As a business owner or manager in 2022, you’ll no doubt be hearing more and more about going green, and becoming carbon neutral in particular.
With the UK Government calling on businesses of all sizes to do their bit to help the UK reach its net-zero 2050 target, you may be thinking about taking your business carbon neutral.
Yet in the light of the recent pandemic and economic uncertainty, you could also be debating whether this is the right time to go carbon neutral. Green projects, whilst a clear investment in the future, can often cost your business outright.
Carbon Neutrality refers to balancing the amount of carbon dioxide we release, with that taken in by the planet via carbon sinks (forest and peat bogs). Going carbon neutral means your business no longer releases a net amount of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. It involves reducing the amount of CO2 your company generates and balances any remaining carbon dioxide emissions by offsetting with carbon credits or in-house green projects.
In 2019, the UK Government committed to achieving a net-zero target by 2050. Whilst the UK has already reduced emissions by 42%, it’s vital that we hit this net-zero target to continue doing our bit to help fight global warming.
As part of the Paris agreement, 190 countries plus the European Union have confirmed their commitment to keeping global temperatures well below 2 degrees, preferably below that target of 1.5 degrees. Any more than that and we risk doing some serious and possibly irreversible damage to our planet. At this point, we’d start to see more extreme weather phenomena, including heat waves, droughts, wildfire and flooding- some of which we are already starting to see across the globe.
Whilst carbon neutral and net-zero are similar terms that are often used interchangeably, they do mean different things. Here are the main similarities and differences.
Ultimately both terms involve offsetting carbon dioxide emissions with the aim of balancing the amount of CO2 that’s released and taken in. Net-zero builds on the general principles of carbon neutrality but takes it a step further by putting the focus on reducing all emissions, not just CO2. Reducing the emissions we produce must be the centre of any serious attempts to tackle climate change and prevent global temperatures from increasing above that 1.5-degree limit.
Moving towards greener ways of operating your business can often come at a cost, so it’s only natural to wonder what’s in it for you and your business. Besides doing your bit for the environment and our planet, going carbon neutral can benefit your business in a number of ways, including:
Appeal to Customers
Right now, more people than ever are thinking about their impact on the planet… and consumers are increasingly choosing brands that operate sustainably. A study carried out by SmartestEnergy found that 81% of consumers preferred to buy from sustainable businesses. Going green can therefore help you appeal to an increasingly environmentally conscious customer base.
Attract the Best Talent
Your consumers aren’t the only ones who care about the planet; research reveals that 60% of UK job hunters would look at a company’s sustainability commitment before accepting a position, with 34% of millennials refusing to work for a company that harmed the planet. Committing to operating sustainably can therefore help your business attract and retain the best employees, giving your business a boost in skills and talent.
Generate Good PR
Doing positive things for the planet often attracts positive attention to your business. After achieving your carbon-neutral goal, you can advertise your sustainable business practices in marketing materials, as well as use your new green credentials as a unique selling point for your business and help to set you apart from the competition.
Many businesses can often be put off by the cost of going green, especially in the wake of the pandemic. There’s no denying that sustainable practices will require an upfront cost but ultimately represents a long-term investment in your business. Things like LED bulbs, improvements to energy efficiency and even solar panels can pay for themselves eventually, allowing your business to benefit from savings whilst also reducing carbon.
For many businesses looking to go carbon neutral, it can often be difficult to know where to start. Whether you’ve already started your carbon-neutral journey or are simply looking to take the first steps, here are 5 ways your business can move towards carbon neutrality today:
1.Adopt an Electronic Signature
For many businesses, collecting signatures is a vital part of their daily operations. From legally binding contracts to internal sign off processes, putting pen to paper provides written confirmations of agreement or approval that keep your business going. If you’re looking to make your signature collection greener, then adopting an electronic signature is the best place to start.
Using paper to collect signatures is hardly environmentally friendly. Paper production contributes to deforestation, chemical pollution, and water waste, not to mention the greenhouse gases it releases into the atmosphere. Paper consumption is ultimately contributing to your company’s carbon footprint.
We know that businesses will always need documents and signatures to function. But there is a way of eliminating the paper part. Implementing an electronic signature across your business can help you reduce, if not entirely eliminate, your business’s paper consumption. Say goodbye to printing out paper documents; an electronic signature allows you to sign and send them digitally. This not only allows you to reduce paper waste but can also increase your business’s operational efficiency.
2.Switch to Cloud Hosting
For many businesses, one of their biggest energy drainers can be on-site hosting. Private data centres require a lot of electricity to power their servers and cooling system and this electricity is often generated through burning fossil fuels and releasing carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.
For businesses actively looking to decrease their carbon emissions and lower their carbon footprint, cloud hosting is definitely a switch you should consider. A 2018 study revealed that the Microsoft Azure cloud platform can be up to more than 93% more efficient and up to 98% more carbon-efficient than on-premises solutions.
Many hosting providers are taking active steps to reduce their own emissions, powering their vast commercial data centres with green energy, as well as constantly increasing their energy efficiency. Making the switch from on-site to off-site hosting can therefore help your business reduce its carbon footprint- a vital step on your journey towards becoming carbon neutral.
