As a business, your carbon footprint incorporates greenhouse gases produced by any business operations, including those that you perhaps wouldn’t expect. For instance, carbon emissions created when your staff commute to and from your practice would count as well as those generated by processes such as the manufacture of the products you use and their transportation.
This means that many individuals underestimate the true carbon footprint of their business. However, it also opens opportunities for you to cut back on emissions in a greater variety of ways!
Not sure where to begin? Here are some tips to help:
Did you know that transport is responsible for 24% of the UK’s carbon footprint?2 Personal vehicles are undoubtedly the biggest culprits. Car journeys add more greenhouse gases to the atmosphere per person when compared to vehicles with much higher capacities, such as coaches and buses.3
To combat this, how about installing a bike shed at your premises so that employees and customers can choose to cycle in if that is a viable option for them? You could also encourage your staff to go green by offering walk to work/using public transport incentives.
You could also re-evaluate how you use energy. 22% of the UK’s carbon emissions come from sources such as oil and gas, so taking control of how energy is used in your practice can make a significant positive impact.4
For instance, instead of using a traditional gas boiler or oil heating system, could you swap to an electric-powered ground source heat pump? These are much more carbon efficient than gas or oil alternatives. If that switch isn’t viable, it still could be very worthwhile swapping to a new boiler model, as many of these have been designed to improve energy efficiency. If not, how about just being more conscientious with your heating – does it need to be on all day? Even turning the thermostat on your central heating system down a few degrees will help.
Related to this, you could also explore insulating your practice better and investing in solutions such as double glazing or looking at an energy-saving lighting option – the steps you take don’t need to be huge, as long as they are making a positive difference.
Carbon footprint – reduce, reuse, recycle
Try swapping out single-use products and encourage no-waste lunches to prevent waste at the source. You can also think of how you dispose of waste generated on your premises and what products you use during the process of waste disposal.
For instance, Sustainable Clinical Waste Bags from Initial Medical are a smart way to help reduce your carbon footprint. Made from 30% recycled plastic, they are manufactured in the UK using renewable energy. Every effort is made to ensure CO2 emissions are reduced during transportation to help ensure that they are a solid eco-option.
1 Gov.uk. SMALL BUSINESS USER GUIDE: Guidance on how to measure and report your greenhouse gas emissions. Link: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/69494/pb13310-ghg-small-business-guide.pdf [Last accessed February 23].
2 Gov.uk. Transport and environment statistics 2022. Link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-and-environment-statistics-2022/transport-and-environment-statistics-2022#:~:text=Transport%20produced%2024%25%20of%20the,road%20vehicles%20(89%20MtCO2e%20). [Last accessed February 23].
3 Gov.uk. Transport and environment statistics 2022. Link: https://www.gov.uk/government/statistics/transport-and-environment-statistics-2022/transport-and-environment-statistics-2022#:~:text=Transport%20produced%2024%25%20of%20the,road%20vehicles%20(89%20MtCO2e%20). [Last accessed February 23].
4 Energy Saving Trust. Top tips to reduce your carbon emissions. Link: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/top-tips-to-reduce-your-carbon-emissions/ [Last accessed February 23].
5 Sustain Life. Calculating Carbon Emissions From Waste. Link: https://www.sustain.life/blog/calculating-carbon-emissions-waste#:~:text=Waste%20emissions%20make%20up%20about%2015%25%20of%20a%20company’s%20carbon%20footprint.&text=If%20you’re%20looking%20to,direct%20impact%20on%20reducing%20it. [Last accessed February 23].