Improving Your Company’s Carbon Footprint After Lockdown: A CEO’s Perspective
Across the globe, businesses and consumers alike are becoming more conscious about their impact on their environment. And a small silver lining resulting from the COVID-19 climate is that it has given business leaders time to pause, consider their environmental footprint and re-evaluate their approach to sustainability where necessary.
Moreover, since lockdown measures were introduced and non-essential travel banned, the UK’s daily carbon emissions have fallen by more than a third, water pollution reduced and eco-systems around the world are flourishing. However, this poses the question as to what organisations can do to shift their daily operations to more eco-friendly processes once the lockdown restrictions have been lifted.
To shed light on the issue, James Dutton, CEO and founder of PATCH and its parent company, Nutricare, a certified B Corporation, shares his advice for business leaders on how to improve their company’s carbon footprint and continue this sustainability transformation going forward.
Embrace remote working
A key lesson businesses have learnt from the COVID-19 crisis is the value of remote working. For instance, road transport emissions alone account for around a fifth of the UK’s greenhouse gas emissions, while employees spend an average of 221 hours commuting each year. To reduce the impact of commuting on the environment once the current travel restrictions are lifted, business leaders should embrace remote working practices, enabling employees to work from home more often and hosting virtual meetings where possible.
Implementing a cycle-to-work scheme and encouraging employees to take up this option by providing facilities in the office to store their bicycles and to change and shower is another means to cut commuter emissions among their workforce.
Offset travel emissions
That said, there will undoubtedly be times when business travel is essential. There are a range of carbon offsetting initiatives that businesses can introduce. For instance, at Nutricare, each year we aim to offset all of our corporate travel by planting trees, and there are many other impactful ways you can contribute such as drilling holes for clean water or funding solar panels, which can go a long way to mitigate the impact of this on the environment.
To reduce the impact of commuting on the environment once the current travel restrictions are lifted, business leaders should embrace remote working practices.
Provide sustainable goods and services
Ultimately, businesses have a responsibility to embrace more ethical ways of delivering services or producing products to create greater choice for consumers who want to reduce their impact on the planet. This effectively means sourcing goods and services that are produced in a sustainable way, are non-toxic, recyclable, or that are made from renewable materials.
At Nutricare, our mission is to change the existing pharma-market and challenge traditional associations with chemicals and adverse effects. There is an outdated stigma of natural products not being as ‘effective’ as mainstream alternatives. As technology and innovation progresses alongside investment in the natural space, it results in products that are better for everyone. We are reducing our global footprint by offering low wastage, chemical-free, sustainably sourced materials that minimise effects on the environment.
For instance, we have created PATCH strips, a highly effective and sterile Class 1 Medical Device made from sustainable bamboo fibre that does not use toxic chemicals, plastics, latex, or silicon and is completely compostable – including all packaging.
This was achieved by vetting over 45 different suppliers, researching and trialling hundreds of varying textiles, materials, and ingredients, and reviewing more than 100 different designs and prototypes. For us, it was imperative that all materials were sustainably grown, farmed, and tested and held to strict certification standards.
In addition, with excess waste resulting in more landfill and harm to our precious environment, it is important that businesses either reduce their packaging where it is not needed or make use of recyclable or biodegradable alternatives. For example, we have made the packaging for PATCH 100% compostable, so once consumers have finished using the product, they can simply place it in their home compost and see it decompose within 10 weeks.
Strive for a B Corp Certification
It has become clear that good corporate citizenship is no longer an option, it is an expectation – both from customers and employees. A B-Corp certification recognises the highest standard for social corporate responsibility and environmental impact, measuring a company’s entire social and environmental performance. It requires certain commitments such as reducing carbon emissions, and fair labour, setting the bar high.
Attaining the certification is one thing, but the application process in itself exists as a blueprint for where to start. It raises questions and probes into aspects of your company that you may not have considered before and prioritises best practice transparency above all else.
A B-Corp certification recognises the highest standard for social corporate responsibility and environmental impact, measuring a company’s entire social and environmental performance.
Becoming certified can help to position a business as a leader in sustainability, demonstrating that they are meeting the highest standards of verified performance and advancing business practices that strengthen communities—from sustainability to employee wellness.
Moreover, the benefits of achieving this certification are vast, from building trust with customers and employees, to staff retention and happiness, helping to ensure long-term business success.