27 ways to shrink your carbon footprint

15. Change your energy supplier

Switching to a green tariff takes a few minutes but it could be the biggest carbon-cutting decision you’ll ever make.

The big power companies have (finally) woken up to green tariffs, but specialist providers like Ecotricity, Good Energy and Green Energy are usually no more expensive, 100 per cent committed to green energy and are actively investing in creating new renewable energy supplies. Go with them.

16. Insulate your workplace

Don’t yawn. Cavity wall insulation could save you a packet and a huge amount of wasted carbon. Around 30 per cent of all your office heat is lost through the walls. Check out the Energy Saving Trust to see if your building needs insulating.

17. Win kitemarks

How can you prove your carbon credentials? Winning the ISO 14001 environmental quality standard shows that you’re truly practising what you preach.

There are also other accreditations, such as the BREEAM scheme and Penguin, which is developed by not-for-profit water company Belu.

18. Don’t fly…

Business travel accounts for 25 per cent of all flights and up to 50 per cent of a company’s total carbon emissions. It’s not just about your staff, either. How much of your supply chain relies on air transport?

Organic food box company Abel & Cole upholds a strict “no fly” policy. “We never air-freight produce,” says director Ella Heeks. “It generates around 30 times more carbon dioxide than sea freight.”

19 …When technology already has the answers

Video conferencing cuts the carbon and increases the amount of time employees can spend doing productive work (when they would otherwise be hanging around at the airport). UK gas detection company Honeywell Analytics uses video conferencing at least twice a week, and reducing travel costs is just one reason.

“Video conferencing means you can still carry out your business dealings as if you were in the same room as each other,” says network manager Simon Turner. The kit doesn’t come cheap, though. For a budget alternative, try Skype’s free video calling.

20. Clean your supply chain

Consider the carbon impact of your purchasing patterns. Buy recycled, low-impact supplies, or go vintage and buy recycled office furniture. You can pick up loads of second-hand office paraphernalia for nothing at www.uk.freecycle.org. If you do want to buy brand-new, make sure any wooden furniture has come from renewable stocks. Look out for the Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) kitemark.

21. Redesign your product

Can you make your existing product range more efficient? Fulleon, which manufactures emergency “break glass” units, worked with government advice agency Envirowise to simplify its product.

The result: a one-third reduction in the number of parts, plastic consumption, assembly time and packaging used in its design process. The consultancy service cost the company £97,000. But with annual savings – through reduced materials and labour costs – standing at £92,650, they’ll be making savings after just 13 months.

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