Practical ways to reduce carbon emissions in your business

By Pelican MD Michael Bennett

2 minute read

Key takeaways:

  • Despite the COVID-19 crisis, climate change remains the biggest threat to the planet, society and businesses.
  • Productivity losses associated with climate-change-related workplace disruption in the United States could rise to above $2 trillion by 2030.
  • Demonstrating you are doing your bit for the environment matters to your customers; 74% want businesses to do more to improve air quality as we emerge from lockdown. 

The British Retail Consortium (BRC) recently released a declaration signed by 20 retailers committed to reducing carbon emissions in their businesses, and throughout their supply chains, before the 2050 Net Zero deadline.

Retail is the largest private sector employer in the UK. If a collective effort to reduce carbon emissions were made, the overall impact on the environment would be huge.

But in order to achieve the Net Zero target, businesses in all sectors will need to contribute.

Most likely you already have a number of green initiatives in place, but there is always more you can do.

Why?

It’s been somewhat lost in the coronavirus fog, but climate change remains the biggest threat to our planet, society and your business.

As the BRC climate statement notes, ‘we are already seeing the impact of weather extremes’ on supply chains. This can be in obvious ways — flash floods or fires — but also through secondary repercussions such as migrating workforces.

According to 2016 research from the United Nations Development Programme, productivity losses associated with climate-change-related workplace disruption in the United States could rise to above $2 trillion by 2030.

It’s clear climate change could affect your bottom line, but your inaction could also cost you customers. Consumers have become steadily more aware of the steps brands are taking, or failing to take, to tackle climate change. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began they are more concerned than ever.

A survey by The Business Clean Air Taskforce (BCAT) found 72% of the public believe clean air is more important now because coronavirus can affect people’s lungs, and 74% want businesses to do more to improve air quality as we emerge from lockdown.

How?

There are plenty of ways businesses in all industries can reduce their carbon emissions. These range from small changes to more substantial investments and include:

  • Replacing lighting with LEDs and motion sensors.
  • Installing solar panels.
  • Making the switch to electric vehicles and fitting charging points.
  • Prioritising energy efficiency when replacing equipment.
  • Looking into recycling and refurbishment initiatives for old equipment.
  • Lowering the temperature indoors and maximising insulation.
  • Encouraging colleagues to walk, cycle or use public transport, or introducing a car share scheme.
  • Replacing taps and shower heads with water-efficient versions.
  • Adding carbon labelling to food products.

Large organisations should also think about ways they can lead from the front and use their profile to influence the way their customers think about climate change.

In demonstrating you are doing your bit to minimise your carbon footprint, you are helping to secure more than just the future of your business.

Do you need help promoting your decarbonisation initiatives, or need support developing ‘green’ messages? Perhaps you need to step up your internal communications to embed energy reduction behaviours among your workforce? If so, get in touch with the experts at Pelican today.

Pelican Communications is a specialist in the environment & CSR, food, packaging & logistics and trade association sectors and offers a range of services such as strategy, design, content creation, public relations and people development. Contact us for marketing and communications expertise.

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