6 Steps to Achieve Carbon Reduction for Businesses

Last updated: May, 2023

6 Steps to Achieve Carbon Reduction for Businesses

The climate is changing.

Since 1880, average global temperatures have increased by about 1 degree Celsius, and global temperature is projected to warm by about 1.5 degrees Celsius by 2050.

To combat this, initiatives like the Paris Agreement and the UN Sustainability Goals encourage businesses to work towards net zero and slow down global warming.

However, you don’t need to sacrifice profitability to meet sustainability standards. Understanding how to reduce your carbon footprint can reduce operation costs, attract more customers, and boost your bottom line.

Sound like something you want? Here’s how to achieve carbon reduction for businesses.


6 Steps to Achieve Carbon Reduction for Businesses


Embarking on a journey to reduce carbon emissions is a strategic decision that can steer your business toward sustainability and innovation.

From measuring and understanding your current impact to implementing long-term solutions that resonate with your workforce and your bottom line, these steps will help your business achieve carbon reduction.


Step 1: Measure Your Carbon Footprint


The first step in your carbon reduction journey begins with understanding your current impact on the environment.

Start assessing your carbon footprint according to Scope 1, 2, and 3 emissions to give your business a baseline to improve.

Some things you’ll need to measure include:

  • Electricity, natural gas, and water use.
  • Fuel usage from company vehicles.
  • Transport  (flight, rail, and road mileage).
  • Waste disposal and recycling.


You can also use a carbon calculator from Carbon Trust or My Climate to help quantify the emissions from your operations, supply chains, and product life cycles.


RELATED: How Do You Calculate Business Carbon Emissions?


Step 2: Set Emission Reduction Targets


With a clear picture of your footprint, set ambitious yet achievable emission reduction targets. 

Similar to any other goal in business, it should follow the SMART principle, which stands for:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable
  • Relevant
  • Timely


Next, align these goals with international standards such as the Paris Agreement or the Science Based Targets initiative. 

Both will ensure your targets are meaningful and credible, providing a clear roadmap for your carbon reduction journey.


RELATED: Use These Net Zero Tools to Meet Your Carbon Footprint Targets


Step 3: Create a Carbon Reduction Plan


Developing a comprehensive carbon reduction plan solidifies your sustainability commitment and gives you a blueprint for becoming a carbon-neutral company.

It involves identifying your key areas for improvement and mapping each one to a strategy to address them.

Your plan should include short-term actions and long-term initiatives that all link back to your overarching net zero goals.

For example, if you want to improve energy efficiency at the office, your carbon reduction plan might include the following:

  • Switching to LED lightbulbs
  • Upgrading to energy-efficient appliances
  • Installing SMART lighting and HVAC systems
  • Moving to a renewable energy supplier
  • Encouraging employees to switch devices and plug points off when not in use


RELATED: Creating a Corporate Carbon Reduction Plan
Educate your employees on carbon reduction

Step 4: Educate Your Employees


Your carbon reduction plan’s success hinges on your employees’ involvement.

Without their commitment, you’ll struggle to implement your strategies or influence their behavior to help you achieve your net zero goals.

That’s not all.

Educating your employees builds capacity.

The more people with the skills and knowledge to fight climate change, the better our chance of achieving the UN’s Sustainability Goals.

The only tricky part?

It can be tough finding the time everyone is available for a training session – unless you use a platform like Emission Sentri.

It provides on-demand awareness training from basic to advanced topics from accredited bodies and shareable certificates.

Besides upskilling your employees, Emission Sentri keeps your net zero progress front and center. Consolidating all your emission data, the platform maximizes visibility by delivering key insights across your digital landscape and offers personalized AI recommendations to keep employees engaged.


RELATED: Engaging Employees in Sustainability: 6 Strategies You Need to Know


Step 5: Select and Implement Your Carbon Reduction Strategies


Choosing the right carbon reduction strategies involves carefully evaluating potential initiatives considering factors such as feasibility, cost-effectiveness, and potential carbon savings. 

Begin by prioritizing actions that offer the greatest reduction in emissions alongside tangible benefits to your business.

Here’s how to reduce carbon footprint in a business:

Reduce Energy and Conserve Water: Implement energy-saving measures such as LED lighting, high-efficiency HVAC systems, and energy management systems. Similarly, water conservation efforts, like low-flow fixtures, save water and reduce energy used in water heating and treatment.

Implement a Recycling Program: Reduce waste and lower carbon emissions associated with the production and disposal of goods. Encourage recycling of paper, plastics, electronics, and other materials in your office and operations, and consider how to make your product part of the circular economy.

Choose Sustainable Suppliers: The carbon footprint of your supply chain can overshadow your direct emissions. Choose suppliers prioritizing sustainability, using criteria such as renewable energy use, waste management practices, and eco-friendly materials. This reduces your indirect emissions and promotes green practices across industries.


Step 6: Offset Your Carbon Emissions


Even with carbon reduction strategies, some emissions are unavoidable. One way to reduce a business’s carbon footprint is through carbon offsetting.

It involves investing in environmental projects that compensate for your emissions by removing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere or preventing future emissions elsewhere. 

These projects can range from reforestation and forest conservation to renewable energy initiatives like wind or solar farms and community-based programs that provide clean cookstoves.

Credibility is key when selecting carbon offsets. Choose third-party projects verified by the Gold Standard or the Verified Carbon Standard and align with your company’s values.


RELATED: What is Increasing Your Ecological Footprint in Business?


Embracing the Challenge of Carbon Reduction


Achieving carbon reduction for businesses is a journey. It involves commitment to your net zero goals, innovation to find new ways of doing things, and collaboration with your employees to see results.

Drive Emissions Reduction through Employee Engagement

Engage with your employees on your emissions reduction commitment and progress through multi-channel insights, awareness training, intelligent recommendations using Generative AI and more.