How to Reduce Carbon Footprint in the Office

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We’ve collated all of our articles and guidance on reducing your office’s carbon footprint below. Each article and action will take you one step closer to net zero, so get stuck in!

Table of Contents

For small businesses, one of the easiest ways to start is to focus on the carbon footprint in your activities. Your carbon footprint is, in general terms, the total amount of greenhouse gases (GG) measured in tons of CO2 emissions. 

It is necessary that every player in society tries to reduce their carbon footprint if we want to slow down global warming and climate change. According to a 2020 emissions report, our world is expecting a global temperature rise of at least 3°C in this century, a situation that will put us at risk the way we live today.

Why reduce the carbon footprint in my small business?

In 2019, the UK parliament passed a law which is expected to reduce by 100% the country’s emissions by 2050, all of this based on the country’s 1990 emissions. It is likely that the further regulations of this law will require all sectors and scales of business to contribute to this purpose. For this reason it is very important that you start thinking about reducing your carbon footprint. 

Also, reducing your carbon footprint will allow you to have less of an environmental impact. As a service provider and/or a small-scale factory, you are responsible for how you present and align your values to consumers. Doing this will increase your appeal and will result in further sales or even just to get a positive opinion from your local community members.

This benefit has been proven by recent market research that shows that at least 43% of global consumers expect businesses to be accountable for environmental impacts. Additionally, managing to minimize your carbon    footprint will allow you to save money, reinforce your environment care values and most importantly, capitalize on the positive impact that this will have on your consumer perception.

How do I reduce the carbon footprint in my small business?

In 2019, the UK parliament passed a law which is expected to reduce by 100% the country’s emissions by 2050, all of this based on the country’s 1990 emissions. It is likely that the further regulations of this law will require all sectors and scales of business to contribute to this purpose. For this reason it is very important that you start thinking about reducing your carbon footprint. 

Also, reducing your carbon footprint will allow you to have less of an environmental impact. As a service provider and/or a small-scale factory, you are responsible for how you present and align your values to consumers. Doing this will increase your appeal and will result in further sales or even just to get a positive opinion from your local community members.

This benefit has been proven by recent market research that shows that at least 43% of global consumers expect businesses to be accountable for environmental impacts. Additionally, managing to minimize your carbon    footprint will allow you to save money, reinforce your environment care values and most importantly, capitalize on the positive impact that this will have on your consumer perception.

Promote and reward the use of sustainable transport

Part of the carbon footprint in your office is related to the emissions generated by your staff. Think about how many people drive to your office using their own car and whether it is powered by petrol. Reports in the UK have shown that on average, petrol-powered cars emit at least 192g CO2e per kilometer, or 307g CO2e per mile. We also know that other, more sustainable, ways of transportation have a lower carbon footprint. 

Based on this information, and if we know what is the distance someone took to get to the office and which vehicle they used, we could know exactly  their carbon footprint associated with commuting to the office. Here we provide alternative transport options that will definitely decrease your carbon footprint in the office:

Walking and cycling

The first priority would be to see which of your employees have the ability to walk or bike to work. This option is the most important because it has added value to the  the reduction of transport emissions such as improved health and mood. Walking or biking have a lot of potential to reduce your carbon footprint because at least 41% of  short car trips could be made in this way. A recent research has suggested that the carbon footprint of walking or cycling could be as low as 80 g CO2/mile and 96 g CO2/mile only considering the food intake associated with the lost calories.  

Based on this, if we assume that one of your employees is using their car to go to work and then he decided to walk or bike, doing simple math we could finally calculate weekly, monthly and yearly reductions.

For example using 23 miles a day as the average UK commuting distance:

Public transportation

For staff that have to take a longer trip to work, you can use the same approach but with public transport. We will only consider buses and trains. When using buses, travelers have a carbon footprint of 168 CO2e per mile. This footprint is 45% smaller than that generated by the use of the petrol-powered car.

On the other hand, National and Eurostar rails emit 65.55 and 9.6 g CO2e respectively, which is 78% and 97% less than conventional cars. This information, in the same way as in the previous case, allows us to see how the promotion of the use of these transports can diminish our footprint.

Using Electric Vehicles (EVs)

EVs have an average carbon footprint of 84.8g of CO2e / mile, 72% less than conventional cars. 

Today this option is quite crucial, as many people refuse to use public transportation for fear of transmitting diseases such as COVID-19. Promoting and rewarding the use of these vehicles might be hard depending on the possibilities to facilitate eithir acquisition or charging of EVs. The good thing is that now the UK government is presenting tax exemption for EVs purchase and further providing a “Workplace Charging Scheme” to ease the change from petrol to electricity powered cars.

Reduce the consumption of energy

After reduction by transportation, the immediate and most direct way to reduce the carbon footprint in your office is by reducing your energy consumption. The average emissions in the European Union from public electricity vary from 200 to 280 g CO2e per kilowatt hour (kwh). 

Using this information, you can estimate the impact on your footprint by  observing how much does your energy consumption decreases after you make one or all of the following changes:

Use Alternatives to Bubble Wrap

Although bubble wrap could be recycled to some extent, plastic recycling is not currently working and still contributes to a companies carbon footprint.

Only around 9% of all plastic is recycled, which means even the “eco” versions of bubble wrap aren’t suitable.

Instead, it’s better to reduce your bubble wrap and replace it with an alternative.

From paper to seaweed, we look at the 6 best packaging alternatives out there – and where you can buy them.

Further Reading