Sustainability Practices for Businesses: Reducing Carbon Emissions and Saving Money
As climate change becomes a growing concern, businesses must take steps to reduce their carbon footprint. While private citizens can make choices that have an impact, it is ultimately businesses that impact a larger number of people due to their resource usage. Even though the primary goal of any business is to turn a profit and keep the lights on, there are several sustainable practices that businesses can adopt that can help them reduce their carbon emissions without busting their budget. Below, we discuss some of these practices.
1. Consider a Remote Work Environment
Working from home can reduce a business’s carbon footprint in several ways. For one thing, it puts fewer cars on the road, reducing daily commute times. As a result, a switch to a remote work environment would significantly reduce travel hours hence significantly lower carbon emissions. In addition, downsizing the lease can be beneficial and businesses can operate on a smaller space than when they were a strictly brick-and-mortar business. This reduction in overhead also means shrinking utility usage, which is good for companies that are trying to be more sustainable. As a bonus for businesses, adopting remote work practices will also help them save a considerable amount of money.
2. Use Sustainable Appliances
Eco-friendly major appliances, particularly HVAC systems, can help reduce the amount of energy a business uses — even during normal operations. Investing in appliances that are environmentally friendly will allow businesses to have the same experience from the user end but for a reduced financial and ecological cost. Although eco-friendly appliances may be on the pricier side, most modern units have some sustainability features built-in, even if they’re not high-efficiency units. Businesses may also be able to get rebates through government programs that exist to incentivise sustainable solutions. Even though the short-term cost might be unpleasant, these machines usually save the user money in the long run.
3. Double Down with IoT
Investing in IoT sensors can be an affordable way to make appliances more efficient. IoT-powered appliances, often referred to as “smart home,” technology reduce energy costs by only being activated when in use, which can help regulate energy usage. These IoT sensors can also be integrated into older appliances making them more efficient to operate. Not only is it good for heating and cooling, but it also helps regulate energy usage in lighting, security, and other devices that could stand to benefit from energy regulation. Unlike full-blown appliances, IoT-powered products often only cost a few hundred dollars and typically pay for themselves in energy savings over the first year or so.
4. Explore External Options
Carbon reduction can be done in-house, but there are also ways businesses can offset their carbon emissions with a transaction. Carbon offsets and sequestration programs allow businesses to pay another business to help reduce their carbon footprint. Offsets usually work by paying for reforestation, or other processes that help sponge carbon in the atmosphere. Sequestration works by essentially storing carbon in places like rock formations where it can no longer harm the environment. Helping support programs like this can take business sustainability efforts well beyond their usual reach.
5. Look for Sustainable Energy Sources
Alternative energy sources aren’t accessible to everyone, but programs exist that could help businesses transition to renewable energy. Although installing solar panels for a modest-sized building can easily cost in the mid-five figures, businesses can explore alternative ways to access renewable energy. There are grants, stipends, rebates, tax credits, etc., that make seeking alternative energy sources more profitable for businesses in the long term. As businesses seek to maximize their carbon reduction efforts, renewable energy sources can save them a lot of money in the long run and are necessary.
Reducing carbon emissions is not only a moral obligation, but it can also help businesses cut down on their energy expenses and improve their standing in the global market. When a business can prove that it genuinely cares about the environment, people are more likely to conduct business with them. This shift requires commitment and sacrifices in the short term, but it yields long-term benefits. By adopting even one of the sustainable practices discussed in this article, businesses will be part of the solution in reducing carbon emissions, thus creating a safer and better future for everyone.