How can your business 'Invest in our Planet'?

Tips to make your business more sustainable!

Author(s)
Amelia Lucas
Megan Potts
Topic
How can your business 'Invest in our Planet'?
Pledge
Become a sustainable business

The theme for this year's Earth Day is ‘Invest in Our Planet’, but what does this mean for your business?

Earth day is an annual event celebrated on the 22nd of April to promote and educate people on environmental protection. Every year, more than one billion people spanning across 190 countries get involved, making it one of the biggest civic observance events in the world (1).

When did it all start?

The Junior Senator from Wisconsin, Sir Gaylord Nelson, had long been concerned about the deterioration of the climate in the United States. In 1969, his concern turned into rage when he witnessed the massive oil spill in Santa Barbara, California. Combined with the student anti-war movement, Senator Nelson infused both energies to inform a public consciousness about air and water pollution. (2)

The theme for this year's Earth Day is ‘Invest in Our Planet’. This includes encouraging the political climate and the business climate.

But how can you ensure your business is investing in our planet?

At Greenr we have an easy 3-step process:

Step 1 is to measure.

As established at COP26, UK legislation now states that large companies must report on their carbon emissions by 2023 in line with the UK’s 2050 net zero target. (3) However, just 5% of companies are on track to achieve any targets that have been set. (4)

It’s not just the government that is putting pressure on companies to demonstrate their green credentials, it’s employees too. Studies show that ⅔ of people are more likely to work for a company with strong Green Targets (5). We are now seeing a transformation in workplace culture where workers are raising their voices to speak up and demand transformative change. It is no longer a matter of saying you care about the environment, businesses have a corporate responsibility to their employees to prove themselves to be sustainable.

Measuring your businesses carbon footprint is the first step on the net zero journey. With Greenr’s Business Calculator, it has never been easier (and it’s free!) to baseline your organisation’s scope 1, 2 and 3 carbon footprint.

What are Emission Scopes? Greenr explains:

Scope 1 covers direct emissions (any fossil fuels burnt on premises for example), scope 2 covers indirect emissions including electricity etc. Whilst scope 3 includes all other indirect emissions, including those of the employees which is often the biggest factor in an organisations carbon footprint.

Try it for free yourself! Greenr SME Calculator

Step 2 is Reduce:

Greenr for Business Calculator

Scope 3 emissions are why we created the Greenr app and dashboard which allows employees to measure their individual footprint, learn pledges that match their lifestyles to reduce emissions at source and then translates all this data into a web dashboard demonstrating the aggregated trends of the employees, allowing the organisation to track how much carbon they are saving.

As our CEO often says:

“The best tonne of offset you can purchase is one that has not yet been emitted”

We believe that reduction at source is the best way to prevent CO2e from being emitted into our atmosphere, thus helping to reverse the effects of climate change. As a business, it may seem daunting to change habits that have been in your workplace for decades. Though, by seeing the aggregated trends within the employee landscape, we are able to bring carbon saving pledges that are strategic, practical and engaging.

Here are some of our Greenr pledges to cut carbon within your company…

  1. Cycle to work! Did you know that cycling to work can save the average employee 600kg of CO2e per year? To put this in perspective, this is the equivalent emissions of powering over 100 homes for an entire day! For those unable to cycle, taking public transportation can also significantly reduce your commuting footprint. (6)
  2. Fly Economy! Switching from business class to economy saves 1.3 tonnes for a short return journey (2 hour flights) and 4.4 tonnes for a long return journey (6 hour flights)- that’s almost half the yearly average carbon footprint of someone in the UK! (6)
  3. Switch to renewables! Switching to renewable electricity for a small business (10-49 employees) could save an average of 4.2 tonnes per year. Not only is it better for the environment, it’s often cheaper too. (6)
  4. Change your coffee! Switching from regular coffee to fairtrade coffee can save an employee over 80 kg per year- not only does fairtrade coffee help the planet, it helps people too! (6)

Step 3 is Offset

And this may be a controversial one but hear us out. We know that businesses can’t change overnight and there are some emissions that will not be able to be cancelled immediately. So, for any emissions that simply cannot be reduced or for any historical emissions, offsetting is a great way to make your company that little bit Greenr. But, it is important to heavily research the offset project you desire before purchasing.

At Greenr we love trees, but we don’t solely plant them to offset your carbon footprint. We’ve got a few reasons for that. Trees are amazing carbon eating machines, but they need to get pretty big before they can capture enough carbon. In fact, a single tree can only offset 1 tonne of CO2 in about 100 years. That’s a pretty long time, and lots of things can happen to your tree. What if it’s cut down, or has a disease? In order to guarantee that the carbon you have offset is in fact offset we generally choose projects with a shorter “carbon buyback period”.

That's why 90.5% of our total offsets have been saved via investment in renewable energy projects. These projects are not only beneficial for the planet but for people too, stimulating economic growth, creating employment opportunities and reducing energy costs. Factors such as these contribute to a diverse number of development goals, our 9 projects support a total of 15 UN Sustainable Development Goals. (7)

As excellently stated by the Earth Day 2022 team, “We need to act (boldly), innovate (broadly), and implement (equitably). It’s going to take all of us. All in. Businesses, governments, and citizens — everyone accounted for, and everyone accountable. A partnership for the planet.” (7)

Keep an eye out for the Greenr Impact Report to see the steps we have taken and will continue to take to invest in our planet.

Sources:

[1] The Telegraph: Earth Day 2022 [2] Earth Day History [3] BEIS: Press Release [4] FT: BlackRock pushes companies to adopt 2050 net zero emissions goal [5] ‘Employees want climate-positive action from companies. Here’s how they can deliver’ [6] The Greenr app. [7] Earth Day 2022