Our planet is home to millions of species that we know and love, and many more that are yet to be discovered. Unfortunately, these species are increasingly coming under threat and are being driven to extinction at a rate we haven’t seen since the dinosaurs due to human activity.
Global warming, deforestation, trafficking and poaching, agricultural activity and pollution are just some of the leading causes destroying our planet and those we are meant to coexist with. If we fail to act now, extinction will be a stain on humanity’s legacy forever more.
Earth Day is today, and this year’s theme is ‘Protect Our Species’. Determined to do our bit and prove that creative thinking doesn’t have to be limited to client work, we’ve come up with 13 innovative measures your office can embrace to reduce its carbon footprint.
1. Eliminate single use plastic
Replacing plastic cups doesn’t only create more waste that isn’t biodegradable, but it’s also expensive. Encourage colleagues to use a water bottle brought from home when using the water cooler. If removing plastic cups altogether is something likely to throw your office into a riotous frenzy, replace them with environmentally friendly alternatives.
2. Reduce, recycle and reuse
Follow the three R’s and you won’t go far wrong.
3. Ensure heating/cooling systems aren’t used irresponsibly
Conserve energy by ensuring radiators or air conditioning units aren’t on when they don’t need to be.
4. Print less or double-sided when necessary
Yes, using the printer is necessary but try to reduce your use of the printer where possible. And when you need to? Use every inch of space by printing double-sided.
5. Establish an email signature that challenges the status quo
I.e.“Does this email have to be printed out? Please consider the effect on the environment before doing so.”
6. Drink organic
Why not do something beneficial for mother Earth every time you fill the kettle up. By investing in responsibly sourced tea and coffee you’ll reduce the environmental impact associated with growing these products and help establish a fair wage for the people involved in its production.
7. Promote cycling
Encourage people in the office to ditch their car if they live within cycling distance of work. How? Consider offering subsidies for staff or signing up to a Ride-To-Work scheme.
8. Implement a car pool scheme
If you live out of walking or cycling distance of the office and rely on your car, ask yourself if you could pick up a colleague on the way to work. Take it in turns to drive to work and give yourself a break from being behind the wheel.
9. Switch off when you clock off
Before slipping out of the office on a night and leaving the troubles of the day behind you, ensure every electrical appliance has been put into standby mode and all lights are switched off.
10. Reduce wastage with energy efficient solutions
- Embrace energy efficient light bulbs
- Attach a special nozzle to your taps designed to reduce water wastage
- Use light sensors for sporadically used areas to conserve electricity
- Optimise natural light and ventilation
11. Plants are your friends
Make the most of outdoor space. Designate a corner of land to planting a small garden or a tree. If you’re hard pushed for space on the ground, look at putting a green space on a roof or a balcony… failing that, get more plants in and around the office to improve air quality.
12. Don’t travel in if you don’t have to
Cut your commute entirely. If you’re only required to attend an internal meeting, ask if you can do so via telephone or Skype. If your physical presence isn’t an essential requirement, don’t make the trip in the first place.
13. Meat-free Mondays
Although expecting people to fully transition from meat-eaters to a plant-based diet may feel like a step too far, starting an office-wide ‘meat-free day’ initiative is doable. Livestock farming is one of the major contributors to greenhouse gas emissions – cut your meat consumption by one day a week and make a huge difference.
Each living thing has its worth and plays its part in our delicate ecosystem. We are not the sole tenants of our planet and must do more as a species to protect and enable all forms of life to flourish. By following these simple and cost-effective steps, your office can dramatically reduce its carbon footprint and play its part in saving our planet and the species that inhabit it.
Share the ways your office has reduced its carbon footprint with us @otbtweeter.