The idea of going carbon neutral can be intimidating for any company, big or small. There are so many aspects of business operations that produce a carbon footprint and the idea of assessing those, evaluating them, and calculating total emissions is daunting at best. Yet, this needs to be done. Companies can no longer ignore the issue of sustainability when transportation (including the transportation of raw materials and finished products) contributes to 29% of total greenhouse gas emissions and industry contributes 22% of emissions.
One of the biggest obstacles for a company, at least in the minds of C-level executives, is the idea that the cost of cutting emissions will be too high. It turns out, this is not the case. In fact, becoming carbon neutral can actually save a company hundreds, even thousands of dollars.
How to save dollars by becoming Carbon Neutral
These savings come from a number of different aspects of business operations and how these reflect on the company’s image and reputation. With that in mind, let’s take a look at where companies can save big money by going carbon neutral.
1. Lower energy bills
Reducing energy consumption translates into lower energy bills. It’s that simple. And these energy savings can really add up. Take hospitals, for example. Hospitals that reduce energy consumption and waste production can save as much as $15 billion over a ten-year period. Reducing energy costs can be accomplished by doing things like:
- using energy-efficient light bulbs;
- allowing employees to work from home some or most of the time;
- installing solar or hydroelectric power;
- conserving water;
- cutting waste production;
- going paperless or using eco-friendly paper products.
2. Less financial loss due to employee turnover
People want to work for companies that are making a difference, not just a company that is concerned about the bottom line. This is particularly true of millennials. One study has shown that a company that is sustainable can reduce employee turnover by as much as 50%. Employee turnover costs a company a significant amount of money. One source puts the cost at as high as 213% of the employee’s salary. Another puts it at 1.5-2 times the employee’s salary.
Either way, by cutting their employee turnover rate, companies can potentially save tens of thousands or even hundreds of thousands of dollars each year. This is money associated with things such as advertising job postings, conducting interviews, screening, training, and the lost productivity that comes with replacing an employee who leaves the company.
3. More productive employees
Not only are sustainable companies more likely to hold onto employees, they are also more likely to have more productive employees. Companies that are eco-friendly have employees that are 16% more productive than average. That translates into more work getting done in less amount of time and that, in turn, helps a company save money in terms of project costs and energy usage.
4. Less money spent on transportation
When a company greens its logistics, it is looking at considerable savings. Even if you are spending more for environmentally friendly fuels, you will be saving money through things such as:
- reducing the amount of packaging used for products;
- making shipping routes more efficient;
- consolidating shipping so more truck space is used, and fewer runs need to be made;
- driving more slowly to reduce fuel consumption;
- keeping the fleet in tip top shape so trucks run more efficiently;
- using solar power on ships that transport goods long distances;
- minimizing the need for warehouse space.
Buying carbon offsets
Making changes to your energy usage and greening your logistics takes time and money – lots of both. While these changes are necessary and will save money in the long run, they may not be feasible in the short-term. However, companies have an alternative. They can purchase carbon offsets as a way to cancel out the emissions they create every year.
Carbon offsets are essentially investments a company makes toward the production of green energy or the planting of trees to form a carbon sink, thus eliminating carbon from the atmosphere. The cost of carbon offsets has been proven to be less expensive than many of the changes required to reduce a company’s carbon footprint, so taking this route will result in savings for your company, while still ensuring it goes green.
Ultimately, you want a combination of reducing your emissions and buying carbon offsets for the emissions you do produce. Having said that, purchasing carbon offsets is a way your company can make significant changes quickly and at a cost savings. However, to buy carbon offsets with the goal of becoming carbon neutral, a company needs to know how much their emissions are. This is a complicated calculation, which is why using a CO2 calculator is your best bet.
If you are ready to calculate your carbon emissions, click here to check out our CO2 Emission Calculator.