As leading environmental consultants in Melbourne, we know all about your responsibilities to the environment as a business owner and methods to reduce the environmental impact of your workplace. With the ongoing impacts of climate change, businesses are looking for ways to make the workplace more environmentally friendly. Whilst this differs between industries, here are four general things to consider to help you reduce your workplace’s carbon footprint.
1. Changes to the office environment
To make a substantial change to your workplace’s greenhouse emissions, a great starting step is to look at immediate improvements that can be made to your office space. Review your current electricity usage and start making moves to reduce it, thereby reducing the greenhouse gases emitted by burning coal, oil and gas.
This could be practised by eliminating unnecessary electricity usage by making it a company policy to turn off all computers at the end of the day or by slowly replacing technology such as computers, lightbulbs and the office refrigerator with more energy-efficient options. You could also ensure that all paper within your office is made from recycled paper or ensure your company’s default super fund is investing in renewable energies.
If you’re committed to a long-term office transformation to reduce carbon emissions and you have a more sizeable budget, consider renovating your building by installing additional windows and upgrading the insulation. Introducing more natural light will require less energy usage for lighting, whilst better insulation could save money and electricity on heating and cooling. You can even investigate installing solar panels on your roof and enjoy the benefits of renewable energy.
2. Waste reduction and reduce, reuse, recycle
It’s important to make sure your workplace has appropriate bins available to promote the separation of recycling and green waste. This ensures that fewer items are produced from new resources (causing more carbon emissions in the process) and that less recyclable items end up unnecessarily transported to landfills. It’s also possible to introduce composting to the workplace, further improving your workplace’s sustainability.
Recycling and waste reduction can also be implemented for larger scale items like office furniture and technology. Donate these used office items to your workers or non-profit organisations. For computers or other electronics, research secure methods of recycling so that the metal and reusable materials of the e-waste can be used again.
3. Look at your company’s fuel usage and transport emissions
With so many environmental issues in the workplace, it can be easy to forget about the carbon emissions from the transport of goods and services and the commutes of workers. According to the Climate Council, in 2017 transport was considered Australia’s third-largest source of greenhouse gas emissions with cars responsible for roughly half of all carbon emissions. To immediately reduce your company’s carbon footprint, reduce the amount of travel needed to and from the workplace.
This could be as small a shift as making larger stationery orders once a month instead of once a fortnight or by having employees work from home once a week instead of commuting to the office. If you’d like to take this a step further, consider sourcing your supplies from more local businesses. Buying locally sourced products reduces the amount of time that products spend in transit and the carbon emissions associated with international travel.
If your company needs a fleet of business vehicles or multiple trucks, consider researching more fuel-efficient models and cars that produce less carbon. This will be a more economical choice long-term, particularly when combined with strategically coordinating pick up or drop off points for fuel-efficiency.
You could also reduce your employees’ carbon emissions by encouraging carpooling or public transport. By participating in Ride2Work Day and promoting commuting by bike you can reduce the carbon output of your workplace. This can have a dramatic result as travelling one kilometre by bike instead of by car saves more than 240 grams of carbon. Cycling is a sustainable form of travel that fosters a healthy workplace and helps the environment.
4. Workplace initiatives to reduce or offset your carbon footprint
We’ve outlined many immediate practices you can implement above, but ongoing change requires continual effort and enforcement. One method of reducing your carbon emissions with the added benefit of encouraging environmental awareness in the workplace is to implement initiatives and environmental challenges.
This could be a yearly corporate outing to plant trees to slightly offset your workplace’s emissions, creating a workplace vegetable garden with a rotating roster, raising funds for an environmental charity through workplace competitions, or a weekly initiative encouraging workers to consume less meat to lower their carbon footprint.
There are many ways for your business to make a difference with climate change and any process you introduce in the workplace will have the added benefit of causing workers to consider their own efforts to reduce their environmental impact, allowing further positive and widespread change.
Are you in need of an environmental consultant?
Alpha Environmental offers professional advice and environmental consulting for Melbourne businesses. Our expert team delivers cost and time effective solutions with an upfront and personal approach.
To learn more about our services, get in touch with our environmental consultants today by calling 1300 039 181 or by filling out our online contact form.