15 July 2020

5 easy ways to reduce or offset your company's climate footprint

Strong environmental credentials are no longer the ‘icing on the cake’ for companies; they are a cornerstone of brand values, and can greatly impact new business opportunities.

Most organisations know they could be doing more to cut their carbon footprint, but aren’t sure where to start. This can lead to inaction, when even small changes can make a significant difference.

To help more companies manage their impact on the environment, Voyage Manager has put together a list of five simple things that will help to calculate and reduce a firm’s climate footprint:

1 – Calculate current climate contributions

As the ancient proverb says, the journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. In the case of climate change, that first step is for companies to calculate their current carbon footprint.

The simplest way to do this is by investing in climate impact technology, which integrates with travel tracking software to calculate the environmental consequences of every business journey taken by every member of staff.

Analysing this data will allow firms to see which travel activities make the largest climate contributions, and therefore need to be addressed first. A good technology provider will even be able to support companies with strategic recommendations for change, based on these data insights.

2 – Cut out unnecessary journeys

One very easy way to create fewer emissions is to make fewer journeys – but often companies have difficulty understanding the full scope of their corporate travel activities, in order to start cutting back.

Using travel tracking technology will help managerial staff across every department to see how many business trips are made by their team over a period of time, by whom and why, to identify and put a stop to unnecessary travel.

Delving into climate impact data will quickly show where companies could dial into a video conference or telephone call instead of travelling to a face-to-face meeting, and both virtual options are effective, greener alternatives.

Even if some members of staff need to meet someone in-person, there may be occasions where groups are travelling unnecessarily. A better alternative is for one or two people to represent the organisation, sharing their progress with the wider team on their return.

3 - Choose greener travel methods

Companies always have a choice when it comes to corporate travel. This choice may not be whether the trip itself goes ahead, but they can still decide what methods of transport staff use to reach their destination.

For example, flying is a particularly ‘dirty’ form of travel. Yet many businesses default straight to booking short haul flights for domestic trips, when train travel could work just as well – with a much lower environmental footprint.

If flying is the only option, there are certain aircraft – including the Boeing 787, 737 Max, Airbus A20neo and A350 – that produce fewer emissions than older aircraft, and therefore should be prioritised for flight bookings. And if more than one person is making the trip, perhaps colleagues can travel to the airport together, to reduce mileage?

Additionally, senior personnel should encourage staff to choose greener transport options during the course of their trips, such as taking public transport instead of taxis.

4 – Incentivise internal improvements

Any type of corporate scheme works best when its driven by employees, not dictated to them, so it’s important that companies work with their teams to encourage internal initiatives.

For example, many organisations have enjoyed great success with cycle or walk to work schemes, particularly if they offer to subsidise staff bike purchases. Others have encouraged staff to work from home once a week in order to cut company travel emissions by up to 20%.

More ambitious initiatives that organisations have adopted include installing electric vehicle charging points in the office car park. In the UK, the government offers financial support for this under the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) to help companies cover the cost.

While strategic travel changes tend to have the biggest impact on corporate carbon footprints, transport campaigns can be supported by in-office programmes to become a greener business. Popular options include refiling and recycling ink and toner cartridges, encouraging staff to make their own lunch rather than buying pre-packaged foods, and turning off all lights and devices while not in use.

5 – Launch a carbon offsetting programme

It is notoriously difficult to become a zero-waste business, but there are ways that companies can offset their reduced environmental footprint, in order to become carbon neutral.

Popular carbon offsetting schemes include the planting of trees, or collaborating with carbon capture suppliers. Working with a climate impact technology provider can help to get this type of scheme off the ground, as they will be able to recommend a suitable partner and help to run the programme.

Corporate climate change: how and where to start

There’s always more that companies can be doing to reduce their impact on the environment – often the challenge is knowing how and where to start.

Benchmarking current climate credentials is the best way to understand how drastic change needs to be, and where improvements can make the biggest difference. This type of benchmarking is easiest achieved through climate impact tools.

The right software will use business travel tracking technology to calculate a company’s total environmental footprint over a period of time, and which elements contribute most to climate change. A good software provider – like Voyage Manager – will then be able to make recommendations for improvement, to simplify the process of reducing and offsetting carbon emissions.

To calculate and reduce your carbon footprint, book a free Voyage Manager demo.