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How to measure and reduce your business's carbon footprint

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In this increasingly environmentally conscious era, understanding your business's carbon footprint is not an option — it's a necessity. Whether you're a small enterprise or a multinational corporation, reducing your carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions is an essential step towards sustainable operation.

This guide provides ways to measure and reduce your business's carbon footprint and underscores the importance of aligning with eco-responsible partners in your sustainability journey. Keep reading to discover effective strategies and valuable insights that can help your business become a part of the climate solution.

Understanding what carbon footprint is

Firstly, it's crucial to comprehend what a business's carbon footprint entails. In a nutshell, it's the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gases released into the atmosphere as a result of your company's activities. This often includes emissions from transportation, production processes, energy usage in offices and buildings, and more.

The importance of reducing these emissions cannot be overstated, meaning it's imperative to understand the impact of your business on the environment. Looking into the decrease of your business's carbon footprint is a necessary first step, but in order to do that, we must understand the source of the emissions, which can be divided into three categories:

1. Energy consumption and production - This includes electricity used in office buildings, powering machines, and other energy-related activities.

2. Transportation and logistics - This includes the emissions from trucks, planes, ships, cars, and other modes of transportation used to move products and people around.

3. Materials and resources - This includes the emissions from the production of raw materials, packaging materials, and other resources used in the production and delivery of products. This is also known as Scope 3 or supply chain emissions.

Measuring your business's carbon footprint

Once you understand the sources of your business's emissions, the next step is to measure them. To do this, you'll need to calculate the amount of CO2 emitted from all three categories mentioned above. This can be done by using a carbon footprint calculator, which allows businesses to assess their environmental impact quickly and easily.

Once you have your calculations, you can use them to create a carbon reduction plan. This should include an assessment of the most effective ways how you can reduce emissions in each of the three categories and set goals for future reductions. 

It's also important to note that there are various government incentives available such as tax credits and grants which can help businesses finance their sustainability initiatives and, in the process, green their bottom line.

Reducing your carbon footprint

With an understanding of measurement, we can explore the various strategies for reduction.

1. Energy Efficiency

The initial strategy entails reducing energy use. This can be achieved by purchasing certified energy-efficient equipment, programming thermostats to operate only during working hours, and maximising natural sunlight for lighting, which can substantially reduce your carbon footprint.

2. Renewable Energy and Carbon Offset Initiatives

Considering renewable energy, such as solar or wind power, or investing in carbon offset projects like reforestation, can minimise CO2 emissions. These strategies offer diverse and effective ways for businesses to lower their carbon footprint, aligning with global sustainability goals.

3. Sustainable Transportation

Transportation regulation is another strategy that can dramatically reduce a business's carbon footprint. Advocating carpooling, reducing air travel, transitioning to electric or hybrid company vehicles, and embracing public transport are all strategies that can contribute to fewer emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases.

4. Waste Reduction

Furthermore, eliminating waste where feasible can significantly reduce a business's carbon footprint. Transitioning from paper to digital documents, instituting recycling programmes, and minimising single-use plastics are all efficacious ways.

5. Water Conservation

Water conservation constitutes another essential step in reducing a business's carbon footprint. Periodic repair of leaks, decreasing water heater temperatures, and investing in water-saving appliances and systems can contribute to water use and emission reduction.

6. Employee Engagement

Importantly, involving employees in sustainability initiatives can result in a significant reduction in a business's carbon footprint. Hosting sustainability workshops, introducing rewards for environmental initiatives, and fostering a platform for employees to share ideas can make a significant difference.

7. Use of ESG Software

Employing ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) software can simplify managing and reducing your business’s carbon footprint. It enables businesses to monitor energy usage, promote waste reduction, provide clear reporting options, and benchmark against competitors.

8. Sustainable Suppliers

Lastly, before we discuss partnerships, aligning with sustainable suppliers is a practical strategy for businesses aiming to curb indirect (Scope 3) emissions. Suppliers possessing an ISO 14001 certification stand out in this respect. This certification serves as a reliable indicator that these suppliers are conscientiously measuring and reducing their carbon footprint.

ISO 14001 establishes the criteria for an environmental management system, providing a framework that any organisation can adopt to foster effective environmental stewardship. Not only does a collaboration with ISO 14001-certified suppliers bring about environmental benefits, it also ensures credibility in the eyes of internal and external stakeholders. This approach, therefore, contributes both to the environment and to the positive image of your company.

Implementing a sustainable approach with DHL

At DHL Express, our enduring commitment to environmental sustainability is essential to our operations. We are at the forefront of efforts to reduce the environmental impact of international logistics-related emissions, positioning ourselves as an invaluable partner in your journey towards reducing your business's carbon footprint.

Choosing DHL Express for your overseas shipping needs isn't just a business decision — it's a pledge to the environment. Our eco-conscious approach can not only streamline your international shipping process, it will also lead to benefits such as cost savings and an elevated public image — a win-win situation for your company and the planet.

Now, more than ever, the time for action has arrived. At DHL Express, we've made it simpler for businesses to step onto the path of sustainability. By signing up for a business account today, you join a community of companies making a tangible difference in their carbon emissions. With DHL Express, you can also harness the power of environmentally responsible shipping, transforming your business into an active participant in preserving our environment. Don't wait — act today for a better, greener tomorrow.