For companies that want to contribute to a carbon-neutral future, sustainability should be a culture, not just a practice. This means embracing sustainability as a program of corporate social responsibility where it becomes an embedded mission for every employee to embrace with purpose. In doing so, companies will not only have a positive impact on a greener world but will also build customer and employee loyalty and increase their social and brand power.
Why is carbon neutrality so important? Carbon dioxide, a byproduct of fossil fuel combustion, is the leading greenhouse gas contributing to global warming. In the U.S. alone, greenhouse gas emissions totaled 6,577 million metric tons of carbon dioxide in 2019. This has been proven to cause global warming with climate change impacting everything from drought, insect outbreaks and increased wildfires to globally declining water supplies and flooding in coastal areas. The impact is real and the effect hard to slow.
The United Nations has asserted that they would like to reduce emissions by 45% by 2030 and work to achieve climate neutrality by 2060. Every company can make a difference, particularly when you hold sustainability as a core social responsibility. Here are four key ways to embed green initiatives into your daily operations to create a culture of sustainability:
- Commit to sustainable production and transport. No matter the industry, taking steps to produce products with environmentally friendly materials will have a dramatic impact on your carbon footprint. Choose packaging that uses recycled materials and less plastic. Opt for containers that can be recycled themselves. Consider, too, ways to switch to renewable energy to power your manufacturing or implement ways to generate your own clean electricity and heating. And strive to minimize your waste. Then, extend your environmental sustainability throughout your product supply chain. As you transport and distribute products, seek partners and practices that further your commitment to the environment. Find logistics suppliers that use electric vehicles (EVs) to reduce your overall footprint and employ supply chain practices that will minimize waste and lower energy use throughout your product delivery lifecycle.
- Future proof your products. The days of disposable products are waning. To embrace sustainability and become a true green organization that strives towards carbon neutrality, products should be built with extensibility for the future. This will avoid rip and replace upgrades and unnecessary product waste. For this, consider the value of software. Products built with upgradable, over the air, software can allow you to build solutions that are consistently state-of-the-art without the heavy environmental expense of replacing hardware or fixed components at a carbon deficit.
- Offset your footprint by planting trees. Work to audit your energy use and then commit to replenish the environment by planting trees that lower greenhouse gases in equal proportions. One mature tree can absorb up to 48 pounds of carbon every year. At Juice Technology, for example, we’ve committed to planting one tree for every Juice Booster 2 (our EV mobile charger) and as many as 12 trees for each larger charging station we produce. This enables us to guarantee that the products we manufacture are carbon neutral. You also can donate to companies that plant trees, like JetBlue has done. The airline has offset about 2.6 billion of their pounds of carbon so far. Projects such as tree planting can also be an outstanding way to engage employees in your cause while building pride and respect for your organization and brand.
- Switch to electric vehicles. Electric vehicles (EVs) are an important part of meeting global climate change goals. One study has found that emissions from EVs have total emissions up to 43% lower than diesel vehicles. They also have a lower lifetime climate impact of those with internal combustion engines. Consider swapping your combustion engine vehicles, company cars, and particularly fleets of vehicles, to an electric vehicle (EV) option. Organizations without fleets can participate here too. Encourage employees to purchase EVs by installing charging stations in your office parking lot and showcase that you can charge wherever you are, rather than having to travel to a fueling station. Whether at work or at home, EVs can be charging in the background with a mobile charger, just like a smartphone does.
Companies with a culture of sustainability will realize the benefit of better customer loyalty, employee attraction and retention as the value of lowering corporate carbon footprints gains higher visibility. But the benefits don’t stop there. By embracing sustainability as a corporate social responsibility, you are also ensuring that your organization remains stable and fit for the future while giving back both locally to your community and globally. Embracing sustainability in addition to other social responsibility programs for charitable contributions, volunteering, fair trade and more, you are securing a better future for everyone. Work today to embrace a carbon neutral approach as a corporate social responsibility and know that you, and your organization, are having a significant impact on tomorrow’s world.
As an electric vehicle charging technology expert, environmental sustainability is also an important topic for Christoph Erni, CEO and founder of Juice Technology AG, a Swiss manufacturer of charging stations and solutions which are marketed worldwide.