Earlier this month, we saw that global enterprises have started to go carbon neutral as a strategy to address and meet consumer demands. But it’s not just companies like Google, Starbucks, and Siemens doing this. At Shift Workspaces, we did it, and so can you.
It takes time, but there are various ways to achieve the process of going carbon neutral without it negatively impacting your balance sheet. In fact, companies have realized that being environmentally conscious, when done correctly and authentically, can actually improve profits and attract new customers or consumers.
Even if your company has a small budget, there are small steps you can take to eventually become a carbon neutral company.
1. Reduce consumption wherever you can
Reducing consumption will reduce the amount of waste you generate and the amount of resources you use. You can install smart lighting to save energy, you can reduce plastic use, you can install low-flow toilets, etc.
2. Start recycling
Make recycling part of your corporate culture. Have clearly labeled bins and share a recycling guide with all collaborators. Invite them to start recycling in their homes.
3. Monitor paper usage
Cloud technology has enabled many companies to go paperless. This doesn’t mean you can’t use any paper, but more like using only what’s needed. Be mindful of what you print out and the notices you share with collaborators. If you can share it digitally, avoid using paper; this goes for flyers, memos, and even payment. If printing is inevitable, print on both sides of the page.
4. Focus on employee and client education
For a company to go carbon neutral, it needs to take into consideration its entire carbon footprint. This means that you have to measure the footprint of each of your collaborators. An educational campaign on recycling, carbon footprint, and waste management will lead people in the right direction.
5. Keep recycling bins everywhere in your facility
This is mostly about making it easy for people to recycle. If it’s easy, it’ll come naturally for everyone; make sure bins are evenly spread out and that they are not clustered in one or two areas.
6. Encourage walking and biking to work
Install a bike storage outside of your offices, offer showers, and locker rooms. If possible, offer incentives or make it a company challenge.
If walking or biking isn’t possible for any reason, encourage people to carpool to work. Not only will this help the environment, it’ll also help reduce traffic.
8. Send newsletters and internal updates by email
This one goes well in hand with #3 on this list. This will help reduce paper usage, but it will also make the information instantly available to everyone, regardless of where they are. For smaller updates, think about using a collaboration platform.
9. Review and share documents online
Google docs have made it easier for people to collaborate and work together. Platforms like Trello, Slack, and Asana have made it easier as well to keep track of projects. This will significantly reduce your paper usage.
10. Properly recycle computer equipment, mobile phone, batteries, and ink cartridges
Tech gadgets and devices, as well as batteries and ink cartridges fall into their own recycling categories. Here are 7 ways to recycle tech devices.
11. Turn off lights when you’re not using them
Encourage employees to turn on the light only when needed and, more importantly, to turn it off once they are done. You could also install smart lighting systems that turn on and off automatically when they detect movement.
12. Install Low-Flow Toilets
Toilets with high and low-flushing options can go a long way in water management. Put up in all bathrooms a guide on how they work and how to use them appropriately.
13. Mess with the thermostat
Yes, you read that right. Increasing the temperature by 1 degree Celsius during the Summer can save 10% on your energy bill.
14. Let the light in
Literally! Open blinds and curtains and let natural light come in. Natural light improves productivity and well-being, and it reduces the need for artificial lighting.
15. Shut down all tech devices at the end of the day
Computers, monitors, printers, etc. People tend to leave computers and monitors on sleep; to reduce your footprint, make sure all devices are properly turned off by the end of the day.
16. Invest in new office appliances
New, modern appliances are energy efficient. Invest in those (including a new coffee maker).
17. Buy office products in bulk
Buying office, kitchen products, and office snacks in bulk will reduce shipping and packaging waste.
18. Invest in LED lights
There are various benefits to LED light bulbs, they have a longer lifespan, they produce less UV emissions, they operate on low voltage, and they are extremely energy efficient (they consume up to 90% less power than incandescent light bulbs.
19. Schedule regular maintenance for your HVAC units
Regular maintenance of HVAC units improves efficiency and function (helping people feel comfier), and it reduces operating costs.
20. Clear and clean your air vents
Make sure you clean your air vents regularly to make sure they are free of debris and obstruction. This will increase the flow of air from the outside and it will reduce energy costs.
21. Weather Stripping
Sealing and insulating workplace windows and doors can help you lower your energy bills by improving energy efficiency. It also helps maintain indoor air quality.
22. Conduct an energy audit
This will help you identify the areas in which you are consuming more than you should, which will help you to better tackle your energy consumption.
These small steps will build an environmentally friendly path for your company and get you prepared to become carbon neutral and, eventually, carbon negative.