8 Ways to Reduce Your Carbon Footprint

If we don't start reducing carbon emissions, the Earth could warm by six degrees over the coming century. It means the end of life as we know it.

It’s becoming more and more important to represent your brand as one that does its part to help the environment. This article reviews six strategies to make your brand eco-friendly.

Perform a Carbon Audit on Your Company

If you're serious about reducing your company's carbon footprint, start by conducting a carbon audit. Not only will a carbon audit tell you how big your carbon footprint is, but it will also show you which parts of your business are the most significant contributors.

This will help you identify the low-hanging fruit in your carbon reduction plan. For example, if your audit indicates that you have a much higher average output from transportation, you can start by focusing on making your transportation policies more sustainable.

But no matter what your audit says, your goal should be to minimize your footprint in each of the areas below.

Reducing Carbon Emissions by Increasing Energy Efficiency

For most companies, energy use is the largest source of carbon emissions. And this is especially true if the company receives its electricity from coal. Luckily, there are a lot of easy measures you can take to make your energy consumption more efficient.

If you live in an area with cold winters, heating efficiency should be one of your biggest concerns.

Make sure your building doesn't have any cracks or openings, be sure to insulate around door and window frames, and add extra insulation to your walls. Ask a specialist to come and inspect your heating system to make sure it's clean and operating at peak efficiency.

Whether the weather is cold or hot, take advantage of ceiling fans. In hot climates, always try to cool your office with fans before you turn to air conditioning. In cold climates, reverse the direction of your ceiling fans, so they recirculate the warm air near the ceiling back throughout your building.

It’s also crucial to reassess your lighting choices.

Switch out any incandescent or fluorescent bulbs for energy-efficient LED bulbs. Be sure your team knows to turn off lights when the office is vacant; it may be beneficial to install motion sensors, so lights turn on and off automatically when team members enter or leave the room.

Finally, consider the equipment you use in your office.

If you haven't bought new appliances in a while, consider upgrading to more energy efficient models (but remember to take the appliance's life-cycle into account, more on that below). For example, you can save a lot of energy by merely making sure to shut desktops are shut down after the workday is over.

When not using appliances like phone or laptop chargers, be sure to unplug them from your wall or power strip. These objects continue to use electricity even when they’re not in use.

Reducing Carbon Emissions Through Transportation

If you want to reduce your transportation emissions, start with air travel. One round-trip flight from New York to California results in per-person carbon output of two to three tons. So, next time you need to take a business trip, ask yourself if you can effectively do what you need to do via internet and telephone.

But air travel is just the beginning; at most companies, carbon output from car travel is even worse. To start, try setting up a carpool program for employees, or offer incentives if employees can ride their bicycle or take public transportation to work.

If you’re looking to invest in company cars, shop around for a hybrid or electric model, and if you’re looking to book corporate transportation for a conference or trade show, investigate eco-friendly options rather than buses or car rentals.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

This adage will take you far. First, use less: less paper, less water, less material.

Then, reuse the things you do use. Encourage your employees to use their office supplies for as long as possible, and find new uses for the supplies that no longer serve their original purpose. Digitize as many files as possible to save as much paper

As a last resort, recycle. And not just paper, recycle computers and office supplies as well. You'll have to find a business that can help you with this type of recycling, but the carbon savings are worth it.

Consider the Eco-Friendliness of the products you provide

Especially if you’re trying to project an eco-friendly image of your brand to your current and target audience members, consider how your products are made, packaged and advertised. For example, package your products in recycled materials instead of plastics. At your next trade show appearance, show your commitment to eco-friendly methods of transportation by providing attendees free rides in green vehicles.

Consider the Life-Cycle of your product

Provide instructions regarding how to properly dispose of your product and/or any discarded packaging once your customers are finished using it. This could mean recycling packaging or taking electronic products to a center that can properly dispose of them.

Start Making Changes

Now that you have some ideas for reducing your company’s carbon footprint and improving how your brand is seen by consumers,

Treat your carbon overhaul like any other work project, and look for tax incentives to make it worth your while. Good luck!