resources to help your business reduce Carbon Footprint
Global temperatures have risen by 1⁰C since pre-industrial levels, following the Paris Climate Agreement and COP26 in 2021, the target is to limit the increase to 1.5⁰C throughout the world. This should decrease the devastating impacts of extreme weather-related events, rising sea levels, droughts and the resulting migration of people, food poverty and loss of natural habitat.
What are your first steps?
1. SME’s – Sign up to the SME Business Climate Hub, this will register your commitment, give guidance and tools and a reporting structure for your action plan.
2. Larger businesses can commit by signing up to Race to Zero through one of these organisations: Business Ambition for 1.5 C – Our Only Future, Business Declares, The Climate Pledge, Exponential Roadmap Initiative and Planet Mark
3. You need to know what your carbon footprint is before you can devise a plan for achieving net zero.
– Get in touch with Low Carbon Dorset to see if your business is eligible. They will offer a 2 day on site visit to offer technical support and expert advice for a specific low-carbon project idea, or for more general advice on how to reduce carbon emissions.
– For smaller businesses, use a carbon calculator to work out how much carbon/greenhouse gases your business is emitting, this will give you a starting point to create your plan.
– Identify your direct emissions (emissions you directly produce) and your indirect emissions (energy supply, business travel and purchased goods). The Indirect emissions can make up to 79% of your business emissions.
3. Once you have a good understanding, create a reduction plan with targets, add this into your business plan and communicate to all staff to encourage inclusion and action. Create a reporting method to show all actions and the results.
Our Government has set a target of halving our carbon footprint by 2030 and reaching net zero by 2050.
This involves reducing the emissions of Greenhouse Gases that are directly or indirectly produced, including Carbon dioxide from burning Fossil Fuels, Methane for decomposition of Organic waste, Nitrous oxide from agriculture, Fluorinated gases from industrial and refrigerated sources and Nitrogen trifluoride from manufacturing sources.
Everyone is encouraged to use less and waste less and all businesses are encouraged to commit to this target by pledging their intention and creating an achievable plan.
Benefits to Businesses
1. Lenders have ‘green’ financial products rewarding businesses that can evidence how they are reducing their carbon footprint.
2. Gaining ISO accreditation 14001 and 50001 demonstrates a degree of social responsibility to stakeholders.
3. You will be able to reduce costs and increase profits by choosing less wasteful, recycled methods, products and increase efficiency and improve productivity.
4. Your reputation and improved green credentials will help attract new business as you advertise your ‘green’ and ethical strategy improving your brand value.
5. New business and supply chain opportunities can be created by offering low carbon products/services and working/sharing green methodologies.
6. Sharing your findings, asking questions with other businesses, promoting your wins to reduce your carbon foot print will help other businesses. Work together to create a more effective and cohesive approach.
First Things First
Here are some initial steps that you can start taking in your business today to reduce your emissions:
The production and use of natural resources for energy create the largest levels of greenhouse gases.
1. Compile an audit of all the electricity, gas and oil that you buy in to operate your business, this will be used for heating, lighting, cooling, general operations. Using your bills, detail your current consumption over a year.
2. Move to buying renewable electricity or switch to a green electricity tariff that is backed by REGO certificates (Renewable Energy Guarantee of Origin)
3. Changing to LED Lighting, use PIR sensors to ensure lights are only on when people are in that area.
4. Turning down your thermostat by 1⁰
5. Switching off unused machinery and devices when not in use, use energy efficient appliances, especially in kitchen areas.
6. Check for leaks on cooling compressors, repair the leaks or replace with energy efficient compressors. Use the heat generated to heat other spaces.
Links: Government approved list of approximately 14,000 energy efficient products Energy Technology List Home: Energy Technology List (beis.gov.uk)
Reducing heat loss from a building will create carbon saving benefits.
1. Assess where heat is being lost from the building. Draft proofing any gaps in doors and windows is a good starting point until these can be replaced with energy efficient triple glazing and sustainably produced materials.
2. Check levels of insulation in roof spaces.
3. Check if you are heating a building when no one is in there, programme your heating controls to operate more effectively.
4. Lagging of all hot water pipes and tanks helps to prevent unnecessary heat loss.
5. Regularly servicing boilers and heaters improves their efficiency.
6. When replacing your boiler or heater invest in an A rated model for maximum efficiency or invest in other heating methods such as Heat Pumps or Biomass.
7. Using an aerated shower head reduces energy consumption and water waste. They can be attached to existing fittings and are a low-cost win.
1. Do an audit of waste materials used in your business over a couple of weeks.
2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle ensure everybody is on board with this thinking.
3. Provide receptacles for the different types of recycling
4. Look at ways to reduce use of packaging materials, use recycled or green materials.
5. Some materials can be sold to be recycled out of your Council area, see links below for Government guidelines and using Waste Transfer note.
6. Assess your grey water, this could be diverted to be used as replacement toilet water.
7. Check your supply chain and encourage them to use eco packaging.
8. Work with your supply chain to encourage greener practices when dealing with your business, think packaging, paperwork and distribution.
WRAP – WRAP – Circular Economy & Resource Efficiency Experts
Government approved Waste Brokers – Waste carriers, brokers and dealers (data.gov.uk)
Waste Transfer note – Duty of care waste transfer note form – GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)
1. Compile an audit of all business travel.
2. Assess changing car fleet to electric vehicles and installing electric charging points.
3. Reduce flight travel, use online web/audio conferencing technology instead.
4. Give staff access to information about electric cars and encourage them to see the benefits when they decide to change their cars.
5. Sign up to a Cycle to Work scheme for staff, encourage walking to work.
6. Encourage staff to share lifts or use public transport for travelling to and from work.
1. Set printers to print on both sides of a page as default, set targets for reduction of printing.
2. Have Recycling bins clearly labelled for each type of recycling and encourage staff to recycle everything.
3. Replace disposable cups with reusable crockery and use compostable teabags and recyclable pods for coffee machines.
4. Ban single use plastic in the workplace and encourage staff to adopt this practice at home.
5. Switch to rechargeable batteries in devices and refillable ink cartridges in printers
6. Use planet friendly cleaning products in the workplace and washable cloths
7. Redirect grey water for secondary use.
When you have worked through every process and reduced your carbon footprint and shared your findings with other businesses, to finally reach Net Zero you may need to offset that last part of carbon, but this should absolutely be the last resort.
1. Buying and planting trees, using companies like Ecoligi.
2. Using seaweed or Kelp Farms to Sequester CO2, which grows and absorbs CO2 faster than reforestation. Contact Carbon Kapture for more information.
Dorset Business Focus Magazine
Read our January issue where we explored what steps some Dorset businesses are already taken to become more sustainable as well as highlight some of the help available.
Share the Topic