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Top 3 Changes for creating a Sustainable Business

Top 3 Changes for creating a Sustainable Business

Sustainable business, or a green business, is an enterprise that has minimal negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy.

 

Sustainable business, or a green business, is an enterprise that has minimal negative impact on the global or local environment, community, society, or economy—a business that strives to meet the triple bottom line. … It has made an enduring commitment to environmental principles in its business operations. Wikipedia

Carbon Dioxide (CO2) emissions is the largest contributor to climate change, so it makes sense to concentrate on ways to reduce our emissions at every level of business.  This includes all the way down the supply chain, operations, and end of life.

We are currently dumping 110 million tons of manmade global warming pollution into the atmosphere every 24 hours.  This comes from many sources, but the biggest contributor is CO2. And it is the easiest to control. 

Transportation, Energy and Food are the top sources of CO2 and a part of every business, whether home based or large corporation.  Let’s look at some ways we can reduce our impacts and create sustainable business.

Transportation

 

According the US EPA, emissions from transportation (cars, trucks, commercial aircraft, railroads, etc.) account for 29% of total US greenhouse gas emissions, making it the largest contributor.  Transportation is very much a part of every business, from the exploration of raw materials to make products we use every day, to manufacturing process, to delivery.  Each step along the way uses fossil fuels in various types of vehicles.

Light duty vehicles (cars and vans) account for 59% of those emissions, followed by medium and heavy-duty trucks at 23%. 

Sustainable Business Solutions – Transportation

  • Initiate a ride share program for employees
  • Give incentives for riding public transportation
  • Switch the fleet to electric vehicles or fuel-efficient vehicles
  • Don’t buy more vehicle than you need
  • Maintain vehicles for maximum mileage and teach drivers to not speed or practice rapid acceleration
  • Hold video conferences more often to reduce meetings that require travel, even in town.
  • Use electric Lyft or green taxis if you do need to get to a meeting (if not available in house)
  • After you have done all you can to cut emissions, invest in carbon offset activities

 

Electricity

After transportation, electricity production generates the second largest share of greenhouse gas emissions.

In 2017, the electricity sector was the second largest source of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, accounting for 27.5 percent of the U.S. total. Greenhouse gas emissions from electricity have decreased by about 5.2 percent since 1990 due to a shift in generation to lower- and non-emitting sources of electricity generation and an increase in end-use energy efficiency. – US EPA

 

Sustainable Business Solutions – Electricity

  • Switch all lighting to LED.  US Department of Energy states that LED lights use 75 – 80% less energy than incandescent bulbs and 65% less than halogen.
  • Switch to a renewable energy source. It reduces energy bills and protects you from price fluctuations.
  • Turn off what you don’t need and use occupancy sensors to automatically turn off lights.
  • Upgrade to more energy efficient equipment.
  • Laptops use less energy than desktop computers.
  • Weatherproof the building and offices.
  • Utilize natural light whenever possible.

Best to get an energy audit that will find areas in your business to reduce energy use.

 

Food

While food may not be a part of your business model, it is a common thread among all your employees.  Food has a very large carbon footprint due to emissions produced by growing, rearing, farming, processing, transporting, storing, cooking and disposing of food you eat. Each household in the US produces about 48 tons of greenhouse gases. The world’s food system is responsible for about ¼ of greenhouse gases generated by human activity. 

Reducing food waste is one area where you can reduce emissions in your sustainable business practices. 

 

Sustainable Business Solutions – Food

 

  • Invest in reusable dishes, silverware, cups, and napkins.
  • Use ground coffee from sustainable sources and not the disposable one use cups.
  • Require all meetings to use reusable tableware
  • Order only what will be eaten to eliminate waste
  • Plant based foods have about half the carbon footprint as a meat diet.

Creating sustainability policies can look to these three areas to make the biggest impact.

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