THE ISSUE: Corporate Carbon Footprints are Huge
Nearly a third (28.5%) of all greenhouse gases emitted in the US comes from industrial and commercial companies, with additional emissions coming from the energy burned to heat and cool the buildings used by those companies. The US is the second-largest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world, and has one of the highest per capita (per person) emissions rates of any country.
Though some leaders say, "that's just the cost of doing business in today's economy," other developed nations have proven that's not the case.
Through the application and management of green policies (prior to the Trump administration), the US has worked to reduce carbon emissions overall, but the success of these initiatives has been very limited. In the 12-year period from 2005 to 2017, net emissions of greenhouse gases dropped by a mere 1% per year (or only 12% in total).
Although a full third of global greenhouse gas emissions can be traced back to just a handful of companies, every business operating in our world contributes to the ever-increasing damage our environment is experiencing. Each ton of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere can be measured in its negative impacts on the environment and global economy.
Called the "carbon footprint", this calculation also takes into account subsequent costs incurred through property damage, loss of business revenue, increased supply chain deficiencies, and additional economic burdens. The current global carbon footprint is valued at more than $50 per ton, with the collective total carbon footprint of business operations across the globe reaching exorbitantly-high totals.
But companies can take steps today to decrease this impact - without interrupting current workflow!
THE FIX: Commit to Reaching Full Sustainability within 10 Years
We have three recommendations for cleaning up your corporate act.
Calculate Carbon Footprint & Buy Offsets
To make a dent in the damage already accrued, businesses should calculate their corporate carbon footprint (or pay a professional to do it) as soon as possible. Armed with this knowledge, carbon offsets equal to that damage can be purchased, with companies continuing to purchase them while moving toward maximum sustainability.
Audit Corporate Sustainability
Combined with this, a complete audit across all operational aspects should be conducted of the business by a sustainability professional. The audit will identify the corporate areas where increased sustainability measures need to be (and can be) applied, as well as provide cost estimates for those recommendations.
Set Tough-but-Reachable Goals
From this, the company can develop short- and long-term goals into a unified corporate plan that outlines the participation of every business segment, as well as identifies leaders in charge of progress. Companies can then set 1-year, 3-year, 5-year, 7-year, and 10-year goals, with the ultimate endgame being to reach fully sustainable practices within that decade.
The changes in the today's workplaces brought on by the coronavirus have caused some companies to scale back their sustainability approaches. Fortunately, recent research proves that companies can still go green and that the benefits will be worth the efforts!