The UK government estimates that the business sector generated close to 60 megatonnes of carbon dioxide emissions in 2020 alone – up almost 50% since 1990. The truth is that the effects of climate change can no longer be ignored, and as a business, you have a social obligation to work to reduce your company’s impact on the environment. A Getty Images survey found that 81% of consumers expect companies to be environmentally conscious. In short, being sustainable makes you more attractive to consumers and could help you outmanoeuvre your competitors – below, we’ve put together some tips on becoming greener.
Switch to renewable energy
Renewable energy is more accessible than ever before, even for businesses. Companies no longer need to buy their own wind turbine or pay tens of thousands in green levies to access sustainable energy sources – making the switch to renewable energy is as simple as making a phone call or two, and could give your business some much-needed green credentials. It’s also worth noting that, through Ofgem, businesses can access energy grants and schemes to lower their carbon emissions and become more efficient with their commercial energy use.
During the cost of living crisis, businesses should shop around for the best energy deals and bear in mind that renewable sources are no longer necessarily more expensive. Choosing a supplier that puts the environment first is a great way to play a small part in reducing your firm’s carbon footprint – and you can use it as a marketing tool when selling to consumers.
Use IoT devices
Another way to reduce your carbon footprint is to use smart devices in your workplace. IoT devices use artificial intelligence to learn your company’s routine and habits and help you reduce the amount of energy your firm needs. For example, you could use Google Home or Amazon Alexa to set up routines, turn on lights when employees arrive at work and switch off the power supply to computers at the end of each day. Smart LED bulbs are another way to reduce energy consumption – granted, they’re more expensive initially than standard LED bulbs, but offer features such as motion detection, dimming, and timers so that lights will turn on and off when they’re needed in your workplace, reducing energy waste at your premises.
IoT systems can help your company speed up work, cut down costs, and identify new growth opportunities. For example, an employee needing to schedule a meeting might receive a recommendation on a free conference room and have the meeting scheduled automatically for all attendees, whilst occupancy sensors can help you determine where people are on each floor, integrating with your integrated workplace management system (IWMS) to help make better use of space, allowing you to reconfigure offices, conference rooms, and more.
Adopt smart thermostats
On the subject of IoT technology, which is continually dropping in price making it more accessible for businesses of all shapes and sizes, investing in a smart thermostat for your business could help regulate office temperatures and ensure minimal energy waste. When your team steps out for lunch, the thermostat can turn itself on or off, and voice commands can be used when employees are in the office to turn up the thermostat or switch on climate control. Over time, such devices will learn your employees’ schedules, lowering energy use and reducing emissions in the process. Such devices are increasingly important now that a higher percentage of employees adopt hybrid working policies and spend some of their time working from home – rather than having a set office temperature across all of your floors and departments, individual areas can be turned on or off using smart technology, cutting costs.
Work with green partners
One of the simplest ways businesses can become greener is to review their partners and ensure they share the same values and ethos. If you’ve made a pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030 and told all of your customers, but your main supplier is a heavy polluter, that could reflect badly on your company’s reputation. Sourcing products and services that are local and ethical will help your business become more sustainable, and adopting greener practices such as video calls rather than business meetings which require overseas travel will all play a part. Reaching out to each of your supply chain partners and contacts via email to let them know about your environmental pledges and ambitions will ensure that everyone is on the same page – indeed, they might even be able to help you reach your goals faster.
Being transparent is also important. Whether you operate in fintech or fashion, updating both your customers and partners on your journey to net-zero will attract good PR and help you build new relationships; you might even get some ideas from your customers and end-users on ways to make your products more sustainable. Carbon footprinting and labelling can help you communicate to customers where you’re at and where you want to be; using social media or a company blog could also be useful in documenting your progress and journey.
Develop your own app
Streamlining your processes and making your business more efficient is a great way to lower costs and reduce your carbon emissions, and developing an app could play a small part in that journey. Whether you’re in logistics or law, a custom piece of software could help you communicate better between departments, gain valuable insights into your teams and their workflows, and reduce the need for unnecessary travel, meetings, and paperwork. Your app could be something as straightforward as a customer relationship management tool or as complex as a suite offering fleet tracking, customer service, and human resources all in one.
Working with an experienced company on software development will also ensure that your app is supported by the devices your organisation uses, whether it’s iPhones, tablets, or laptops – hybrid or web apps are typically the most efficient as they can be updated across all devices without the need to deploy updates to each app store. Spend time identifying the issues you want to resolve with an app and test software with your teams before making the switch – in time, a custom business app could make a difference to your carbon footprint.
Make your website green
According to Website Carbon, the average website produces 1.76g of CO2 for every page view – and the more complex a website is, the more energy required. For eCommerce and digital-first brands, your website is likely the shop-front of your business, and so making some simple changes to reduce emissions could go a long way. You can build eco-friendly apps and websites by creating minimal interfaces, streamlining navigation, and using caching and other data processing tools to optimise content. You should be cautious when using audio and video content, and you should write top-notch metadata to ensure content is easily found on search engines like Google to reduce the number of clicks required. It’s also worth being careful with images and avoid using too many high-res images on a single page.
You could also consider making the switch to a green web host. Green hosting allows you to show customers just how committed you are to reducing your carbon footprint. It reduces your emissions, enhances your company’s reputation, and it’s also more affordable than you might think. Many web hosting brands now offer greener alternatives to standard servers for the same price, powered by renewable energy sources such as solar power and wind.
Although considered by some as the “cheat’s way” to reduce carbon emissions, carbon offsetting allows businesses and individuals to pay for carbon dioxide to be reduced in another part of the world, such as by planting trees or donating energy-efficient technology to developing countries. Carbon offsetting allows you to win more customers thanks to improving public relations and happy shareholders, and it can be used for customer retention and attracting new clients and employees. Offsetting helps you meet your corporate social responsibility requirements and it’s a cost-effective way to attract customers to your services – for instance, offering to plant a tree for every new customer is a popular sales tactic.
If you’re looking for support building an eco-friendly app or website for your business, reach out to the team at Zudu today on 01382 690080.