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How to set a carbon reduction strategy for your small business

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By SSE Energy Solutions
18 August 2022

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If you haven’t already, we recommend using our free and easy-to-use carbon footprint calculator to understand where your business is on the journey to reducing carbon emissions and achieving net zero.

Now you have measured your carbon emissions, you can begin to plan to reduce these emissions in an affordable and effective way. Many companies begin by focusing on improving energy efficiency. It not only helps the planet, but it helps the purse as well, and makes change easier to implement. When you see that the financial numbers back it up, then there’s good reason to set a bold carbon reduction goal, such as ‘Become a net zero business by 2030.’ With the right information on how to reduce your carbon emissions and the will to do it, there’s no reason why this isn’t achievable.

In practical terms, creating a carbon reduction strategy means you will need to measure your company’s carbon emissions regularly, at least every twelve months. Your 2022 carbon emissions measurement will serve as the benchmark by which you compare your future efforts. You’ll be able to present your carbon footprint calculator results year on year to explain how your carbon emissions are falling and hopefully, how carbon efficiencies in your business are rising.

Making small changes to reduce your business’s emissions

With a strong commitment to reducing carbon, you’ll then need to identify areas where you can make changes in the short and longer-term. You’ll be surprised how some innocuous-looking actions offer up quick wins that will really affect the bottom line. By quick wins, we mean those actions that are easier to implement.

  1. Switch to 100% renewable energy
    Where heating and lighting are your most carbon intensive activity, switching to a green provider could see a dramatic reduction in your carbon emissions.
  2. Make sure everyone turns off appliances
    Leaving computers and other appliances on stand-by costs money in the long run and is a serious carbon emitter.
  3. Change your premise’s light bulbs to LEDs
    Did you know that a traditional 100-watt incandescent bulb costs approximately £13 a year more than a similar strength modern LED?
  4. Install a smart meter
    Ask your business energy provider to install a smart meter, preferably in a visible place like the staff kitchen or reception area. Smart meters work by helping you see the energy you use in real time.

Setting long-term plans to reduce your business’s emissions

Seemingly small changes can have a significant impact on reducing your business’s emissions and improving your bottom line. But if you’re serious about becoming a sustainable business, you’ll need to think of your long-term goals.

  1. Consider your digital carbon footprint
    Internet usage contributes hugely to the world’s carbon emissions. There’s a growing consensus that web design can and should be carbon neutral. The average website (which receives on average 10,000 views per month) can produce over 800kgs of carbon per year.
  2. Make an official pledge
    If you are really ambitious for change, you could explore the pledge more and more businesses are taking to reduce their emissions using a globally-recognised set of science-based targets.
  3. Explore the sustainable grants and loans available to businesses
    The funding available depends on where you are in the country but you can get support for things like installing an EV charging point at your premises.

These commitments to change might not be as costly or time consuming as you think. And they’ll put you firmly on the road to achieving your bigger goals. The world of net zero is dynamic and exciting. By implementing several small but effective actions, as well as bolder strategies and commitments, you’ll be well on your way to becoming a truly sustainable business.

If you found this page useful, check out our small business sustainability hub for more free tools, tips and expert advice.

Please note, SSE Energy Solutions has written this blog for information purposes only. We recommend speaking to your own business and financial advisors before taking any direct action that will impact your business.