Jun 04, 2021 | Ellen Convery
In the lead up to World Environment Day on 5 June, the World Meteorological Organization (May 2021) released research indicating a 40% chance that at least one of the next five years will reach 1.5°C higher average temperature than pre-industrial times. This would exceed the target which the Paris climate agreement has set.
Given the global climate crisis, how can we celebrate World Environment Day, make peace with nature, and re-imagine the world in which we live? We only have one planet, and it is important to come together and fight to avert climate change and biodiversity loss. Hence this year’s focus for World Environment Day is #GenerationRestoration.
This begs the question: what can your business do to save money and the environment at the same time? Because let’s face it, we all have to think of financial considerations as well as the planet. To mark World Environment Day, we look at three key measures which can make your organisation more efficient, while having a positive impact on the environment.
- Track and Reduce Carbon Emissions
By creating an eco-company culture, your company can strive for Net Zero through organisational changes. Whether you are a large or small organisation, you can implement strategies to help reach your carbon goals. Firstly, a carbon-footprint analysis or carbon survey can be conducted to see how much energy you are using. Then you can put in place mitigation measures to reduce your impact. That can be done in a range of ways – by focusing on employee training and education, watching the usage of your resources, or reducing business transport for example. In recent times, more and more companies are introducing schemes such as ‘cycle to work’ or encouraging use of public transport – all of which can make a big difference in the wider carbon emissions of your organisation. Flexible practices in working from home or office are also a trend that can help save on emissions from the daily commute.
- Increase Biodiversity Initiatives
Becoming a more environmentally-conscious organisation can start with biodiversity. One example of a biodiversity initiative is creating a wildflower garden at your organisation’s office. This can also create an area where staff can take time out and enjoy nature on their breaks. If you don’t have space for that or are in shared office space, you might find other useful suggestions in this guide from @BITC - Greening Your Workspace - Business in the Community (bitc.org.uk).
Considering the COVID-19 pandemic, it is increasingly being accepted that the conservation of biodiversity and heathy ecosystems is an indispensable contributor to overall human health – as well as being vital for the functioning of the economy. The natural resources used to grow and make millions of commodities can’t do their job for us if we don’t look after them.
- Reduce your waste!
Make your business stand out and take steps to demonstrate your eco-credentials. Implement recycling strategies within your company to encourage the diversion of waste from landfill – this can be implemented whether it is on a construction site, in a laboratory, or in the office. Before you even get to that stage though, look at ways to reduce and reuse materials and consider circular approaches to the materials in your value chain.
World Environment Day is followed quickly on 8 June by World Oceans Day, which leads to the question of where our waste goes, and there are some shocking answers. As it currently stands, there has never been more waste in our oceans, with 70% of the debris we produce sinking into the ocean's ecosystem. This negatively impacts aquatic life, and interferes with river, marine and coastal environments. Our oceans absorb carbon dioxide, rapidly causing them to become more acidic. This is threatening the habitat of every species that calls the ocean home, and as ecosystems are interlinked – has implications far beyond that.
There are many ways to track your sustainability but measuring and monitoring and understanding it to begin with are key. At SustainIQ, we strive to make organisations more aware of their impact, with environment as one of the four core pillars of the system. Many of our customers are using that knowledge to plan strategically to reduce the strain they place on the planet. What change will you make to help conserve the environment this World Environment Day?
Now in use on over 500 sites across the UK and Ireland, SustainIQ’s client base goes beyond Northern Ireland and beyond the construction sector including clients in the FMCG and Transport sectors amongst others.