If you’re a business owner looking for ways to make a positive environmental impact, it can be hard to know where to start.
Many organisations are increasingly striving to balance purpose with profit, as sustainability becomes more of a pressing global concern. In this blog, we provide some steps you can take to begin on your journey and help create positive change.
Implementing green initiatives
Calculate your carbon footprint
Measuring your business’ corporate carbon footprint is the first step towards being able to reduce it. There are a wide range of free tools and resources available online to support this, such as Business Carbon Calculator and The Carbon Trust’s Carbon Footprint Calculator.
All organisational footprints must include Scope 1 and 2 emissions that a company creates within its own operations, such as emissions from boilers and purchased electricity, heating or cooling.
Alternatively, firms can employ the services of a specialist third party, as calculations can be done at varying and more complex levels. Scope 3 for example, covers any other indirect emissions from sources outside your direct control, such as employee business travel, commuting and emissions within your wider supplier chain.
Nominating ‘eco-champions’ within the business to monitor and promote the sustainable initiatives within your business is a good way to drive momentum.
Your champions can help you to review how sustainable your business currently is and highlight where improvements can be made. This can lead to the discovery of more sustainable ways to operate day to day, which can be fed back to management boards.
Hybrid and remote working
Introducing hybrid and remote working opportunities can not only have an improved effect on wellbeing and work-life balance but can also significantly reduce the requirement to commute to an office, which according to studies accounts for up to 98% of an employee’s carbon footprint.
When travel is required, firms can set up a cycle to work scheme or car-share system as well as transitioning to electric company vehicles.
Reducing the amount of office time for employees also contributes to a reduction in daily waste products, water and other materials used as a result of employees attending an office space, making for a greener business.
There are many organisations who offer a wide range of environmental certifications that you can look into attaining as a business owner, depending on your sustainability ambitions. Here are a few you could consider:
ClimatePartner help businesses embed a range of sustainable climate action into corporate activity and will work to design individual solutions for each company.
This is a simple accreditation which organisations of all sizes in the UK can apply for in recognition of responsible business practices. It measures ten components of business behaviour, including fairer hours and contracts, environmental responsibility, commitment to customers, ethical sourcing and prompt payment.
Planet Mark offers a sustainability certification and is one of the official partners of the UN-backed Race to Zero campaign, supporting businesses on their net zero journeys.
B Corp is a globally recognised certification for firms that are verified as meeting high and improving standards of social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability
It sets out to monitor and evaluate the ways in which your business is making a positive impact across the five pillars of governance, workers, community, environment and customers.
Although becoming a B Corp business is a lengthy process and includes far more than just your environmental impact, it can add great value and validate meaningful progress towards becoming a truly accountable, ethical and responsible business.
Creating your positive environmental impact
Striving to be a force for good can benefit not just the planet, employees and local communities but can also be good for business, with recent global research across private and listed companies showing that responsible business is usually more profitable.
Despite the government’s recent delay to some key climate pledges, the UK remains committed to reaching its net zero target by 2050, so both stakeholder focus and environmental business standards and regulation are only likely to increase in the coming years. Why not get ahead of the curve therefore and start taking those first steps on your environmental impact journey and an orderly transition to a green economy.