June 23rd, 2021 | Water and Sustainability


All businesses, no matter their size, can cut their carbon footprint and make an impact. By looking at small changes to business practices and operation processes, organisations can lead the way for change. We have created a list to support the process to reduce business carbon footprint.


The cheapest form of energy is the energy you don’t even use. By turning things off when they are not in use or using more efficient products, such as LED lights, or motion sensors will save money, but also decrease the power plant emissions.

If you are using energy, then REGOs – or Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin – assures that the origin of the energy supplied to you is 100% renewably sourced. By using the GHG Protocol market-based calculation method to work out your carbon footprint focuses on the fuel mix of your electricity supplies. Consequently, if you use renewable energy your emissions for electricity will be zero!

Food and Food Waste

Food takes a significant amount of energy to produce and transport it. Therefore, food waste can be source of carbon, particularly if your business has a canteen serving fresh food daily. Check with your waste contractor if food waste collection is possible.

If your business has a canteen or café it is worth making sure you have vegan and vegetarian options available to encourage staff to choose to eat food with fewer associated carbon emissions. 18% of global emissions are associated with livestock agriculture (FAO Report). Providing employees with good vegan and vegetarian food can help to reduce your businesses carbon footprint.


Changing to electric vehicles (EV) will significantly cut your fleet costs. Electricity is significantly cheaper than petrol or diesel per mile. EV maintenance costs are lower too.

EVs are also exempt from clean air zone charges and the tax regime incentivises EVs. The UK ban on wholly powered petrol and diesel vehicles coming into force in 2030, makes buying or leasing cars, all-electric vehicles, the only sensible choice.

Recycle, reuse, reduce

Encourage purchases to be made with sustainability in mind, enforces the business direction and gets employees engaged and thinking of ways they can reduce and limit the waste and consumption of items such as paper, food and drink, water, laptops, phones, and packaging. Manufacturing and then transporting these items has an associated carbon footprint.

Buying recycled paper instead of primary production reduces carbon emissions. If your business has a large supply chain, then it is important to share the business goals across all employees.

Become more digital, using adobe signature and onscreen annotation has taken this process forward with Covid19 forcing people to be home based. How many times were documents printed, signed and scanned back in before these changes? If printing is required, ensure double sided printing is set as a default.

Air Travel

2020 has proven, albeit without an option, that companies are able to operate without travelling for business by using popular software programmes such as Zoom and Teams.

Consider travelling by train domestically to reduce emissions from air travel. However, if air travel needs to take place, investigate the travel class that is being used. Using the UK Defra Carbon Factors for a long haul flight, the emissions per passenger km for first class travel are 0.60kg CO2e, for business class 0.43kg CO2e and for economy 0.15kg CO2e. This is calculated by the amount of space taken up per seat on the planet.

This means a one-way flight from London Heathrow to New York JFK airport will have a carbon footprint per person of 3684kg CO2e for first class, 2671kg CO2e for business class and 921kg CO2e for economy class. For those undertaking several trips per year, a switch from business to economy class will mean a reduction in comfort but also a significant different in the associated emissions.

Single use plastic

By introducing sustainable procurement policies as suggested above, your plastic waste will be reduced. The next step to reduce plastic is to look as removing all single use plastic items used in your business model.

Be cautious of biodegradable or compostable materials as many of them can’t be combined with food waste.


One thing is certain: as the level of carbon dioxide increases in our atmosphere and weird weather becomes the norm, business as usual is no longer an option. Each company and individual must play a part and look at sustainable alternatives to lower carbon emissions and reduce their carbon footprint.

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