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Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Benefits You and the Environment

morris, hayley, impact sustainabilityWhen you accidentally step on a dog’s tail and it yelps, you immediately get off the tail to ease that pain as quickly as possible. The dog’s yelp is its way of telling you that you are hurting it. In a sense, global warming is our planet’s way of telling us to get off its tail. Obviously, where the environment is concerned, the consequences for not easing the pressure are far greater than that of a dog, however we seem much more reluctant to do so. By easing the pressure on the environment, I mean reducing the amount of air pollution largely contributed to by CO2e emissions into the atmosphere.

Effective carbon management strategies along with corporate social responsibility provide us, as individuals and as businesses, with the foundation to ease that pressure and reduce the size of our carbon footprint that is stamping down on the tail of our beloved environment. Until recently as a society we have been coasting along the same old road, consuming every part of the environment we can possibly get our hands on without any regard for or awareness of the damage we may be doing to it.

Since the introduction of the term “global warming,” however, we have managed to increase awareness and accountability for CO2e emissions, but there is still a lot of work to do. Businesses are now beginning to realize that the importance of environmental sustainability is not just an influential factor on society’s long-term future as whole but it also plays a large role in decision making among consumers. For this reason businesses are investing more time and resources into developing corporate social responsibility.

To put it simply, corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a company or business showing that it cares for the community, its employees and the environment. It creates transparency for a company by intentionally communicating its inner workings with the community in order to create a positive image. CSR is a great way for businesses to reduce their impact on the environment and in doing so will also create better business and increase potential consumers.

The first thing that a business needs to do in order to achieve this is to determine the size of its carbon footprint. There are many different methods and carbon footprint calculators available for companies to do this. Despite which avenue a business chooses to venture down, they mostly end up with similar results. Despite whether the result ends up calculating that a business has a large carbon footprint or small one, doing this provides a company or business with a starting platform from which further action or non-action can be taken.

Carbon footprint calculators take into account all things associated with a business that contribute to CO2e emissions, both direct and indirect. Direct emissions are basically the amount of CO2e emissions that are contributed by a business’ assets such as motor vehicles, photocopying, computers, lights or products that it consumes in order to maintain its day-to-day workings. Indirect emissions are those things that contribute to CO2e emissions indirectly. Things such as desks, chairs, or the building itself do not contribute to CO2 emissions, however carbon emissions were released into the atmosphere in order for these assets to be produced, and in consuming these assets a business (or an individual) has indirectly contributed to those CO2e emissions. Carbon footprint calculators take into account all of these different variables associated with a businesses day-to-day workings and provide quality feedback on what sort of impact that business is having on the environment.

Determining the size of a businesses carbon footprint provides them with a starting point, which they can use as a base to implement effective carbon management strategies and create CSR. In today’s day and age, we realize that we need to take our foot off the tail (or rather the neck) of the environment and loosen the strangle hold to allow it to breathe.

Carbon emissions are the largest contributor to air pollution, which is suffocating our environment. It is therefore critical that businesses and individuals start to implement effective carbon management strategies, some as simple as turning off the lights when you leave a room and recycling, so that we can reduce our negative impact and help sustain the environment for future generations.

Hayley Morris is director and founder of Impact Sustainability, a company that provides quality advice and services for those looking to calculate and reduce their carbon footprint. Visit the website at http://impactsustainability.com.au/.

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3 thoughts on “Reducing Your Carbon Footprint Benefits You and the Environment

  1. Corporate Socal Responsibility is growing in its acceptance in the business community as recent studies show that more consumers are basing their purchasing decision on the public’s perception of a company’s CSR.

    One of the primary areas where businesses can improve their carbon footprint is in the modernization of its buildings and equipment – also known as – sustainabile building retrofit – as commercial buildings consume most of the energy, contribute to undue consumption of potable water and add tons of recyclable waste to our landfills annually.

    The good news is that sustainable retrofits are becoming financially feasibility with reduced up-front costs and increased savings improving ROIs and shortening payback periods.

    Business owners as property owners and tenants can reduce their carbon footprint, improve their market image and leave a building stock which is able to sustainably house future activities for future generations to come. It is a win-win situation for all.

  2. It would be helpful to those of us in a small business (say, 15 or fewer employees) if the US Department of Energy would issue practical yet doable guidelines for a business to reduce its carbon footprint… that is beyond lowering the air-conditioning in summer and the heat system in winter. Small businesses don’t have time or money to invest in a “sustainability report” as we are too busy trying to stay in business.

  3. A great article, and I really enjoyed the stepping on a dog’s tail analogy. If you don’t mind, I’ll be stealing that for when my clients ask why they should start thinking about energy efficiency, which if done correctly can contribute very positively to the reduction of the carbon footprint of a building, as has been seen in many of our energy modeling of retrofits on the building envelope.

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