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Becoming carbon neutral: how can businesses help the UK become more eco-friendly?

View profile for Faith Horne
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Ambitious targets for the UK to become carbon neutral by 2050 have been announced by the Committee on Climate Change, which is calling on the government to step up and lay down the law for the nation to proactively take steps to lower its carbon footprint.

Businesses are often blamed for having a lack of accountability and forward thinking when it comes to operating in an environmentally conscious manner. From the food industry and its collective overuse of plastic to ‘fast-fashion’ practices by clothing retailers, it’s important to take a step back from your business and see how changes could be made.

How can my business be more eco-friendly?

1. Encourage car-sharing

Reducing the amount of cars on the road is a fantastic way to reduce carbon emissions.  Whilst a lot of commutes don’t allow everyone to cycle or walk to work, sharing a lift with a colleague can be a good compromise.

2. Remote working

Although this will not be applicable to all businesses, allowing employees to work remotely from time to time will undoubtedly save you money regarding utilities but will also reduce the need for travel which consequently reduces carbon emissions.

3. ‘Paper-lite’ initiatives

Becoming a more eco-friendly business does not have to cost you money; in many cases it can actually save you money.

A great way of doing this could be by becoming ‘paper-lite’, as several departments at Roythornes have now done. This means that the vast majority of documents are dealt with in a digital format, saving money on not only paper but printing and postage, too.

However, if you do still need to print, reducing font size and printing double-sided can also make an impact.

4. Switch to LED lighting

At Roythornes, we’ve recently switched to LED lighting at our head office in Spalding, to both reduce our energy bill and our carbon footprint. This is certainly something that could be done bit by bit as you replace old bulbs and needn’t be an expensive chore for your business.

5. Replacing plastic bottles with glass

It’s no secret that offices get through milk like there’s no tomorrow, so why not switch back to glass bottles? This is another initiative we’ve put in place over the last year, following staff suggestions, and also quashes the other issue of recycling milk bottle tops.

A number of businesses have done the same, which has seen a real revival in the amount of milk floats seen out and about, many of which are now powered by electricity rather than fossil fuels.

6. Introduce charging points for electric vehicles

We’re already seeing a decline in the sale of diesel cars, and with plans to ban the sale of all fuel-powered vehicles by 2040, it’s fair to say that hybrids and electric vehicles will become all the more familiar.  So it makes sense to invest in charging points for use by employees and clients, just as Delta Simons have done.

It doesn’t take much to make a start!

The list of things you can do is fairly endless, and completely depends on the nature of your business.  If you sell a physical product, maybe think more carefully about how you could improve your processes and packaging to become more eco-friendly.

For the last few years Roythornes has achieved the Great Green Star award which recognises the good work we do as part of our Investors in the Environment accreditation.  You can find out more about the award here.

If your business is prepared to go to the next level or is looking to diversify into renewable energy schemes with wind turbines, solar farms or battery storage, be sure to get in touch.

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