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Revealed: Companies committed to reducing their carbon footprints

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

The impact of climate change continues to be in the news – e.g. rising sea levels and erratic weather patterns, both of which constitute a danger to humans and wildlife.

Thankfully, a strategy is now in place to reverse the effects of climate change and restore harmony to the planet. Back in June 2019, the UK government became the first country to sign their ‘Net Zero’ target into law – marking it as the first major economy to legislate for net zero emissions.[1] Since then, other governments have followed suit, introducing their own laws and policy changes to help reduce the amount of carbon we emit. 

These changes have had a huge impact on the way businesses work, inspiring many to introduce new ways of reducing their carbon footprint. Here, we look at those businesses that are  going above and beyond to ensure their emissions are kept as low possible or are offsetting the carbon they unavoidably emit as part of their daily operations.  

Aviation – EasyJet

Airlines are a significant contributor to carbon emissions globally. In fact, it’s estimated that the flights we catch account for some 12% of all transport emissions annually.[2] Yet there are airlines that are making significant efforts to try and reduce this figure – one of which is EasyJet. In a recent report, EasyJet ranked top of the list of airlines trying to cut carbon emissions and tackle climate change and has since become the first airline to operate net zero flights across its whole network.[3]

This has been possible through carbon offsetting initiatives which helps to offset the emissions the airline uses during flights. It’s estimated that the company will spend around £25million each year carbon offsetting, lowering their impact on the environment and positioning themselves as market leaders in reducing CO2. 

Off-grid energy – Flogas

As one of UK’s leading off-grid energy suppliers who help companies offset carbon emissions, Flogas has quickly become a market leader in the fight against climate change. In its ‘2040 Vision’ manifesto, the company has laid out plans on how it intends to the support the government’s carbon emissions targets by supplying its customers with100% renewable energy solutions by 2040. As well as aiding its customers, the company has also undertaken several landmark steps in its own carbon reduction strategy such as promising to offset all Level 1 and Level 2 CO2 emissions for 2019 and became one of the first 0ff-grid gas suppliers to add BioLNG powered delivery vehicles to its fleet. Since then, Flogas has also launched its Carbon Offsetting Initiative for both its commercial and consumer customers. 

Fast food restaurants – McDonald’s

As one of the most iconic restaurants in the world, McDonald’s are firmly under the microscope when it comes to taking sustainable measures. Luckily, the company is making considerable efforts to reduce its impact on the environment wherever possible. With around 36,000 restaurants located in over 100 countries worldwide[4], McDonald’s has now began switching to energy efficient appliances to help cut energy waste by around 25%.[5] It also aims to source all its packaging from recycled materials by 2025.[6]

Automotive – BMW

Regularly named as the world’s most sustainable car manufacturer, BMW has gained a reputation for its creativity and innovation in terms of reducing carbon emissions. The company’s long list of green credentials speaks for itself – for example, from 2009 to 2019 BMW has been able to reduce its delivery fleet emissions by over 40%.[7] The company has also invested heavily in electric technology, turning to more renewable fuels to reduce carbon emissions even further. As it stands, BMW is currently on track to ensure that a quarter of all the vehicles it sells will be electrified by 2021, with a third in 2025 and half of all vehicles by the year 2030.[8]

Manufacturing – Siemens 

Manufacturing often requires energy intensive processes that create high levels of carbon emissions. However, this didn’t stop electronics manufacturer, Siemens, from becoming the first global company to commit to carbon neutrality by 2030 through using renewable energy at its factories.[9] It’s also set out sustainability goals within its ‘Serve the Environment’ programme which details how it intends to create zero waste. As it stands, zero per cent of its waste has been sent to landfill from its factory in Newcastle and the business currently boasts a 92% recycle rate overall. [10]

Software – Google 

With a reputation for creating innovative software, it comes as no surprise that Google is one of the IT giants leading the way in terms of sustainability. As well as reducing its carbon footprint through company-wide efficiency improvements, Google also uses on-site solar power as a renewable fuel supply. [11]The company then uses carbon offsetting to bring its remaining footprint to zero and goes to great lengths to ensure that the projects it supports help provide long-term global benefits.[12]

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-becomes-first-major-economy-to-pass-net-zero-emissions-law

[2] https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47460958

[3] https://www.bbc.com/news/science-environment-47460958

[4] https://www.mcdonalds.com/gb/en-gb/help/faq/18510-how-many-mcdonalds-restaurants-are-there-in-the-uk-and-the-world.html

[5] https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/08/26/101-companies-committed-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint/#5f24529f260b

[6] https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/08/26/101-companies-committed-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint/#5f24529f260b

[7] https://www.bmwgroup.com/en/responsibility/sustainability-at-the-bmw-group.html

[8] https://www.bmwgroup.com/en/responsibility/sustainability-at-the-bmw-group.html

[9]  https://www.forbes.com/sites/blakemorgan/2019/08/26/101-companies-committed-to-reducing-their-carbon-footprint/#5f24529f260b

[10] https://new.siemens.com/global/en/company/sustainability/resourceconservation.html

[11] https://www.google.com/about/datacenters/renewable/

[12] https://static.googleusercontent.com/media/www.google.com/en//green/pdfs/google-carbon-offsets.pdf

Carbon Offsetting – An Exciting Strategy

960 640 Stuart O'Brien

One of the biggest challenges the UK is facing is how to tackle the issue of climate change. As our populations and economies grow, the environment is feeling the strain of our increased energy needs. This means we all need to look for ways to reduce our carbon footprint, and quickly. 

