UK business sustainability efforts: learning from the world’s most environmentally conscious countries
Experts from the commercial LPG division at Flogas discuss environmental strategies UK businesses can look at implementing to help meet ambitious targets
There is simply no hiding that our planet is under great pressure. From rising sea levels to increasingly warmer temperatures across the globe, climate change is having a serious impact on the well-being of our environment.
In this respect, governments around the world are taking action to limit damages to our surroundings. The UK, for instance, has already begun its race towards a legally binding net zero target, which must be reached by 2050. To start with, and to stay on track, the UK has to halve its emissions by 2030.
While the UK’s efforts are already bearing fruit, as we top the global charts in marine-protected areas and clean drinking water, there are also many other countries paving the way in the field of sustainability. According to World Atlas, Denmark, Luxembourg, and Switzerland are currently the world’s environmental leaders. With reduced traffic and air pollution, as well as careful recycling and waste management, they are playing a substantial role in safeguarding our planet.
But it’s not all down to the governments. As businesses, we have a duty of care towards our surroundings too. What can your company do to actively emulate eco-friendly countries? What strategies can you implement to help the UK meet its ambitious targets?
Create a green workplace culture
As a business owner, you should always aim to lead by example. Sharing your ambitions and desire to favour an environmentally conscious workplace can set the tone for your whole team.
In Scandinavia, where sustainability goals are often on top of people’s agendas, companies tend to be very collectivist. This means that managers extend their own green mindset to their business culture and encourage their employees to follow similar eco-friendly practices. These can be simple steps such as switching off lights in unoccupied rooms, cutting down on unnecessary printing, and reducing avoidable food waste.
Therefore, not only is it important to have staff that can perform their jobs to a good standard, but it is also vital that a team holds the same green ideals as you. Following the example of Japanese multinational Sony, you may want to consider offering your workers some volunteering opportunities too. From protecting the planet to helping disadvantaged people, you will be promoting valuable activities to benefit the environment and vulnerable groups.
Compensate for your business’ emissions
Carbon offsetting is one of the most efficient strategies for companies to minimise their carbon footprint. By compensating for your business’ emissions, you can actively balance out the impact you are having on the planet.
Sometimes, using energy is simply inescapable. Whether it is heating the office, downloading crucial documents, or charging electronic devices, there will be inevitable situations in which you will be releasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Carbon offsetting, in this sense, can help even things out.
In fact, funding green projects elsewhere can reduce the impact of emissions in the workplace. From supporting renewable energy programmes in poorer countries to financing forest preservation, there are numerous ways to make up for your own ‘pollution’. Google parent company Alphabet, for example, has managed to wipe off its lifetime carbon footprint by buying high-quality carbon offsets.
Embrace technological innovation to shrink wasteful practices
Another tool in favour of sustainability is the increasing development of technology. Green countries across the world are relying more and more on technological innovation to tackle climate-change issues. Not only can it give you an edge over competitors, but technology can truly help your business shrink its wasteful and damaging practices.
Innovative software and equipment may be challenging to grasp at first. But it is also fair to say that its advantages outweigh any kind of drawback. To stay in line with companies from leading environmental countries, you should ensure that your own business is introducing technology as a staple of its policy.
Encourage staff to use biking schemes and routes
As mentioned, Denmark stands on the podium of the world’s most sustainable countries. Its capital city, Copenhagen, is also one of the planet’s greenest cities. From vending-style machines that reward recycling contributions to electric buses and roads devoted to bicycles, the Little Mermaid’s birthplace is taking all the right steps.
As a business, why not take inspiration from Copenhagen’s promotion of bike routes and schemes? Instead of hopping in your car to drive to work, you could pedal from your home to the office. Public transport or – if you live close enough – a morning stroll are excellent options too. Again, as an owner or manager, you can act as a model and encourage your employees to cycle or walk as well.
By doing so, you will be actively reducing the number of cars on the street, decreasing road congestion, pollution, and both you and your staff’s carbon footprint.
As countries across the globe, including the UK, strive to nullify their carbon emissions in the coming decades, businesses can have their say in sustainability efforts too. Taking a leaf out of green nations’ books, ultimately, can aid your surroundings and limit your company’s impact on the environment.
Main image credit: LeoPatrizi / Getty Images