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7 tips to reduce your company's carbon footprint.

Updated: Nov 20, 2023


The carbon footprint has been much talked about since the early 2000s. The concept has become more popular, particularly following the 1995 Kyoto Protocol, which saw 184 countries commit to reducing their greenhouse gas emissions.


What is carbon footprint?


The carbon footprint is an indicator of greenhouse gas emissions, mainly CO2. It can be calculated for a territory, an individual or a company.


The more CO2 there is in the atmosphere, the more the planet is warming up! It is therefore necessary to act quickly to limit this phenomenon and its consequences such as the destruction of biodiversity or the rise of water levels.


Even if in France, the carbon footprint per person has remained globally stable since 1995, population growth leads to a continuous increase year after year. In France in 2019, the carbon footprint was estimated at 663 million tons of CO2, or 7% more than in 1995[1].


While households obviously have their role to play, it is also the duty of organizations and especially companies to address the problem. Import, production and even digital pollution, all these activities inevitably lead to the emission of greenhouse gases.


So how can you reduce your corporate carbon footprint? Discover 7 tips to help you reduce your emissions:


1. Limit business travel and encourage public transportation or carpooling


According to the International Energy Agency, the transport sector accounts for a quarter of the world's CO2 emissions, 75%[2] of which are caused by road transport alone. Of course, airplanes are the most polluting means of transportation, while trains are the least polluting.


For business trips, think about using the train, but also carpooling. As far as your commute to work is concerned, the best thing to do is to take public transport or a bicycle! Many cities support this trend and offer subsidies for the purchase of a bicycle.



2. Promote short food circuits


In turn, food accounts for nearly a quarter of the global carbon footprint. Agricultural production is the main cause, especially livestock farming, but not only, since transportation is also the cause of 20% of greenhouse gas emissions related to food.


The solution? Favouring short food circuits. According to a survey conducted by the HuffPost and the YouGov Institute, 83% of respondents are ready to "make efforts to reduce the environmental impact of their plate.[3].


But it doesn't stop there! To limit your impact even further, choose organic and seasonal products and reduce your meat consumption. Meat at every meal is not necessary. Why not introduce a meatless day in your company?



Even if the carbon footprint linked to energy consumption remains difficult to quantify, it has a strong impact. So, it is important to take the problem head on!


First of all, it is necessary to limit energy consumption. To do this, all tips are good: reduce lighting, turn off standby devices, reduce heating ... The ADEME offers a list of ten simple things you can do to save electricity in your business.


Digital pollution is a phenomenon that is becoming more and more widespread with the development of the Internet and new technologies.


In addition to the ecological impact linked to the production of our electronic devices, the use and storage of our data consumes a lot of energy. Approximately 10% of the world's electricity is consumed by the Internet alone, making it the 3rd largest consumer of electricity in the world after China and the United States.


Think twice before sending an email to your colleague in front of you, because an email containing an attachment of 1 MB, emits 19 g of CO2. So sending 20 emails a day pollutes as much as driving 100 km by car.


4. Encourage telecommuting


Faced with the health crisis that we have been going through for several months, the number of French people who have to telework has increased considerably. This practice was until now less widespread but it allows to make many savings. In addition to reducing stress, telecommuting would reduce greenhouse gases, by reducing travel by nearly 24%. When we know that 7 out of 10 employees in France use their car to go to work, this means that 3.3 million trips are avoided each week[4]. Emissions generated by cars alone in France would thus be reduced by 1.3%.


To calculate how many kg CO2 you avoid, but also how many hours you save by teleworking, use the ADEME tool below (in French):


5. Reduce the use of paper


As you have known for a long time, the use of paper should be avoided, especially in companies where its consumption can sometimes seem unlimited. Paper represents 75% of office waste. However, a standard A4 sheet of paper requires 5 liters of water to produce. When you know that it is recommended to drink about two liters of water per day...


So avoid unnecessary printing, prefer double-sided printing, black and white and recycled paper.


6. Keep your equipment longer or buy it second-hand or reconditioned


Digital pollution includes the carbon footprint linked to the use of our electronic devices, but also to their production. Thus, about 70% of the ecological impact of a smartphone or a computer is linked to its manufacture.


To fight against this, there is only one solution: increase the duration of use of our devices. Whether it's a smartphone, a computer, a printer, a photocopier or a scanner, these devices can still be used. And if not, try to get them repaired!


To further reduce your company's carbon footprint, a good solution is to buy reconditioned or second-hand equipment. Some websites like Greentraders offer refurbished equipment for all professionals.


It's practical, ecological and also economical!


7. Engage your employees


Finally, the best solution to fight against global warming is to do it all together! To do this, there is no secret: you must involve your colleagues and employees in your ecological approach. Your employees sometimes lack information and don't think they have the time to get involved. Sometimes they also wonder about the impact of their efforts on a global scale.


Provide them with knowledge through training or workshops on the subject. Give them the means to be greener at the office, by giving them access to sorting bins for example or to a compost.


Everyone should feel concerned by environmental issues, and for that it is necessary to explain each gesture and its impact.


There are many solutions to limit our impact on the environment


Sorting, not throwing away cigarette butts, using power strips, saving water and paper, sorting waste, using compost, avoiding certain products, coming to the office by bike, reducing meat consumption... Everyone has the power to act in their own way and according to their means.


The company must play an educational role and allow everyone to become aware of its impact on a daily basis. This awareness is a phenomenon that takes time and requires going slowly. It is not a matter of imposing rules in your company, but rather of taking it as a game and building a sense of pride and unity around common values.


Sources [1] https://www.statistiques.developpement-durable.gouv.fr/empreinte-carbone-2 [2] https://www.iea.org/topics/transport [3] https://www.huffingtonpost.fr/entry/sondage-alimentation-concessions-que-sont-prets-a-faire-les-francais-dans-leur-assiette_fr_5e4ebebfc5b615cb7bdc36c1 [4] https://www.leparisien.fr/environnement/pollution-le-teletravail-meme-ponctuel-reduirait-les-emissions-de-gaz-a-effet-de-serre-02-07-2020-8346054.php




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