The World Health Organization has warned that between 2030 and 2050, climate change could be responsible for hundreds of thousands of deaths due to malnutrition and other diseases. Furthermore, the worsening environmental problem could severely affect different industries around the world, with its costs estimated to be in the billions of dollars for every year thereafter.
An issue of this scale has sparked conversations about involving everyone and making them understand their stake in this race against time. Small businesses affect commerce on a global scale, with SMEs accounting for almost 90% of businesses worldwide, according to the World Bank.
If you’re a small business owner looking to do your share for the environment, here are X ways a small business can reduce carbon emissions:
1. Start recycling
One of the main drivers of climate change is our continuous dumping of plastics that ultimately end in landfills or worse, the oceans. One proven way of reducing your plastic wastes is through recycling. For small businesses, this may come in the use of recycled or second-hand office products or even use recycled packing paper.
Recycling plastics or using eco-friendlier alternatives reduce carbon emissions by cutting down on the energy needed to produce new materials, including those used for the extraction or mining of the raw materials turned into your would-be single-use waste material.
2. Implement an emission management plan in your business
An emission management plan is a holistic strategy for managing and ultimately reducing greenhouse gas emissions in an organization. While this sounds like a large-scale project intended only for large businesses, you would also benefit from having it on in your small business.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has its guidelines to help small businesses manage their greenhouse gas emissions. It recommends the use of emission calculators to determine how much your business generates. The reduced greenhouse emission from your company is the main importance of emission management to value chain sustainability, which helps you transition to commercially and environmentally viable business operations. Furthermore, there are certain economic incentives available for entities practicing
3. Save energy
For those wondering, saving on your own energy consumption reduces the demand for electricity generated by powerplant, most of which rely on burning fossil fuels that contribute a lot of carbon emissions. Back to your small business, energy-saving measures include turning off and unplugging appliances after business hours or even turning off your lights during the day. If you’re planning to upgrade certain pieces of equipment like refrigerators or air conditioners, switch to more energy-efficient options that consume less power. Not only do these measures help you save on your next electric bill, but you also start helping the environment recover.
4. Reduce food waste
Contrary to common misconception, food waste generation is not only limited to restaurants and grocery stores. It occurs at every stage of the food system, from households to business establishments. Most commercially available food is imported from large farms, often located in other countries. Meanwhile, leftovers have to be transported to landfills. Both of these processes alone consume energy for transport and processing, adding to the overall carbon footprint of these products.
Reducing food waste from a business level includes shifting to locally-sourced products, and if you’re in a food processing industry like restaurants, practice FIFO (first in, first out) to minimize your expired ingredients you’ll have to throw away. Lastly, since most food waste materials are naturally biodegradable, consider composting them. If it’s not possible on your property, FindAComposter.com is an online portal that helps you find compost infrastructure and access near you.
5. Consider purchasing carbon offsets
Carbon offset refers to the compensation for emissions you’ve made. Basically, you donate or pay a specific amount proportionate to your carbon emissions. Funds are used to fund projects and initiatives that help combat climate change. A great platform for carbon offsetting is TerraPass, which includes a calculator that tells you how much carbon dioxide you emit in your daily activities. It then lets you choose products and plans intended to offset your environmental footprint. Better yet, there are carbon offset purchases that can be considered tax-deductible business expenses.
6. Try Green Marketing
Aside from your sincere intent to help the environment, you can also use all of the tips mentioned above as a part of your green marketing campaign. There’s nothing wrong with letting your community know about your efforts to actively help the environment. Not only will it invite like-minded individuals, but it will also give them a more eco-friendly alternative, not to mention the odds of you inspiring them to do the same.
However, it is important to practice these carbon emission strategies as a part of your company culture and not just as a PR stunt. This in itself is a part of sustainable branding techniques you can use to associate your company with a healthy, environmentally-friendly brand recall. You can also start studying sustainable manufacturing processes or shifting to renewable raw materials as applicable to your business.