Carbon Accounting for a Green Workplace
An environmentally friendly office is not hard to achieve says ACCA (the Association for Chartered Certified Accountants) today as it offers ten practical tips for a sustainable workplace as part of its drive towards carbon accounting.
Wyn Mears, Director of ACCA UK says:
“With politicians struggling to come to an agreement on climate change, and with the global Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen weeks away, it is now more important than ever that businesses large and small help to become more sustainable.
“Carbon accounting is really important but the following ten points are more practical solutions that we should be doing already, but sometimes we all need a gentle reminder. Getting the office that bit greener is all about changing people’s habits, so staff buy-in and involvement is the first step – and then the challenge is to keep the momentum going.”
- Involve staff – It’s no good a business having an environmental policy if staff don’t know what it is. Recycling efforts are often undermined by staff not knowing what goes in which bin, while attempts to cut paper usage may be scuppered by staff not using smaller fonts or not printing double-sided. Communicating with your staff about what is going on is a priority.
- Get the business’s carbon footprint measured – www.carbonneutral.co.uk can help carry out an environmental audit to identify carbon hotspots in a business. They can work with you to reduce the carbon footprint, and can recommend ways to offset carbon emissions.
- Trim paper usage – Cutting paper waste is vital. Each year, the amount of paper buried in the UK could fill more than 100,000 double decker buses. Always think twice before printing. And make sure the paper you do use is from a sustainable source.
- Label your recycling bins – Recycling bins need to be labelled clearly so cross contamination doesn’t happen, with paper, metal, plastic getting mixed up. This defeats the recycling objective.
- A collective waste bin? – A single waste bin for the whole office floor is an option, but make sure everyone knows why this is being done. It’s almost office culture to have your own waste bin, but there’s no point in surprising staff with a change of direction without explaining it first.
- Control the air conditioning – Reducing the heating thermostat by one or two degrees can make a massive difference to the office environment and the bills; legally, temperatures in the workplace are covered by the Workplace (Health, Safety and Welfare) Regulations 1992, which place a legal obligation on employers to provide a “reasonable” temperature in the workplace. The Approved Code of Practice suggests a minimum temperature in workrooms should normally be at least 16 degrees Celsius, but some offices have the heating in the low 20s.
- Switch off Computers – One single computer left on all day will produce 1,500 pounds of CO2 in a year. Staff must down computers every night so it becomes the company’s culture to do so.
- Turn off the lights – Switching off unnecessary lights could reduce the average bill by up to 19%. And switching to energy efficient light bulbs will make a difference. The last one out of the building should turn out the lights. Movement sensitive lights that turn off automatically are a worthwhile consideration.
- Consider staff transport needs – For car users, you could introduce a car-sharing scheme, do a deal for supplying electric cars or provide shuttle buses to local transport links. Companies can promote cycling to their staff as an alternative as tax free bike loans are available through www.cyclescheme.co.uk
- Reappraise your business travel – A report by the World Wildlife Fund in 2008 revealed that 85% of FTSE350 companies believe video conferencing and other technologies could reduce dependence in business travel. You can also look at carbon offsetting travel, and making sure this is a company policy.