With the potentially devastating effects of global warming becoming more and more apparent, governments around the world are encouraging businesses to take steps to lower their carbon emissions. In fact, with carbon taxes being introduced, businesses will have even more incentive to reduce their carbon footprint, which is basically defined as the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions that organisation causes to be released into the atmosphere. In this article, we’ll take a look at four surefire ways to lower the carbon footprint of your business, from reducing the amount of travel to reducing the energy output of your company data centre.
1. Less vehicle and air travel
The emissions from cars and planes are some of the biggest contributors to your business’s carbon footprint, but for many organisations, the need to travel by plane or vehicle in order to meet with clients, customers and stakeholders is unavoidable.
However, it’s also true that many organisations are in the habit of travelling in situations where more carbon-efficient options are available. As a business owner, you should try to encourage conducting meetings over the phone or online where possible; in fact, with teleconferencing and online video call options becoming increasingly advanced, this is a more viable option than ever. Additionally, where travel is necessary, you should encourage employees to get as many meetings or errands done in the single trip.
2. Less power
Electricity is another huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions, so any steps that you can take to lower your company’s energy output is bound to have a positive effect on your business’s carbon footprint. Of course, there’s also the additional bonus that you’ll have to spend less when your electricity bill arrives!
Overall, it can be surprising just how much energy you can save by encouraging employees to take small energy-reducing steps every day. For example, ensure that all computers are powered down before employees leave the office. Lights should be switched off at night, and air conditioning should only be used during the hottest (or, in winter, coldest) parts of the day. Even switching off power points that aren’t being used can go a long way to energy reduction.
3. Less wastage
A third factor that contributes significantly to your carbon footprint involves the things that we throw away. Paper, printer cartridges and general rubbish all contribute to carbon emissions when they go to the garbage.
It’s important, then, to encourage good recycling practices in the office. Always use recycled paper and ink cartridges, and introduce a recycling system to your office that employees are required to follow. Encourage employees to use less paper in general, too; by storing documents electronically and reading emails on screen instead of printing them, this can be achieved. You may even want to consider a compost bin in the break room; every bit helps.
4. Data centre monitoring
This certainly falls into the category of using less power, but the data centre is such an energy-intensive part of any business that it gets its own category. For some businesses, the powering of the data centre can account for up to 50 per cent of the quarterly electricity bill. Data centre services alone make up about two per cent of the world’s electricity bill; a huge amount when you consider that the majority of that bill is taken up by residential or general infrastructure.
By introducing power monitoring to your data centre, you can discover where inefficiencies lie, and take steps such as improving air flow control in order to release your data centre’s overall output.