So you have taken the first steps to reduce your carbon footprint at home. You recycle, shop locally and minimize packaging.
But are all your good efforts being undone the moment you step into your office?
Workplaces can be minefields of waste but there are easy ways to improve your workplace's carbon footprint.
If you work for a large company, changes can take longer to be adopted, but many of these easy tips can be implemented right away and make a big difference to your workplace's carbon footprint and environmental impact.
This list will provide you with 11 ways to improve your workplace carbon footprint.
1. Set Your Workplace Carbon Footprint Goal
Working to improve your carbon footprint is only going to work if you can set targets. To do that you need to first understand where your workplace stands now.
Measuring your environmental footprint can be done in a variety of ways.
You can use a footprint calculator that will give you an indication of your current environmental impact, but these can be more focused on an individual and don’t specifically target workplaces.
True Impact has created a series of guidelines for businesses to consider, breaking down the idea of a sustainable workplace into different segments such as commuting, electricity, and recycling.
Once you have some data on your current footprint you can set a goal and improve upon it.
This may be done individually but the most effective results will happen if you can include as many people in your office as possible.
Involving upper management will be helpful if any of your goals require significant changes in process or building improvements.
2. Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
While lots of the world is going paperless, in many workplaces paper reports and memos are still very prevalent.
Reducing your workplace carbon footprint can start simply by assessing how many instances of paper you can reduce.
If the amount of paper can’t be reduced then try and implement other ways to reduce your footprint, such as printing on both sides of the paper and using recycled paper.
Make sure your paper recycling system at work is efficient and clear for all users.
3. Turn off all your office equipment
Offices are full of electronic equipment, from personal computers to photocopiers. Each of these obviously uses power and have an impact on your office carbon footprint.
Making sure that each of these pieces of equipment is switched off when not in use is a simple way to take a step toward a more green office.
Many electronic devices in workplaces are left in ‘standby’ mode during the weekend.
Coming up with an easy way to remember to fully turn these off will reduce your electricity consumption and also save money on your companies electricity bills.
4. Remember to turn off the lights, too
As well as equipment lights in large offices are often left on all night and during the weekends.
This is often a result of simply not having a process of the last one to leave turn off the lights.
Instigate a system so that the lights are turned off when they are not in use. Or alternatively, lighting systems could be installed that turn on and off the lights according to peak use periods.
5. Reduce heating in the office
Large office spaces are notorious for using huge amounts of energy to heat and cool them.
Often this leaves employees wearing jackets inside during summer to combat the freezing air conditioning and sweating through winter as the heat gets cranked up.
Making the interior temperature more level during the whole year and asking employees to dress appropriately will reduce the drain on resources that is required to heat and cool large spaces.
6. Your Commute can help reduce your footprint
For many, the working day starts when you step out of your front door. This is one great place to start to reduce your workplace footprint.
Encouraging your colleagues to ditch the car and take public transport, cycle or walk to work can have a massive impact in reducing your footprint.
If cars are necessary to get to the office, do a survey of your workmates and try and find people that could share the lift.
Not only would this save the environment, it makes the ride more fun and also saves lots of petrol money.
7. Working Remotely
Instigating a way for some people to work from home every now and again is not only reported to improve productivity but can improve your workplace footprint by reducing the number of cars on the road as people head to work.
8. Consider all means of travel
Traveling by plane is a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.
One way to reduce your workplace's footprint is to reconsider the necessity of travel by plane. Could the meetings be done by video link?
If plane travel is necessary, consider paying extra to offset the carbon emissions created by the flight. Most leading airlines now offer this service.
The money is used by the companies in a variety of environmental initiatives such as tree planting and global warming research.
What we eat has a huge impact on our green footprint.
Understanding your colleagues' eating habits and offering ways to reduce their environmental impact is one great way to reduce the overall impact of your workplace.
Introducing a meat-free day to your workplace canteen is a great way to start.
10. Your Building can do better
This one will definitely need some support from the top. But if your company is serious about reducing its impact then the building you work in is a great place to start.
Not all improvements need to be drastic, small additions can be done to any building to make it more environmentally friendly.
These include adding shades and blinds to keep your building warmer and cooler, and reducing its energy requirements.
Another easy task is to replace old inefficient globes with LED lighting to reduce your power usage.
Check with your local council and government about schemes that can help cover the cost of these small upgrades.
11. Keep monitoring your carbon footprint
Continuing to measure your progress as you continue on your journey on reducing your impact is essential.
Make sure you keep your colleagues up to date and celebrate each milestone as you reach it.
Reducing your workplace's carbon footprint will not only help the environment, it's also a great way to build good morale at work as your team works together for a great goal.
Improving your environmental standing is also a way for your customers to see your company's values in action.