Nic RedfernJuly 29, 2019
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8min700

Over the last decade, there has been a noticeable change in the way society perceives the environment.

Having seen the impact pollution and carbon emissions is having on the ecological system, consumers and businesses alike are adopting new practices in a bid to sustainably manage the planet’s resources. 

As a result, consumers are increasingly making the conscious decision to engage with companies that are actively supporting environmental initiatives, or who have adopted greener practices. According to a global survey by Nielsen, 81 percent of consumers feel strongly that companies should actively help improve the environment.

For a business, adopting greener work ethics isn’t just good for the planet – there are also cost-reduction benefits that arise when pursuing more eco-friendly objectives. As someone who has worked closely with companies large and small, I have seen first-hand that with careful planning, reducing an organisation’s carbon footprint can have significant cost-efficient outcomes and reduce unnecessary expenditures.

This might appear easier said than done, so let’s consider some ways that companies can take steps to reduce their carbon footprint and reap the cost-benefits that could arise from this change. 

What is a carbon footprint?

While the term is becoming more commonly used in day-to-day life, what exactly do we mean by the phrase ‘carbon footprint’ when applied to businesses? In simple terms, a carbon footprint is the best estimate of the total amount of greenhouse gas emissions produced to directly and indirectly operate a business.

A business’ carbon footprint could therefore be the emissions produced in the manufacturing of a product, or the amount of electricity consumed by a company to facilitate its daily operations. Importantly, regardless of the product or service being offered, there are a number of simple ways that businesses can cut down on greenhouse gas emissions. Indeed, this task has become much easier now thanks to technological innovations that can streamline and simplify operations.

Lowering a carbon footprint doesn’t have to be needlessly complicated. In fact, it can be as simple as switching to a renewable energy supplier.

Some widely used energy providers offer renewable energy solutions, with many of these backed by REGO (Renewable Energy Guarantees of Origin) certificates. To cut down on excessive energy usage and find a cleaner alternative, be sure to seek out solutions with REGO, which guarantees that the origin of the energy supplied is renewably resourced.

What’s more, besides helping businesses become more sustainable, embracing energy efficiency can also deliver energy cost savings. To find the best deal on business energy prices, be sure to compare tariffs on online comparison websites to find one best suited to your needs. 

Re-evaluating daily practices and educating staff

Awareness is at the heart of change, so it’s important to ensure that all staff members are well-versed in the simple steps they can take at work to reduce carbon emissions. Holding staff education initiatives is a great way of spreading awareness about environmentally damaging practices, and the solutions available to address these.

Utilise existing and readily available tech

Did you know that the pulp, paper and print industry accounts for 3.1 percent of Europe’s total energy consumption? The environmental impact of paper is significant, even with growing recycling efforts.

To combat this problem, businesses need to be aware of the impact printing and extensive hard copy record-keeping can have on the environment and be encouraged to reduce the amount of paper they consume. The advent of cloud computing has paved the way for this, allowing businesses to offer digital versions of documents in computerised management systems which can be accessed at any time, and in any place.

Reassess work commutes

It’s also important not to overlook the indirect contributions to an organisation’s carbon emissions, including those which arise from staff commuting to and from work every day using cars. Technological advances in connectivity mean than employees can now work efficiently from home, removing the need to venture into the office every morning.

Xerox recently followed this path and designed a Virtual Workforce Programme to use the benefits of working from home as a means to both run a productive company and benefit the environment. Through the programme, 11 percent of its workforce work from home full-time. But how does this translate to tangible results? Through ‘telecommuting’, Xerox managed to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 40,894 metric tonnes.

Alternatively, if possible, staff should be encouraged to cycle or walk to work – not only will this reduce potential carbon emissions, it will also encourage a healthier lifestyle for employees. So, for businesses keen to make the necessary changes to reduce their carbon footprint, promoting remote working should be high on the priority list.

Reducing a company’s carbon footprint doesn’t just have a positive impact on the environment – it can also deliver huge energy savings by helping to identify ways to reduce costs and consumption, and ultimately improve their operational efficiency. The above suggestions are but a handful of solutions that can be readily adopted. As such, I would encourage businesses of all sizes to explore ways that they can reduce their carbon footprint, and at the same time evaluate how they stand to benefit from the cost saving potential.


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJuly 25, 2019
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3min840

A majority of young British customers say they would reconsider their spending behaviours if retailers were better at communicating the environmental impact of their purchases.

