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6 tips for reducing your carbon footprint as a small business

Dr Greg Lavery is the founder of Rype Office, a leading Circular Economy office furniture and design company. He has a PHD in sustainable buildings and has grown sustainability businesses around the world.
Rype Office
By Dr Greg Lavery, Founder, Rype Office

Climate Change is higher up the agenda than at any point in recent years. Just last month an international week of climate action took place, with demands for decisive action from both the public and private sectors.

If we are going to meet our carbon targets, business needs to respond; but action shouldn’t be limited to big corporates with in-house sustainability teams. We all have the potential to make a difference, however small our business.

Here are some tips on changes you can make in your business:

1. Energy Efficiency

According to the Carbon Trust, 20% of a business’ energy bill comes from lighting, so consider switching to LED light bulbs, which consume up to 80% less energy compared to traditional bulbs. The Energy Saving Trust also has some great tips.

2. Circular Consumption

Over a building’s 40-year life, up to 42% of its emissions comes from the fit-out (such as furniture and flooring). There are a range of companies out there providing ‘Circular Economy’ office products. This means that by remanufacturing high quality pieces of office furniture after their first life, it’s possible to create a beautiful, efficient and sustainable office for less. A remanufactured piece of furniture is typically half the list price, with 80% less embodied greenhouse gas emissions compared to furniture manufactured from ‘virgin’ resources. (Rype has created a guide to five other circular economy office solutions here.)

Keep on top of your admin

Asto can help you keep on top of your admin. Record your receipts digitally and export expense reports in seconds

3. Digital Travel

Technology means you no longer need to travel across town to check on a project or stay in touch with colleagues, let alone travel internationally. Avoid the unnecessary emissions resulting from air travel by conducting meetings by video call instead. It also means that you can spend more time with your friends and family. What’s not to like?!

4. Renewable Energy

Powering your organisation with 100% renewable energy saves greenhouse gas emissions without incurring much (if any) additional expense. Switching energy providers for a business is a bit more complex than doing it for your home, but services like Make it Cheaper will remind you when your contract is due to expire and can help with the legwork.

"When setting up your pension plan, ask providers to explain how their investment strategy aligns with limiting global warming."

5. Pension Power

According to the FT, only 5% of the UK’s biggest corporate pension funds, which collectively oversee £479 billion in assets, have a policy on climate change.

When setting up your pension plan, ask providers to explain how their investment strategy aligns with limiting global warming. (Yes you can do this – we all pay them to manage our money!)

6. Smart Waste Management

Not all waste companies deal with waste in the same way. It’s really important that businesses take steps to avoid waste ending up in landfill sites where it will produce greenhouses gases, such as methane (which is over twenty times more damaging as a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide). Ask your waste management provider important questions like: do you send waste to landfill? What is your recycling rate? What do you do with material that can’t be easily recycled?