Carbon Reduction

1.1 Travel policy

Business travel is often one of the biggest sources for CO2 emissions (!). Travel, however, is also an essential tool to running a businesses and therefore it is important to develop a clear strategy, which ensures that you continue to increase efficiency while decreasing your environmental impact.

How to set up a sustainable travel policy:

  1. Establish a baseline
    • Each organization/team will have different requirements for business travel based on the services it offers.
    • Engage with employees to identify business travel requirements, opportunities and commitment to change
    • Review records of all business travels across the company (hint: bring all business travel information together in one place)
  2. Define business aims, objective and needs
    • When defining your requirements the questions below provide examples of the key questions to consider:
      • Is business travel essential to the completion of the task?
      • Who needs to travel and for what purpose?
      • Is a journey required?
      • What corporate policies (ie health, safety and environment) and priorities determine travel requirements?
      • Is a vehicle needed? If so, where is it parked? How is it scheduled? How far in advance does it need to be booked? How is fuel managed?
  3. Target setting
    • When setting targets it is essential to use the SMART principle, in that all targets should be:
      • Specific – say exactly what you mean
      • Measurable – clearly show what you have achieved
      • Achievable – a realistic but stretching target within the availability of resources, knowledge and time
      • Relevant – the target needs to be the main goal of the project and clearly defined to avoid ambiguity later on
      • Time bound – a period needs to be specified within which the target will be met
  4. Implementation
    • Implementation of your sustainable business travel management strategy involves putting into practice the measures identified in the earlier stages. The engagement and support of your senior management team is key to your strategy’s success. It establishes the priority placed on the strategy and how it aligns with other key policies, working practices and strategic objectives.
  5. Monitoring & Review
    • Monitoring and review is essential to maintain momentum and organisational commitment, and provide evidence of efficiencies in time and cost or environmental savings.
    • It will enable you to identify:
      • If the strategy is meeting the objectives and targets it set out to achieve
      • Which initiatives are particularly effective and could be developed further, for example, rolled out to other sites or wider groups of employees?
      • Which initiatives need reviewing further to achieve target

Best practices include:

  • Avoid domestic flights whenever possible
  • Incentivizing employees to choose the most sustainable option (e.g. actively promote train rides, offer tickets for public transport, electric scooters as well as bikes.).
    • eco.mio: Software solution that is integrated into existing travel booking systems and motivates travelers to voluntarily reduce their carbon footprint and spending on business trips

1.2 Low carbon websites

Websites have a carbon footprint largely caused by electricity use. Since increasing awareness and web presence is likely one of your goals, consider taking steps to make your website more energy efficient.

Check out the Carbon Website Calculator to estimate your web page carbon footprint: https://www.websitecarbon.com/

Wholegrain Digital has put together some helpful resources:

1.3 E-Commerce specific actions

  • Climate-friendly shipping
    • Worldwide freight transport accounts for 8% of global carbon emissions. Thus, an effective way to minimize your carbon emissions is to switch to a carrier that emphasizes climate action and offers environmentally-friendly programs (e.g. DHL)
  • Reduce packaging & make unavoidable packaging more sustainable
    • Packaging accounts to 30% of the e-Commerce carbon footprint. However, there are several actions you can take to minimize these:
      • Use smaller boxes so that you don’t need to fill any free space with additional material
      • Avoid non-disposable materials (e.g. Palamo, Packmatic are packaging partners that focus on sustainable packaging solutions)
      • Promote circularity and give products a second life
  • Minimize returns
    • Returns not only have a negative effect on a retailers costs but also on the planet. Thus, minimize returns in times of any company striving for the “Amazon Prime” experience is a true challenge (e.g. Research has shown that 30% of consumers purposely order more and return unwanted items when returns are offered for free)
      • Use digital fitting tools with the help of AR
      • Leverage new return optimization tools such as 8Returns (i.e. self-service returns that has a smart rules engine which prevents unwanted returns and offsets the carbon emissions of all remaining returns automatically)
      • Implement sustainable return policies (still many returns are being destroyed to save costs) - Rebolet, for example, aim to turn returns (and overstock) into sustainable profits by offering “reselling as a service)