How much effort is your business putting into reducing its carbon footprint?
These days, most companies are taking at least some steps to combat climate change. From energy efficiency measures, to recycling initiatives, to investing in renewables and electric vehicles, there’s a general movement towards sustainability that continues to gain momentum.
But despite your best efforts, there will undoubtedly be some remaining emissions that are impossible to eliminate. And if your business has the goal of reaching net-zero at some point in the future, you’re going to need a little extra help.
And as you’ve probably guessed – that’s where carbon offsets come in.
Offsetting your business’s carbon footprint is a direct action against global warming – helping to lower CO2 emissions and reduce the impacts of climate change. When you purchase carbon offsets, you’re funding carbon reduction projects that capture greenhouse gasses, and balance out the emissions from your business activities.
But in addition to lowering atmospheric CO2 levels, there are also many other flow-on benefits that might not be obvious at first glance. And so, why exactly should your business offset its carbon footprint? Let’s take a look at six of the most important reasons.
1. It Protects the Environment That Sustains Your Business
We all know that we must reduce global CO2 emissions to avoid the most severe impacts of climate change, such as rising sea levels, more frequent and extreme weather events, and the destruction of natural ecosystems.
But regardless of the industry, every company’s individual long-term success is also entirely dependent, either directly or indirectly, on the health of the earth. And many businesses have already discovered just how much climate change can affect their bottom line.
From travel companies, to manufacturers, to insurance providers, and even coffee makers, there’s barely a company on earth that isn’t already feeling the effects of a warming atmosphere. Climate change is disrupting the availability of raw materials, droughts and floods are affecting agriculture and fresh water supplies, and properties are increasingly at risk from damage by severe weather.
And in the same way that your business depends on other companies as part of an interconnected network – every ecosystem on the planet is impacted by the concentration of CO2 in the atmosphere.
Thankfully, actions such as buying carbon offsets are a tangible way to improve the health of the environment – and your industry – for decades to come. And because the success of our livelihoods is tied to that of our planet – reducing your company’s carbon footprint is the ideal way to support the world that supports you.
2. It Can Help to Drive New Investment
As governments worldwide enact measures to meet the 2050 Paris agreement, many large investors are also placing a growing priority on climate action.
In early 2020, a group called Climate Action 100+, which represents investors managing assets worth almost $52 trillion, sent a letter to 161 large companies demanding they cut emissions by 45% by 2030, and achieve carbon neutrality by 2050. The group believes that by forming such a powerful investment alliance, they’ll be able to put significant pressure on large polluters to act on climate change – and create greater transparency in the process.
“The benchmark will ensure it’s clear which companies are acting on climate change as a business-critical issue and embracing a net-zero future. Investors will be paying particular attention to those shown to be falling short.” Stephanie Pfeifer, Climate Action 100+
The growing interest in supporting green companies has led to the coining of the term “eco-investing”, as more and more people seek to put their money into companies that share their same social and environmental values.
For any business, actions such as buying carbon offsets and renewable energy credits demonstrate a clear commitment to sustaining our planet’s long-term health. And in addition to helping the environment, offsetting your carbon footprint is now also one of the most effective ways to encourage investors to support the growth of your company.
3. It Positions Your Business as an Environmental Leader
Offsetting your carbon footprint is also an increasingly effective way to show environmental leadership and differentiate your business from the competition.
As we move through the COVID-19 pandemic towards a recovery period, there’s a rare opportunity for businesses to develop strong and effective strategies to position themselves as climate leaders.
“We are facing numerous challenges now, but regardless of what else is happening in the world, the climate crisis is here, it’s real, and this is the decade where we need to act. As leaders, we need to be thinking about how we can continue to prioritize sustainability throughout this time and into the future.” Suzanne DiBianca, Chief Impact Officer, Salesforce
In the business world, the most successful companies are generally those that set new standards and lead by example. And by taking direct action against climate change with measures such as carbon offsets, you have the opportunity to enhance your brand image, improve business relations, and strengthen consumer trust.
4. It Helps to Attract and Retain Good Employees
As more and more people embrace action against climate change, a growing number of companies are facing internal pressure from employees to raise their green credentials.
In the last 12 months, global giants Amazon, Google, and Microsoft have each faced backlash from employee groups, demanding that their respective companies take greater action to achieve net-zero emissions. In Google’s case, more than 1,000 employees signed a petition urging the company to reach carbon-neutrality by 2030, in addition to withdrawing financial support for politicians and businesses supporting fossil fuels.
“I can’t feel good about my job if the profits I help generate and the codebases I contribute to can be leveraged to accelerate fossil fuel extraction or fund groups that delay or deny urgent climate action.” Sam Kern, UX engineer at Google
It’s now evident that as more people view climate change as a critical and urgent issue, the environmental policies and actions of companies have a direct impact on their employee attraction and retention.
And, as is often the case, people uniting to make their collective voices heard leads to some of the most historical progress – benefitting our families, our communities, and the environment at large.
5. It Can Significantly Reduce Your Operating Costs
Whereas many business leaders once viewed climate change action as a difficult and expensive exercise, more and more companies are discovering that reducing emissions is an effective way to actually lower operating costs and foster economic stability.
After all, the most effective way to reduce your carbon footprint is not simply by buying carbon offsets – but by lowering your emissions in the first place. And considering that the bulk of business emissions come from energy consumption – either in the form of electricity or fuel – there are more incentives than ever before to make efficiency a top priority.
Once your business undertakes a thorough assessment of its carbon footprint, you can develop an action plan to reduce consumption, eliminate waste, and improve operating efficiency. And as we covered in a recent article, these measures have the two-fold effect of reducing both your emissions and your costs.
And then, for the unavoidable emissions that can’t be eliminated, you can purchase carbon offsets to mitigate your remaining carbon footprint – and restore the natural balance.
6. Most Consumers Now Expect Environmental Action
Not too long ago, companies that took action against climate change were a unique minority. Fast-forward to today, and the majority of consumers now expect brands and companies to show a commitment to sustainability – and they’re voting with their wallets.
In a 2019 global consumer poll by Nielsen, almost 73% of respondents said they would be willing to change their buying behavior to support companies doing the right thing by the environment. With growing global concern about climate change, more and more consumers are looking to help businesses and brands that are addressing global warming in a progressive, transparent, and honest way.
“For the bottom line, sustainability efforts can translate into improved sales and brand loyalty as consumers look for providers that align with their own values.” Weber Shandwick for retaildive.com
And so, while offsetting your carbon footprint is an essential step towards reducing global CO2 emissions, it’s also now also one of the most powerful ways to attract new customers, strengthen consumer loyalty, and expand your market share in the process.
Measure Your Carbon Footprint and Take the First Step
With the growing urgency of global warming and an increasing number of consumers and investors expecting companies to take action, now is the time to develop a sustainable climate strategy.
And thankfully, there are simple, measurable, and cost-effective actions every business can take to achieve net-zero emissions.
If you would like to better understand your environmental impact, you can use our free business carbon footprint calculator to assess different aspects of your operations, including energy use, transport, shipping, air travel, and server demands. And once you have a clear understanding of your CO2 levels, you can create strategies to reduce your energy and fuel consumption, and then purchase carbon offsets and renewable energy credits to balance the remaining emissions.
Today’s consumers want to align themselves with brands and companies that share their values – and demonstrate a genuine, measurable, and substantial commitment to the health of our planet. And with the benefits of a stronger company image, lower operating costs, and the ability to attract and retain the best talent – offsetting your business carbon footprint is now a key driver of your long-term success.
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