It's everyone's business on Earth Day.
It's Earth Day and this reminds everyone, including businesses, that we all have a responsibility to protect our planet.
Here are 10 ways that we can help reduce our business carbon footprint while at the office.
1. Meet virtually and skip the flight
In-person meetings are always a treat and can help build relationships. But consider using video conferencing tools when flights aren't absolutely necessary. "Business travel can be a significant portion of an organisational carbon footprint. Many business trips nowadays don’t need to occur and could quite effectively be replaced with either audio or video conferencing.
"To reduce a carbon footprint, organizations should look at their business travel policies and have procedures that ascertain whether all flights are totally necessary." - Sustainable Business Toolkit
2. Commit to walking, biking or taking the bus to work just a tad bit more
There are obvious health benefits here, but imagine if everyone took 12 days a year keeping their cars parked instead of driving? If you're in a company of 100 people, that could be 1200 driving days saved—or the equivalent of 4 years worth of office commuting for one person!
"Encourage staff to commit to taking alternative modes of transportation for their daily commute at least once a month. This can include options such as car-pooling, cycling, taking public transit or walking where possible." - DavidSuzuki.org
3. Turn off the lights after an office meeting
And shut down your desktops at the end of the day, not just putting them to sleep. "Get the members of your team into the habit of switching everything off at the end of the day and implement energy saving modes on everyone’s computers and monitors. Before you head home, make sure all of your office lights, equipment, kettles, and microwaves are turned off fully – by this, we mean switching off the plug sockets.
"More often than not, electrical equipment siphons power when in it’s in standby mode – so to ensure there is none wasted, switch them off and unplug at the wall. This will not only reduce your consumption, but also your electricity bills." - Inhabitat.org
4. Rearrange your office floorplan
This can be on a large scale or just in your own area. "Don’t put hot equipment, like photocopiers, near cooling vents. The cooling system will need to work harder to cool an area that is constantly being heated." And "don't block radiators." - ClimateCare.org
5. Buy EnergyStar-approved computers and office appliances
If you're in charge of device purchases for the office, you have a lot of power here. Pun-intended. "Purchase energy-saving models of office appliances and equipment, such as EnergyStar-approved computers, LCD monitors, printers and photocopiers. Not only will this help save energy, but it will save money too." - DavidSuzuki.org
6. Use e-signatures and digital documents instead of printed forms
Unless your company is legally obligated to print hard copies, make the switch to digital. "A great way to reduce paper use and get contracts and documents signed more quickly is to use electronic signatures. Adobe Acrobat Professional allows you to sign PDF files digitally, as well as create PDF documents with signature fields for clients to sign. Or you could use software such as DocuSign or e-signature to securely sign documents and get signatures from clients and vendors." - Ecopreneurist
7. Have a "veggie only" lunch menu once a week
This one could be a fun team-builder, and challenge the foodie's in the group to come up with creative dishes. You can kick it off with an office potluck. "Meatless Mondays can be really fun – but also somewhat controversial. It’s difficult to get everybody on board, but with some healthy persuasion, the right incentives, and good cooking, meat-free Mondays can not only reduce your emissions, but also perk everyone up at the start of the week." - Inhabitat.org
8. Get rid of individual garbage cans at desks
This tip also gets you out of your chair and standing more often, which promotes better posture and combats fatigue. "Ban bins at people’s desks, or introduce recycling facilities at convenient points throughout the office." - ClimateCare.org
9. Work with other green companies
Make this a consideration when choosing vendors. "Chances are, there are businesses in your area that are also going green or certified green. Network with them and use their services when you need them. Part of being a green business is making sure that you do your best to ensure that your supply chain is green, too. Seek out green vendors for your business needs, whether it be printing business cards, hosting your web site, or cleaning your office building." - Ecopreneurist
10. Make local green purchases
When buying supplies for the company, shop locally and prioritize products with lower environmental impact. "For some organisations, a large portion of their carbon footprint is as a result of embedded carbon emissions from their supply chain. Goods that are purchased by an organisation in effect have a carbon emission associated with them – the emissions from the production, transport, use and disposal of the good.
"Organisations with large supply chains could try reducing their carbon footprint by adopting sustainable procurement principles, such as purchasing eco-label products. Effective action to reduce a carbon footprint can save an organisation lots of money." - Sustainable Business Toolkit
MTS and Earth Rangers:
MTS maintains green initiatives as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility program, some of which include device recycling and repurposing, paper usage reductions and climate change mitigation.
In addition, MTS is partnering with Earth Rangers, whose mission is to teach kids more about the environment and ways to protect animals and nature.
MTS Future First will fund Earth Rangers to provide their educational outreach programming to eight schools in Manitoba starting May 2016. As part of the program, students can bring end-of-life wireless devices in for recycling, diverting electronic waste from Manitoba landfills. Proceeds from those recycled wireless devices will fund initiatives supported by MTS Future First that are focused on bettering the lives of youth in Manitoba.
For more on Earth Rangers, visit their website or watch the below video.
Do you have a creative way to reduce your business carbon footprint? Please share it in the comments section so we can all make for a happier Earth.
About the Author
Mark has been developing digital blog communities for 10+ years that connect business and tech pros with their inspirational stories. He developed a North American best practice on creating great experiences on social networks and spends as much time learning about entrepreneur success stories as he does producing content for others to enjoy. Mark is also a commercial photographer focusing on product and location images. His work can be seen at Wonderlab Photo.Follow on Twitter More Content by Mark Glucki