It is clear that the climate crisis is a looming threat to humanity, affecting inequalities and standard of living around the world. Therefore, everyone has the responsibility to do their part in mitigating its impacts such as extreme weather patterns and rising sea levels which have been more apparent in recent years. This collective responsibility especially includes businesses that largely take part in the cycle of supply and consumption of the planet’s resources. It’s certainly attainable for businesses to commit to a carbon neutral strategy as part of their eco-friendly company mission to reduce their emissions.
As people become more environmentally aware, opting for eco-conscious business processes has been getting more popular. Pushing for carbon neutrality is not only a good business pursuit that helps address climate change, but actually impacts the business positively as consumers prefer those that resonate with their values.
There are many benefits of reducing business carbon footprints which include the elimination of energy inefficiency as businesses can reduce electricity consumption by going for an alternative renewable energy source that could help them save up. It could also be part of their CSR projects, establishing their competitive advantage and impacting purchasing decisions. Though, of course, the genuine intent to be responsible business owners must outweigh these practical benefits.
It is also no secret that the new industrial revolution is fast approaching and thus companies all over the world should maximize the opportunities to become innovative in addressing climate issues for everyone’s benefit. There should be urgency to take firm steps to bring efficient solutions that come from sustainable practices which could be simple but impactful in the long run. Some of these are as follows.
Assess your environmental impact. Before jumping into grand plans, take a step back and look at where you are right now. Identify what you are currently doing and see what can be done or improve in the areas you might have overlooked. Take into consideration the bigger picture, including the involvement of third parties such as your suppliers or other logistics and transportation providers. Break down the processes and goals into digestible bits to know the next small steps that must be taken across all levels of the organization.
You should take time to analyze the impact of the company’s emissions and energy footprint to all stakeholders affected. The decision-making can take place once the assessment is done. All internal stakeholders must be involved in the process aforesaid so they can be further informed and have an avenue to give inputs as well as clarify the course of action for the much needed eco-shift. This would be accomplished smoothly with transparency and cooperation as everyone looks at one direction of making not only the company but the world a better place. Switching to a carbon-neutral approach also has the power to aid the governments transition industries into an overall low-carbon economy. After all, a single step can have a ripple effect.
Measure your carbon footprint. While improving processes and shifting to eco-friendly materials is helpful, it would be best to measure your carbon footprint as well that gives you impartial data. This process can underscore the inefficiencies and unneeded costs that you have while running the business. There are a lot of tools and methods available online to gauge your carbon footprint. You can also work with consultants if you think that there is a need to comprehensively understand the company’s total carbon footprint. It is crucial to take this step so you’ll have a benchmark and come up with an informed decision as to where to go next.
Create SMART goals. After laying everything out and understanding where you currently are, it is time to build and communicate your goals. Start with the general objective which could be pledging to pursue a strategy that could help the company achieve net-zero greenhouse gas emissions in a few years. Make sure that this, alongside with the essential steps or duties for everyone, is clearly communicated. If the management itself cannot grasp what the direction and goals are, do not expect that the individuals in different business units will. While explaining, don’t forget to include how the steps toward a sustainable and eco-friendly company align with the technical priorities as well as long-term business growth strategies. Everyone must be informed and comfortable with where the company is heading towards.
Needless to say, the goals must be specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and time-based. You won’t know you’re succeeding without a set of KPIs. Work on these goals and their respective metrics so it’d be easier for all company members to understand them afterwards. Doing so will push for both collective responsibility and satisfaction from being able to do good that is unquestionable.
Monitor and carry on. Remember that going green is a continuous process. It’s not a one-time, big-time project, especially the evaluation of tasks. Both the monitoring and evaluation should be present in every step of the carbon management process to come up with accurate reports of reduction levels. This could also help in immediately identifying any inefficiencies with the change applied and mishaps that might transpire. All the efforts and capital invested would surely be worthwhile as you get to know returns real-time and ultimately accumulate the data, outlining the long-term impacts to the business.
Aiming to reach net-zero greenhouse gas emissions or carbon neutrality is a daunting task. Though, this will pay off not only by attaining substantial profits but also social benefits and personal satisfaction of knowing that you are doing something for the betterment of the world. A sustainable future cannot be achieved overnight and not by one entity so it’s crucial to continuously send out the message of its importance and urgency. Do something to educate others. A business that’s doing its best to go carbon neutral certainly speaks volume. What’s left to do is to remain consistent and look for more areas of collaboration to make everyone embrace their essential roles to play.
About The Author:
Katreena is a scientist and a life hack specialist. She’s authored scientific journals on biotechnology and molecular biology. To take a break from scientific journals, she puts her mind into writing about lifestyle, health, and sustainability. She strongly believes that kindness makes the world go round.