Last week I wrote about celebrating small businesses doing good things. It made me realise all businesses can do good, and it doesn’t need to cost a lot.
It is not an easy time for business. With inflation more than 9% and expected to rise to above 13%, rising costs across supply chains will continue to squeeze everyone. Businesses will look where they can save costs to keep the lights on.
I suspect sustainability and carbon footprint reporting may be one of the first things to be dropped. Becoming more sustainable can cost money in the early stages, even though it can reduce costs long-term. This doesn’t matter. Businesses are focusing on the now, not the future. It is about getting through the current challenges.
Becoming more sustainable, or at least understanding your business carbon footprint, doesn’t need to be expensive. You don’t need to pay for a carbon accounting platform, you don’t need to pay for a certificate to say you’re doing a good job, you don’t need to spend loads of money on a big consultancy to do the work for you.
The key is to be fractionally better, every day.
So, what can you do?
First, ask yourself a list of key questions about your business:
- What do we do? How do we do it? Where do we do it? What comes in our door from suppliers? What goes out the door to customers? How do the customers use our product or service?
Answering these question helps understand your supply chain at a high level. It may be simple. However – understanding your supply chain helps understand where the emissions come from.
Second, learn. Learn about carbon reporting, learn about being more sustainable. The internet is full of information to help businesses measure and reduce carbon. Plenty of it here on the FNZ platform.
Read about the different types of emissions, read about scopes 1, 2 & 3, and different greenhouse gas protocol categories, read about how simple it is to calculate the emissions from a business activity such as your energy or water use, or waste and recycling. Go to our 101 section for all this information for free now.
Third, start measuring. Start taking the data you have in your business and start calculating the emissions from your activities. Start with the big stuff, start with the things you believe will have the biggest carbon footprint. For example, ask yourself, do we know how much energy we use and waste the business produces each month? If yes, then you can use the ‘greenhouse gas reporting: conversion factors’ to calculate the associated carbon. It explains in the document how a business should do it. If no, can you find out?
Once you find the information, you can start calculating your carbon from the associated activity using a simple spreadsheet. This helps put a number on something. You can see something tangible. You can set real targets and monitor any changes.
You may not be able to calculate everything. There are not many businesses out there calculating everything, so don’t worry if it isn’t perfect yet.
Fourth, set reduction targets and monitor. Set a realistic target that you think you can achieve in the next year or few years. Continue to monitor your footprint, month on month to see how it changes. During this time, you can start making small adjustments to your practices, seeing what works and what doesn’t.
Fifth, ask for help. If you’re struggling with any of this, ask others around you, your suppliers, local businesses, business groups, friends, family. There are people out there wanting to help. Sustainable practices shouldn’t be a nice to have.
We want more sustainable businesses. The knowledge is available, it is about finding the right people to help.
I can be one of those people for any business wanting help.
If you have any questions, want to chat about carbon reporting and reduction, or any other net zero topics, please get in touch.