Ways to Reduce Your Office Carbon Emissions

Despite the ongoing climate crisis, office buildings still make up a large portion of the UK’s carbon emissions. In 2020, the UK Government found the average carbon footprint for a business to be 59.4 megatonnes, around 18.2% of the country’s total. 

The same survey also found that around 50% of customers were concerned about the environment. 

So what does this mean? The disparity between the general consumer attitude surrounding climate change and the actions companies make towards it shows a gap in values. Whilst we fully advocate for doing the right thing for your own beliefs, a lot of businesses are shying away from making any significant change. Maybe the customer statistics can change your mind. 

We’re not going to tell you what to do, especially when changing your habits can start to get expensive after a time. According to the British Chambers of Commerce, the main barriers found in getting businesses to become more sustainable were high upfront adaptation costs, and a lack of finance. But here are a list of small changes you can make to start your reduction journey.

  • Work (or bike) to work

27% of the UK’s total greenhouse emissions were made up by road vehicles, 68% of which were cars and taxis. Taking the bus can be a crucial change if you’re able, but biking or walking make a drastic difference. Ask your employer about the Bike2Work scheme, an incentive put in place by the Government to help cut transport emissions. 

  • Go paperless

Everyone and their grandma has received notifications from their bank informing them about their transition to paperless statements, so why not take their lead and do the same? To put it into perspective, an average office worker uses 20 reams of paper per year, and making 17 reams of paper uses 110 lbs of CO2. Printing one sheet of paper takes 5g of CO2. An average worker prints around 8,000 sheets a year. 

It’s understandable that, sometimes, using paper is unavoidable. So why not try a product like the Rocketbook, a reusable notebook, to cut down your paper usage? 

  • Delete your emails

Each email that gets sent produces 4g of CO2. While this number seems insignificant, a study found that around 319 billion emails were sent, worldwide, per day in 2021. A staggering amount, and a figure I don’t care to calculate for fear of it become too real. And the energy it takes to store an email adds up, too. 

If each person deletes 10 emails from their inbox completely, they each get rid of 17g of CO2. Estimating that 41% of the world has a computer, doing so would also remove 136,568,589lbs of CO2 world-wide. 

  • Switch to sustainable coffee

There are many ways in which coffee can have a major impact on your carbon footprint. In the 1970s, ‘sun-grown’ coffee (plants grown in direct sunlight) became popular, which meant vast swathes of forest were cut down. As a result, 2.5 million acres of land were deforested in Central America. 

That’s not to mention the amount of fuel it takes to transport the beans across the world. Making the switch to a sustainable coffee brand can help cut down your carbon emissions drastically. 

  • Reduce your lighting

According to Carbon Trust, at least 20% of all electricity in the UK comes from lighting, but many buildings still rely on older, less efficient bulbs. Switching to more energy efficient bulbs will help you save 70-80% electricity, and switching lights off when not in use can help reduce it even more. 

At the end of the day, all the little changes that can be made will, if we all do them together, build up enough to make a massive difference. Start small, think big