It’s something the whole of the UK is beginning to do after the Government announced its intention to reach a target of net zero carbon emissions by 2050.
So, what is a carbon footprint? A carbon footprint measures the direct and indirect impacts of human activity on global warming, by calculating the greenhouse gas emissions of these activities, usually stated in tonnes of ‘CO2e’, or carbon dioxide equivalent.
Why are we working to reduce our carbon footprint?
Whilst it is challenging knowing where to place your lens and time consuming process, not least in collecting the necessary data, the benefits can far outweigh the short-term challenges of implementing a decarbonisation strategy. For example, Regent’s University London spent two years focused on waste reduction, energy, water, transport, bio-diversity, culture, legislation and office premises. They achieved net cost-savings of £110,000, developed a more sustainable relationship with the environment through the interaction with their people and estate – with contributions at levels from directors to teachers, students to gardeners.
But ultimately, this is about staying true to our sustainable ethos. We aren’t perfect, and we know we have a long way to go. As well as its carbon footprint, all businesses have areas they can improve from an environmental impact perspective, from how it uses energy, water and materials to how it engages in education and communication. We recognise that, if we want the world to embrace the benefits of our sustainable chilled packaging, it’s also vital that we do our best to reflect those sustainable goals – and show that it drives business success.
That’s why Woolcool is one of the only packaging companies of its type in the UK to be a certified B Corp. B Corporations are a growing group of global companies who are reinventing business, by pursuing purpose as well as profit. Woolcool has been certified by B Lab as having met rigorous social and environmental standards which represent its commitment to goals outside of shareholder profit.
Understanding and ultimately reducing our carbon footprint seems like a natural step for business following the B Corp purpose, and for any business conscious of their impact on the planet for that matter.
Where to start in measuring your emissions? When reporting on a carbon footprint it is helpful to define different areas of emissions. These are usually defined under three categories, or ‘scopes’:
Scope 1 emissions are all direct – meaning they are emitted from the organisation’s owned or controlled sources, including fuel combustion on site such as gas boilers, generators or fleet vehicles.
Scope 2 emissions are indirect emissions from electricity purchased and used by the organisation.
Scope 3 emissions incorporate all other indirect emissions that result from activities performed by the organisation, from sources that they do not own or control. This includes any emissions from, for example, business travel, or goods or services purchased by the company. Scope 3 usually covers the largest share of the carbon footprint of most organisations.
All of this effort can result in benefits for your business going forward. For a start, bringing your carbon footprint down can attract funding and investment, and help you identify cost-saving opportunities. A happy workforce results in higher productivity, which saves money, and, ultimately, translates into a more satisfied customer. It can also help develop new USPs to separate you from competitors and provide new marketing opportunities.
Then there is the small matter of protecting the planet!
The fact is, the world’s journey to zero carbon has begun, and the UK Government is serious in its intentions about hitting net zero by 2050. It’s worth investment now, for the future. At some point, businesses will be pushed to improve whether they want to or not, so why not start the journey sooner rather than later?
The Woolcool team have already started to see the benefits of this focus, and haven’t even completed our analysis yet. We have also seen an increase in those requesting information about our Carbon footprint.
So, if you are thinking about reducing your carbon footprint, here are a couple of tips from our learnings so far:
– Focus on one area of the business first, before expanding, and take your time. It won’t happy overnight.
– Be open with your partners about what you are trying to achieve, and remember to ask for help when you need it.
– Find a strong partner to hold your hand through the process – we chose Green Element, a fellow B Corp listed on the Digital Marketplace as a trusted provider of carbon calculation and benchmarking software to the public sector.
You can start your carbon footprint journey on their website – Compare Your Footprint.
Woolcool is a business built on an ethos of sustainability, creating chilled packaging solutions from natural materials. But with that ethos comes the knowledge that we have a long way to go and can always do more. Our Carbon Footprint journey is in its early days, and well, frankly, never be complete as its a continual cycle of improvement. However, getting stuck in with the initial whole business analysis will allow us to measure where we need to improve, and how we can achieve this. To achieve Net Zero, we need to know our starting point, and the groundwork we have put in so far are the first steps on our journey to that goal. What this space, it’s just the beginning!