Over the past decade we have seen an increasing number of individuals become dedicated to lowering their environmental impact. These measures range from a reduction in the use of plastic, to the implementation of LPG as a main energy source. 

Although people are making a difference, further changes are still required. Last year the UK government announced plans to achieve ‘Net Zero’ status by the year 2050[1], a target which aims to stop the UK from contributing to the increase of CO2 in the atmosphere. However, public awareness on how this will be achieved is still lacking. In fact, a recent report from the Citizen’s Advice Bureau found that just 38 per cent of us are aware we’ll need to change the way our home is heated if we’re to achieve this goal.[2]

The harsh truth is that, until we are entirely carbon neutral, we’ll be unable to avoid creating a carbon a footprint on some scale. From heating our homes and offices, to driving our cars or even making a cup of tea, it’s inevitable that we can’t always live up to the green standards we’d like to. 

It isn’t all doom a gloom, however. For those looking to combat these inescapable emissions, there is a solution – and it’s called Carbon Offsetting. Here, we look through the benefits and how it can help us lead a greener life. 

What is meant by Carbon Offsetting?

There is a solution to the everyday emissions we produce, and it comes in the form of Carbon Offsetting. A process in which people compensate their emissions by funding projects that provide sustainable development in communities around the world. These projects offer an equivalent reduction in emissions to those you create; either counteracting or absorbing carbon dioxide and bringing balance to the environment.

Big brands from around the world such as EasyJet[3], Shell[4] and Gucci[5] all now use Carbon Offsetting to help improve the environmental impact of their businesses. 

But why is it important?

Carbon Offsetting exists as way of allowing people to make up for the emissions that they can’t otherwise avoid. 

Additionally, the increased funding these causes receive can change lives, bringing economic, social and health improvements to whole communities. With people at the heart of Carbon Offsetting, as well as ecosystems, it allows us to begin future proofing for a cleaner, greener world.  

For what reason should I Offset my Carbon emissions?

As homeowners, Carbon Offsetting is the opportunity to balance your carbon footprint. For the environmentally conscious and those looking to reduce their impact on the climate, Carbon Offsetting gives them the tools to make a difference. Whilst it shouldn’t be used as a stand-alone approach and is best used as part of a wider carbon reduction strategy, it will help people reduce their impact on the environment. 

How do I offset the carbon emissions I can’t control?

From West Africa households being given access to eco-friendly cooking equipment, to rural China being supplied with clean hydroelectric power, the beneficiaries of Carbon Offsetting are extensive and the options diverse. One example is the Kariba REDD+ Forest Protection project in Zimbabwe, Africa. Since its launch in 2011, it’s avoided more than 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide from being released into the atmosphere and has prevented deforestation in an area of nearly 750,000 hectares. 

Through the combination of Carbon Offsetting and the support of sustainability projects which deliver clearly recognisable results, aligned with individual efforts within the home and industry, it is clear that the UK can, over the coming years, play a positive role in carbon emission reduction.

[1] https://www.gov.uk/government/news/uk-becomes-first-major-economy-to-pass-net-zero-emissions-law[1]https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/Global/CitizensAdvice/Energy/Energy%20Consultation%20responses/Zero%20sum%20(2).pdf

[1] http://corporate.easyjet.com/corporate-responsibility/environment/climate-change-carbon-emissions-and-carbon-offsetting

[1] https://www.businessgreen.com/bg/news/3082469/shell-to-offer-drivers-carbon-offsets-at-no-extra-cost

[1] https://www.gucci.com/uk/en_gb/st/stories/gucci-equilibrium/article/carbon-neutral

Should you choose oil or gas for your business?

960 640 Guest Post

As the threat of climate change continues to gather pace, one of the burning questions of our time remains: ‘how can we create a greener, more sustainable future that still allows businesses to thrive?’ Here, Flogas, examine the debate currently gaining traction. 

Central to solving this challenge is energy usage, and the fuel we depend on in our daily lives and commercial operations. As such, businesses across the UK are now looking at ways to become more fuel-efficient – not only to help lower their carbon emissions, but also to bring down energy bills and save money in the long run.

Nowhere is this debate more prominent than in the 16% of the UK not serviced by the main gas grid, which relies on alternative fuels to meet its energy needs. For the majority of off-grid operations, this means a choice between oil, LPG (liquefied petroleum gas) or LNG (liquefied natural gas) for high-volume commercial applications. But what exactly are the differences between these fuels – and what should off-grid users consider when making decisions about their energy supply?

Click here to read the full article.