April is Earth Month... and around the world workplaces are taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint.
A carbon footprint is an environmental measure of the total greenhouse gas emissions. Climate change is one of the most significant effects of increased greenhouse gas emissions (caused primarily by carbon dioxide released from burning fossil fuels like oil, coal and gas).
A strategy for reducing your carbon footprint in the workplace educates everyone about climate change and promotes environmentally-friendly workplace processes and work behavior.
Here are practical and cost effective ways to reduce carbon footprint for businesses.
- Install energy efficient lighting (LED or other energy-saving light bulbs). Switch off lights when not in use either manually or through automatic sensors.
- Purchase energy-saving models of office equipment such as computers, LCD monitors, printers and photocopiers.
- Better insulate the physical workplace with energy efficient windows and doors. Seal gaps in floorboards.
- Encourage everyone to switch off all of their equipment at the end of the workday. Plug desk equipment into power bars, which make it easier to turn off everything at once.
- Manage heating and cooling systems intelligently. Turn the thermostat up or down by one or two degrees depending on the season – to reduce energy demand. Set the thermostat up or down by 10 to 15 degrees at night when no one is around.
- Keep all equipment well maintained and at their highest efficiency.
- Promote sustainable travel. Rather than drive, encourage employees to bike, walk, or take public transportation. If driving is necessary, help employees coordinate carpooling.
- If the workplace has a fleet of vehicles, use the most energy-efficient models possible, such as electric cars.
- Work with local vendors to minimize fuel usage, or partners who utilize fuel-efficient vehicles.
- Ask employees to work remotely from home occasionally or when it makes sense. Be sure security software is up-to-date on all mobile devices and office computers.
- Reassess business travel requirements and consider video conferencing instead of air travel. Invest in good video conferencing technology.
- Adopt a sustainable procurement policy such as purchasing eco-label products.
- Work with partners who are committed to recycling and using sustainable or recycled materials.
- Partner with companies that have a sustainable policy as well. For example, document destruction leader Shred-it has made its truck fleet more environmentally-friendly through technologies that help reduce emissions and fuel consumption.
- Review your company’s packaging of products. Are items over-packaged, and can packaging be reduced?
- Only print out documents if absolutely necessary. Use the two-sided print feature. Reduce paper usage by converting as much as possible to digital.
- Put a recycling program for cans, plastic, and glass, in place.
- Donate used office equipment, such as computer monitors or old furniture, to non-profit organizations.
- Be sure that paper recycling is a secure process that protects confidential and private information. Partner with a trustworthy document destruction company that guarantees paper is recycled once it has been securely shredded. The company should provide locked consoles so that disposing of paper is convenient and simple.
- Don't let old electronics end up in a landfill. Rather than tossing out old and legacy computers and other electronics (which puts confidential information on hard drives at risk), speak to your document destruction expert about having them securely destroyed and recycled.
Don't choose between security and sustainability. Follow along, step by step, to see how secure document destruction can be environmentally friendly too.