Greenhouse gases (GHG) are carbon dioxide and various other gases released into the environment when fossil fuels are burnt. It’s thought that the build up of GHG is responsible for global warming, which has affected the climate globe and had a devastating effect on the polar icecaps.
Every business or organisation produces GHG, whether it’s through travelling, using heat and light or industrial processes, and the amount of GHG produced is measured as a carbon footprint. Shockingly, businesses and travel combined account for 42% of the entire greenhouse gas emission for the UK. With the government pledging to reduce UK emissions by 34% by 2020, it’s important that business plays its part and we all try to reduce our own carbon footprint.
In this article we’ll look at the benefits of cutting emissions and we’ll explore some of the technology available to businesses that want to know how to reduce their carbon footprint.
Benefits of reducing carbon footprint
Of course the main benefit of reducing carbon footprints is that less greenhouse gas is produced, which in time will have a positive effect on the environment. However, there are many other reasons why you should reduce your carbon footprint.
Travel/transport: Cutting down on the amount of travelling your employees do will both reduce your carbon footprint and lower your financial costs
Brand value: Your business brand will be viewed favourably if you are visibly taking steps to reduce your carbon footprint
Competitive advantage: Having an environmental policy that includes actions to reduce your carbon footprint will give you the edge over competitors who don’t have such a policy in place. Also, if you regularly win contracts through tendering, you will often be expected to demonstrate your environmental ethos.
Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR): As a business, acting to reduce your carbon footprint shows that you take CSR seriously.
Legislation: Depending on the size of your business there may be legislation concerning carbon footprints that you need to comply with.
How to reduce your carbon footprint
There are lots of small steps you can take to reduce your carbon footprint. Take a walk round your business premises and note where energy is being wasted. This could include things like equipment being left on overnight, lights being used in empty offices, printing documents unnecessarily and so on.
However, the biggest savings – both to your carbon footprint and to your budget – can be made in the area of travel. Advances in technology offer huge advantages when it comes to reducing your business’ effect on the environment. For example, videoconferencing lets you communicate with staff and clients remotely. It saves you time, as you don’t need to travel to other locations to communicate. Your travel expenses will be cut. And it will also reduce your carbon footprint, as the energy required to run videoconferencing equipment is a fraction of that used by the cars, trains or planes you’ll use to get to meetings. Videoconferencing also makes it easier for your staff to work from home, so reducing the number of cars on the roads every day.
SMART boards are also very effective when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint. You can use a SMART board to display and annotate meeting notes, which are recorded electronically and can be stored and shared digitally – all reducing the need to print on paper. And true two-way collaboration, with notes appearing in real time, can take place when SMART Boards are used in conjunction with Smarter Conference, a subscription service allowing participants to share their computer with up to 20 users over the internet.
Better still, using software such as Microsoft Lync you can combine SMART boards with videoconferencing (whether using dedicated equipment or a simple VoIP and webcam setup) so that all participants, wherever they are based, can see, hear, share and communicate remotely. The ability to write notes backwards and forwards in real time as well as using videoconferencing to see and hear each other is, for many organisations, the missing link in reducing travel to meetings.
Technology means you may never need to leave your office again – and you can reduce your carbon footprint in the process.
To find out more about how using technology can reduce your carbon footprint download our free white paper.