Carbon Audit: Why You Should Reduce Your Corporate Carbon Footprint
6 Mins Read
According to Our World in Data, since the Industrial Revolution, humans have contributed an estimated 1.5 million tonnes of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere. From famines to air pollution, the impact is apparent on our beloved Earth. The same institution also reports that, iIn Hong Kong, carbon emissions have seen a large decline from 2019, dipping from 5.6 tonnes to 4.22 tonnes in 20210.
In October 2021, the government announced Hong Kong’s Climate Action Plan 2050 in an effort to combat climate change, offering its collective solution to global warming. The aim is to further lower the footprint value, over 26% to 36% by 2030. Its decarbonisation strategies include switching to net-zero electricity generation, establishing greener buildings and transport, and promoting waste reduction.
A significant driver of this initiative lies in the hands of local companies.
To encourage corporations to be more mindful of their carbon footprint, the government set up a Carbon Footprint Repository for Listed Companies in Hong Kong. Here, companies disclose their carbon audit results, which strategically pushes them to reduce their emissions. GovHK states that over 80 listed companies have joined this initiative, as of January 2022.
Encouraging a carbon-neutral approach allows the region to lower its carbon emissions. Before understanding how you can make a difference with your carbon footprint reduction strategies, learning about what causes excessive carbon emission levels is a good starting point.
What causes carbon footprint in business?
Carbon footprint refers to the total volume of greenhouse gases emitted, measured in carbon dioxide units. In the business sense, it is an organisation's total emissions, otherwise called corporate carbon footprint.
From its definition, it is clear why carbon footprint is bad — the greater your footprint, the larger adverse impact you make on the environment. As a business owner, implementing solutions to reduce the effects of global warming, be they small or large scale, can introduce a lasting impact on the environment.
A business’ carbon footprint can be influenced by several factors. These include:
Continuous reliance on costly fossil fuels to generate power
The World Economic Forum also noted that the supply chain can account for over 80% of greenhouse gas emissions. This makes it evident that the vendors you work with also have a significant part to play in your overall corporate carbon footprint.
How does carbon footprint impact a business?
If you’re thinking why businesses should reduce their carbon footprint, consider the impact it would make:
1. Economic impact of corporate carbon footprint
When you have a high corporate carbon footprint, it is evident that you are paying more for energy. Instead of unnecessary expenditure, channel this capital to fund other areas of your business that matter more, from revenue-making developments to sustainability projects.
2. Political impact of corporate carbon footprint
In Hong Kong, environmental law is managed across specific statutes. For instance, the Air Pollution Control Ordinance regulates air quality while the Motor Vehicle Idling (Fixed Penalty) Ordinance prohibits idle vehicles from running to reduce air and noise pollution. The Environmental Impact Assessment Ordinance oversees the permits involved to carry out certain projects to manage adverse environmental effects. Enforcements are typically performed by the Environmental Protection Department, with sanctions that include fines and cancellations of permits. Complying with such regulations is necessary to operate lawfully in Hong Kong.
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3. Social impact of corporate carbon footprint
The Ethical Consumption Movement and zero-waste campaign in Hong Kong are clear indicators that the society is gearing towards more sustainable purchasing practices. Choosing to engage with more sustainable fashion brands and environmentally-friendly companies, for instance, shows that consumers are becoming more discerning and ethically-driven about their consumption choices.
Actively finding ways to reduce your corporate carbon footprint is one way to establish yourself as an eco-friendly brand. Setting yourself targets to achieve zero carbon footprint in the course of your business can also set yourself apart from a competitive market. Ethically conscious consumers would be more willing to purchase from you. On the contrary, they may boycott your brand if they find your products compromising the health of the environment.
How to reduce your carbon footprint?
Clearly, carbon emissions have a noticeable impact on business success. From investing time in carbon audits and proactively strategising reduction action plans, implementations are necessary to ensure your company can continue to progress. Here are some ways you can reduce your business’ carbon footprint.
1. Reduce energy consumption
Make the switch to energy-efficient light bulbs and you can notice the reduction in your energy costs. Opt for LED bulbs that offer better quality of light, longevity and lowered energy consumption compared to their traditional fluorescent counterparts.
2. Reuse & recycle
Choose to reuse and recycle your corporate assets such as laptops, monitors and office furniture wherever possible. Should there be assets your business no longer requires, donate or sell them to other organisations to give them a new lease of life instead of dumping them.
3. Review your supply chain
Your business partners, such as logistics vendors or warehousing partners, can influence your overall carbon emissions. Engage with more environmentally-friendly companies to reduce your corporate carbon footprint. This will also give consumers peace of mind knowing that sustainability is at the heart of your business.
How DHL Express is reducing its carbon footprint, for you
1. Green mile
Our investment of €7 billion for decarbonisation includes establishing the most energy-efficient fleet. This entails the use of sustainable aviation fuels as well as electrifying 60% of our last-mile delivery by 2030. DHL Express’ first ever all electric cargo plane is a step in that direction.
2. Green infrastructure
By 2030, we want our new buildings to be designed with the latest carbon-neutral architecture and engineering innovation. This also involves us introducing more sustainable energy sources to run over half our facilities in a bid to reduce our own corporate carbon footprint, and thus yours.
3. Carbon offsetting
By investing in climate protection projects of international repute, we can help you offset your corporate carbon footprint through our climate-neutral service, GoGreen.
4. Data tracking
Performing a carbon audit of your shipments lets you calculate your own carbon footprint. Our carbon reports offer end-to-end visibility of your supply chain, so you can benchmark your air, ocean and land carbon efficiency against sector standards.