Companies are finally realising that action needs to be taken towards climate change and the majority of the FTSE 100 companies have now signed up to the UN’s Race to Zero campaign.

This pledge to achieve net zero carbon emissions by 2050 inspired the UK government to also launch an ambitious strategy to try and make the economy greener and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.

With all these big companies leading the way (and they should do), it should hopefully leave small businesses inspired to do their bit too. However, when we speak to fellow small business owners, they get stressed at the thought of this sort of action, as they don’t have the budget of big companies and they already have enough to deal with in a small business.

Small businesses do not have the luxury of having someone dedicated to ESG strategy or a “Head of Sustainability”. However, there are still lots of ways to reduce your carbon footprint as a small business and hopefully this article will give you a few ideas of how!

Recycle

Now, we’re not just talking about the standard plastic bottles, but we’re thinking about recycling in the larger scheme of things. Companies are often getting the latest tech in all the time and not really thinking about what happens to their old equipment. You can donate your old tech to charities such as the Little Lives children’s charity who do free collection of your things in London.

But on the topic of “normal” recycling, it’s actually more confusing than you think. People mindlessly throw any sort of plastic into the recycling bins, but if they’re not recyclable, it can contaminate other items. Each area will have a guide to recycling. For example, here’s our Tower Hamlets’ guide to recycling.

Buy Second Hand

Do you really need a brand new everything in the office? You could buy many items second hand and you wouldn’t even notice. For all your tech, there are places like Back Market, and then Gumtree and Preloved for most other things!

Reduce Company Travel

Smaller business generally have less overseas travel, but those who have international clients will still find themselves jetting abroad for business meetings. First of all, evaluate whether the trip is even necessary – can you do your meeting over a video call?

And if you are travelling abroad, can you perhaps get there by rail instead?

Make the Commute Green

For those who have staff coming into the office, you can drastically help your team’s carbon footprint by encouraging people to get public transport into work instead of by road. If that’s not possible due to the office’s location, then implementing a Cycle to Work Scheme, or encouraging staff members to switch to an electric vehicle could be another option.

There are lots of tax benefits to companies surrounding electric vehicles now too.

Switch to Renewable Energy Suppliers

Obviously, the best option would be to go solar-powered, but not every business is going to be able to do that and so switching to renewable energy suppliers is a good idea.

However, ensure that you use one backed by REGO certificates. Perhaps also look our for suppliers with a 14001 ISO Certification, as this means that they’ve proven a commitment to environmental management.

Switch to Green Hosting

Naturally, we’re going to throw this one in here as a creative agency following sustainable web design practices. But also, we ensure we provide green hosting for all our clients – completely run on 100% renewable energy.

It doesn’t take long to make the switch, and it isn’t even more expensive. This makes a huge difference on your website carbon score.

Go Paper-Free

In this day and age, there isn’t really too much need for printing. You can digitally sign certificates, get all your bills electronically and use digital advertising instead of print.

However, if there is a need to print, then use recycled paper wherever possible… including in the bathroom!

Reduce Food Waste

Team lunches can actually negatively impact your carbon footprint! Too much food is always wasted and many companies end up just throwing that food away. Perhaps introduce vegan lunches to encourage everyone to get on board or at least “Meatless Mondays” or something similar. 18% of global emissions are associated with livestock agriculture.

Educate Your Staff and Your Clients

One of the most impactful things you can do is help to educate others on what contributes to your carbon footprint and steps they can do to reduce this. Get your whole team involved in sustainability efforts and perhaps even create a friendly competition to see who can reduce their impact the most.

Likewise, inform your clients about the things they can do and offer to help them do it too! Not only is this great for the environment, but it makes you a much more caring supplier.

Fund Climate Impact

While we don’t think it’s good enough to just offset carbon you emit, we do think that it’s something you should do in addition to the points above.

We use Ecologi to plant trees and also to offset our carbon and ensure that we are a climate positive business.

We also plant trees under the client’s name whenever they sign a new contract and also when they pay an invoice. This way, we can encourage them to hit their ESG goals.

We’ve even gone as far as taken the Million Tree Pledge, and we still have space in our No Bullsh*t Forest for any small business who wants to take the pledge but feels 1 million trees is too much to do it alone. We’re here to help!