As an SME, you may feel that you have little impact on carbon emissions and climate change. But nothing could be further from the truth. You can now make a start with sustainability and we will help you do so! In this blog, we give you 6 clear tips on how you too, as an SME, can start with CO2 reduction and make a valuable contribution to the environment and your business.
According to the Paris Agreement, into effect in 2016, greenhouse gas emissions must be reduced by 40% by 2040. Businesses can make a major contribution here. CO2 reduction refers to reducing carbon dioxide emissions, one of the main greenhouse gases, into the atmosphere. Reducing CO2 emissions is crucial to reduce global warming and the negative effects of climate change. By reducing these CO2 emissions, companies and governments contribute to a more sustainable future and a better environment for all of us.
SMEs affect CO2 emissions and climate change just as much as large companies. Although SMEs may emit less CO2 than large companies, the total number of SMEs is much larger than the number of large companies. For instance, on average, SMEs account for 50% of emissions. This means that if all SMEs do their bit, total carbon emissions can be reduced significantly. In addition, small businesses can often make changes faster and more flexibly than large companies, so they can play an important role in the transition to a more sustainable future.
It is the small steps that can have the most impact. By applying the tips below, you can make your business more sustainable and contribute to a better future for our planet:
- Reduce your energy consumption: Adapting your energy consumption can already be done with small changes and does not have to cost a lot. You can do this, for example, by avoiding your ‘standby consumption’. This is the consumption of appliances that are on when they are not needed, for example at night. You can also keep your windows and doors closed so that energy does not go outside unnecessarily. Read more tips here.
- Reduce your paper consumption: Go digital whenever possible and try to use as little paper as possible. When you do have to use paper, make sure the paper is recycled and print only what is needed. When you do have to use paper, make sure the paper is recycled and print only what is needed. A 2018 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) study estimated that global CO2 emissions from paper production and use contributed about 3 per cent of total global CO2 emissions.
- Reduce polluting transport and/or use green transport: Encourage your employees to carpool, and travel by bike or public transport. Employees who are able to work from home can contribute to a significant reduction in carbon emissions. You can also buy or lease an emission-free company car, for example. As well, you can dedicate a month to green transport. Organise a competition between employees and the employee with relatively the least carbon emissions wins. Then evaluate whether you can turn it into something permanent after that month.
- Choose sustainable suppliers: Choose suppliers who have sustainability high on their agenda. This will ensure your company is involved in a sustainable network and contribute to a more sustainable future. You can select these suppliers by evaluating them on ESG criteria and sending them a questionnaire about it.
- Optimise your logistics: Take a critical look at your transport and logistics processes and look for ways to make them more efficient. This can be done, for example, by bundling deliveries, optimising routes and reducing unnecessary kilometres.
- Invest in energy-efficient equipment: Replace old, energy-wasting equipment with energy-efficient alternatives. This not only reduces your carbon footprint but can also lead to long-term cost savings. Studies have shown that this can lead to an annual 15% reduction in total electricity use.
Benefits for your business
Reducing your CO2 emissions as a company not only contributes to combating climate change but also has a positive effect on your image. More and more large companies value sustainability when making purchasing decisions, and consumers are willing to pay more for sustainable products and services. Reducing your CO2 footprint, therefore, keeps you one step ahead of your competitors.
Also, thanks to the government, CO2 reduction is not only important but also attractive for SMEs. In the UK, for instance, the government has already set up several subsidies for sustainable business. Click on this link to see which ones apply to your business.
Before you can actually start with your carbon reduction, you need to have a clear picture of how much you are currently emitting. Without knowing this, it is difficult to take targeted action to reduce these emissions. Measuring your CO2 footprint can be achieved, for example, by using our CO2 Calculator. This tool provides real-time data and insights that you can use to reduce your carbon footprint. By regularly measuring your emissions and taking targeted action to reduce them, you too can contribute to a more sustainable future for us all.
Besides reducing your CO2 emissions, you can also consider offsetting them through CO2 offsetting. This technique offsets the effects of your CO2 emissions, especially in cases where it is not yet fully possible to avoid emissions.
There are several projects and initiatives aimed at CO2 offsetting, such as planting forests or supporting the switch from harmful activities to environmentally friendly alternatives. Our Ecosystem partners, Myclimate, WoodYouCare and Regreener, make carbon offsetting accessible by offering offset subscriptions or one-off payments based on your company’s emissions. But be aware that carbon offsetting is not without risk and requires transparency and clarity.
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