3.Increase Energy Efficiency
No matter what sector you work in, increasing energy efficiency not only benefits the planet but also your wallet. Whether you’re optimising your processes to waste less energy or insulating your office building to retain heat, identifying and fixing energy drainers can help you to reduce your business’s carbon footprint, as well as save money on your energy bills.
There are many simple ways to save energy around the office. You can switch to LED bulbs that are 80% more efficient than halogens, install motion-sensor lights and reduce energy consumption by 35-45 per cent, or simply turn down the heating by a degree or two.
For businesses that don’t know where to start, carrying out an energy audit in your office can help point you in the right direction, highlighting areas that could be improved and providing practical tips to solve issues. Increasing energy efficiency across your business will prevent you from wasting both gas and electricity, and in turn, the planets precious resources.
4.Switch to a Green Tariff
Perhaps one of the easiest ways of helping your business go green is switching to a green energy tariff. Whilst green energy was once on the fringes of the energy sector, it’s now a reliable and increasingly popular alternative and green tariffs can now be found at nearly every energy supplier.
Whilst opting for a green tariff doesn’t exactly guarantee that your business will be powered exclusively by green energy, it does obligate your supplier to buy green energy on your behalf, increasing the overall proportion of renewable energy on the national grid.
Generated from inexhaustible resources such as solar, wind and water, renewable energy does not release any greenhouse gases or carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. Switching to a renewable energy tariff will therefore decrease your business’s carbon footprint and ensure that you’re doing your bit in the fight against global warming.
5.Offset Remaining Emissions
The term carbon neutral is becoming increasingly popular in the business world, especially with the UK aiming to become carbon neutral by 2050. This is a challenging target, and if we have any hope of reaching it, businesses, not just individuals, need to pitch in and do their bit.
It’s all about balancing the carbon that’s released by us and absorbed by the planet so that we produce net-zero carbon dioxide emissions.
Even if your business does everything it should for the planet, it can still be difficult to reach zero emissions. That’s why many businesses opt to go carbon neutral and offset any remaining emissions by purchasing carbon credits.
This means that your business will make a financial contribution to carbon offset projects around the world, ranging from planting more trees to providing renewable energy to communities in developing nations. By doing this, your business can truly call itself carbon neutral, safe in the knowledge that any net emissions will be compensated for elsewhere on the planet.
If your business is looking to start its carbon-neutral journey, our carbon consultants are here to support you and your business. We understand that going carbon neutral can seem complicated and time-consuming; that’s why we’ve created 3 simple steps to help your business achieve its energy and savings goals.
Step 1: We’ll Switch You to Renewable Energy
As the first step on your carbon-neutral journey, our energy consultants will switch you over to a renewable energy tariff. Generated from natural sources that never run out, such as solar, wind or hydropower, renewable energy sources do not produce carbon dioxide or greenhouse gas emissions.
We understand that some businesses can shy away from green energy; it’s not always the cheapest option. At Tariff.com, we’ll get to know your business and its energy usage, ensuring that the switch to green energy makes financial sense for your business. Once we’ve found you the optimal green tariff, we’ll provide all the support you need to switch suppliers.
Step 2: We’ll Analyse Your Carbon Footprint
Once we’ve switched you over to your green energy tariff, we’ll then focus on analysing your remaining carbon footprint. Whilst switching to a green tariff will have helped your business considerably reduce its carbon emissions, there will still be areas that need to be improved or offset.
Our energy consultants will conduct a full assessment of both your business operations and property efficiency to get a full picture of your remaining emissions. We’ll then present our findings in a detailed report, alongside any recommendations for reducing energy waste and offsetting any net emissions.
Step 3: We’ll Help You Reduce and Offset Emissions
To help your business achieve a true net-zero target, we’ll need to optimise your energy usage and compensate for any unavoidable emissions with carbon offsets. Carbon offsetting means that any remaining emissions will be ‘cancelled’, so your business can really label itself carbon neutral.
These days, offsetting your carbon emissions is easy, with options to simply purchase carbon credits. This means that your business will make a financial contribution to carbon offset projects around the world, ranging from planting more trees to providing renewable energy to communities in developing nations.
Here at Tariff.com, we put transparency at the heart of all our energy services. We’re not affiliated with one energy provider, so we’ll always shop around to find you the best deal on your green energy.
We’ve pulled together an expert team of consultants, who can advise your business on anything from energy and going carbon neutral to security and IT. We use our experience and knowledge of the market to pass on great savings to you.
Empower Your Business
Beyond saving your business time and money, we aim to empower your business to get the most from your energy and chosen supplier. Whether that’s optimising energy usage, switching to green energy, or going carbon neutral, we’ll help you achieve your energy goals.
At Tariff.com, we’ve made it our mission to help businesses make a positive change for the future. Climate change is an issue that affects us all and business leaders have an obligation to join the fight.
Whether you’re looking to switch to a green tariff, manage your energy usage or reach a net-zero goal, our consultants are here to support you and your business.
If your business is looking to start its green journey, get in touch with the Tariff.com team today. Our friendly consultant can provide all the information and guidance you need to take your business to net-zero.
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