Although there has been a significant increase in awareness of environmental issues in the workplace over recent years, businesses can still be slow in taking up the mantle in reducing their carbon emissions.  Often this is because many businesses just don’t know where to start.

Every business has the opportunity to reduce their emissions, the real trick is to focus on and identify the low hanging fruit.  By just focusing on one area this year, you can make a massive impact on emissions reductions and your bottom line.

One approach to take with this is to get your staff involved.  Create a working committee from a cross section of your workforce and most importantly empower them with executive sponsorship.  Task this team with analysing operations and looking for areas where you can improve your environmental performance.  You will be surprised how environmental issues spur people into action and more importantly, how they can identify waste and emissions reduction opportunities that are often staring you in the face.

Energy is almost always a huge contributing factor and often is the area to focus on first.  Our electricity will continue to rise in the foreseeable future so any efficiency gains you can achieve in the short term will have significant long term benefits.  Simple lighting retrofits may have a payback in under 12 months but the long term impacts are enormous.

Other areas that can be looked at include heating and ventilation, recycling, proactive monitoring, occupancy sensors, supply chains and even on-site generation through renewables.

Importantly, get your committee to think completely out of the box.  If you are a manufacturing concern, your waste may be somebody else’s bounty and through the process you may even uncover untapped revenue streams.

Ensure that you have the correct KPI’s in place for your project and make it part of the fabric of your monthly company reporting. Successfully identifying and targeting just one area in your business will give you the proof and impetus you need to show your organisation that carbon reduction projects are worthwhile and will help you build the business case for future projects.

There is nothing that rings more true when it comes to emissions reduction than the maxim, “you eat an elephant in bite size chunks”.  We are faced with a global issue and every little bit helps in reducing our emissions.  More importantly, by reducing emissions, your are reducing your costs.

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