In new research from inRiver, 1,500 UK consumers between the ages of 16-44 were quizzed on sustainable shopping and buying preferences, and 69 percent said product information detailing the sustainability and environmental impact would make them more likely to purchase.

Meanwhile, 66 percent of people who would purchase products from abroad if they were a cheaper price said they would reconsider this if retailers shared more data and product content about the environmental impact of delivery.

This increased transparency would encourage 60 percent of buyers to reconsider the number of purchases they return. With the issue of ‘serial returners’ costing UK retailers an estimated £20bn a year, providing consumers with a greater awareness of the environmental implications of deliveries and returns could save businesses millions while having a positive impact on the environment

One-fifth of consumers said they only buy sustainable products. Overall, when assessing the key factors considered when committing to a purchase, sustainable packaging (six percent) and materials (six percent), ethical production (five percent), and carbon footprint of delivery (four percent) were all listed the most important, accounting for 21 percent in total. Unsurprisingly however, price (41 percent) and quality (25 percent) dominated consumer preference as the key purchase drivers.

Eco factors are growing in importance for consumers, as 63 percent stated they would stop using a brand due to its detrimental impact on the environment. Moreover, just under half of consumers (47 percent) would be willing to pay more for upcycled products or those made from recycled materials, such as Adidas’ 100 percent recyclable trainer. A further 43 percent would buy these products, but would be unwilling to pay more.

Steve Gershik, CMO at inRiver said: “These findings attest to the importance of environmental considerations for today’s savvy consumers. Buyers want to know that the purchases they make and delivery methods they are sustainable, and are looking to retailers to support these choices. It’s up to businesses to harness this increasing trend and ensure the product information they provide gives consumers a clear picture of what to expect and the impact it may have.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 26, 2019
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2min791

A majority of UK customers would switch to a direct to consumer (DTC) subscription service for everyday high street purchases, according to a new survey.

Research by Rakuten Marketing reveals 69 percent of British consumers would choose a subscription delivery service for goods including cosmetics, household cleaning products, and health supplements if available.

Rakuten previously found that DTC subscription brands such as Birchbox, SimplyCook, and Dollar Shave Club were enjoying a conversion rate of one in every five customers who had heard of them.

The latest survey reveals that in the UK, price (71 percent) and product quality (50 percent) continue to play by far the most important role in driving a purchase. However, being ethical (17 percent) and sustainable (16 percent) also now rank among the top demands among consumers looking to buy from one of these DTC brands.

Anthony Capano, Managing Director EMEA at Rakuten Marketing, said: “Now these DTC brands have become successful international businesses, they will encounter rising pressure to act as ‘good global citizens’. Legacy brands like Waitrose have very effectively leveraged consumer interest in sustainability across the media with attempts to minimise packaging. This is certainly an area that could put DTC brands – many of whom rely on packaging and transporting each product individually – on the back foot.”


Paul AinsworthPaul AinsworthJune 7, 2019
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2min1029

A significant number of UK employees would refuse a job offer with a firm they felt was neglecting sustainability.

That is the findings of a survey of 1,000 office workers commissioned by TopLine Film. Conducted to mark the UN’s 46th World Environment Day, the poll found that 24 percent would turn down a job over a lack of green ideals in an organisation, while a majority – 73 percent – feel their current workplace could make sustainability improvements.

Almost a third (31 percent) don’t think their workplace is environmentally sustainable, while when asked whose responsibility it is for an eco-friendly workplace, the majority (72 percent) said it was incumbent on employees themselves to push for improvements. Twenty-four percent felt this responsibility fell to the CEO, and 17 percent cited HR as the appropriate department to take action.

When asked what their workplaces currently do to address sustainability, the most popular activity was recycling office waste (50 percent). Others cited policies to reduce paper usage (29 percent); reminding staff to reduce energy consumption (29 percent); using energy efficient fixtures (27 percent); hosting virtual meetings to reduce travel time (26 percent); and encouraging reusable kitchenware (24 percent).

Jamie Field, MD of TopLine Film said: “Establishing environmentally friendly practices in the workplace is simply good for business. Attracting and retaining employees is as good a motivation as any other to get your company thinking about sustainability. But a sustainable mindset starts from the top – it’s only fair that those in charge show their commitment to the cause, and implement policies that encourage sustainability at work.”




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