In today’s environmentally conscious world, businesses of all sizes are increasingly aware of the importance of reducing their carbon footprint. For small businesses, implementing sustainable practices benefits the planet and can lead to cost savings and improved reputation. One crucial aspect of sustainability is measuring, reporting, and reducing emissions. 

This guide will explore how small businesses can effectively tackle this challenge.

Understanding Emissions

Emissions typically stem from various sources, including energy consumption, transportation, waste management, and production processes. By identifying these sources, businesses can pinpoint areas where emissions can be reduced most effectively.

Measuring Emissions Using Data

Accurate measurement is the foundation of any effective emission reduction strategy. Small businesses can start by assessing their energy consumption and carbon emissions using tools such as energy metres and emission calculators. These tools provide valuable data that businesses can use to track their progress over time and identify areas for improvement.

Businesses should consider conducting a greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions inventory to comprehensively assess their carbon footprint. This inventory takes into account all sources of emissions, including direct emissions from fuel combustion and indirect emissions from purchased electricity and other sources.

Sharing your plans

Once emissions have been measured, and strategies for emission reduction have been decided,  businesses should consider how they will share their strategies and goals with their customers, stakeholders and employees.  Demonstrating your commitment to sustainability will enhance your business’s reputation and environmental credentials.

In larger businesses, reporting on emissions can take various forms, from simple internal reports to more comprehensive sustainability reports following internationally recognised frameworks such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) or the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP). Regardless of the format, the key is communicating emissions data clearly and accurately, highlighting progress made towards emission reduction targets and how your business plans to reduce these further.

Recent changes mean that more than 6,000 Australian Business entities will be required to report under new climate-related disclosure requirements in the next few years, so starting on this journey now may save bigger businesses some pain down the track.

Setting Targets and Goals

Small businesses should set ambitious but achievable emission reduction targets to drive meaningful change. These targets can provide a clear roadmap for action and help hold your company accountable to itself and your customers for its sustainability efforts.

When setting targets, businesses should consider factors such as their current emissions baseline, industry benchmarks, regulatory requirements, and stakeholder expectations. Targets can focus on reducing emissions, increasing energy efficiency, transitioning to renewable energy sources, or implementing other sustainable practices.

Implementing Reduction Strategies

With emissions measured, reported, and targets set, it’s time to implement reduction strategies. Small businesses can take a multi-faceted approach to emission reduction, incorporating measures such as:

    • Reducing landfill: Be conscious of what you are throwing out, ensuring that you recycle, reuse or repurpose as much as possible. This helps you reduce the amount of rubbish you create.

    • Be conscious of your energy usage: When purchasing new appliances for your office, consider energy consumption. Take note of the appliance’s energy rating and efficiency. While the initial purchase may be greater, an energy-efficient appliance may lead to future savings and reduce carbon emissions.

    • Consider GreenPower:  Talk to your Energy Retailer about GreenPower options that may be available to you.

    • Consider using Green options when travelling: Reduce your travel footprint, by offsetting your flights and taxis by choosing green options if available.

    • Reduce packaging:  Review the amount and type of packaging you or your suppliers use for your products.

    • Reduce your freight use: Review how much freight you use in your business Can you fit more into your trucks and containers? Can you use fewer trucks or trips, can you find suppliers that are local?

    • Support a greener future: There are many ways to support cleaner energy, and many energy retailers are active in improving their green offerings. Next Business Energy partners with energy efficient companies to form the Next Green Group, working towards a cleaner energy future.

    • Opt for ethical suppliers: Every financial decision a small business makes matters. Choosing ethical suppliers who support environmentally friendly initiatives can make a considerable difference in your carbon footprint.

    • Minimise your digital carbon footprint: Physical supplies are not the only important environmental considerations, with online activities a significant aspect of a business’s carbon footprint. There are simple things you can do, including compressing images to reduce website energy usage and opting for green web hosting. Reducing your website’s energy usage also speeds up your site, making it more user-friendly and potentially leading to sales.

Conduct an energy audit to understand your business’s energy consumption and start making a difference today. 

Monitoring and Reviewing Progress

Emission reduction is an ongoing process that requires regular monitoring and review. Small businesses should track their progress towards targets, identify any barriers or challenges, and adjust their strategies accordingly. By fostering a culture of continuous improvement, businesses can ensure that their sustainability efforts remain effective and impactful over time.

Taking Action Towards a Sustainable Future

Taking steps to reduce emissions is a significant step for small businesses that are genuine in their commitment to sustainability. By understanding your emissions footprint, setting targets, and implementing reduction strategies, your business can reduce its environmental impact, achieve cost savings, enhance its reputation, and contribute to a more sustainable future for all.

At Next Business Energy, we’re committed to supporting small businesses on their sustainability journey. Contact us today to learn more about our business energy solutions and how we can help you reduce your emissions and achieve your sustainability goals.