OEA Blog
06 May 2016

How To: Reduce your carbon footprint in the office

In recent years climate has been changing across the globe and sea levels have been rising due to glaciers melting as a result of rising temperatures. Global warming, as the name suggests, the rising of temperatures worldwide, is caused by the accumulation of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere produced by mankind’s activities. Mother Nature can no longer salvage the situation and it is up to mankind to save ourselves. In a bid to save our earth, many have done their part to reduce their carbon footprint. There are many ways that our carbon footprint can be reduced.

Carbon footprint of an organisation is the amount of carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere as a result of activities conducted by that organisation.

There are many ways in which carbon dioxide can be released into the atmosphere – when waste is incinerated and destroyed, when fuel is burnt to supply power to offices, when people take transport to and from work, etc.

So how does one reduce their carbon footprint without impeding the functionalities that comes with it?

3 easy steps have been highlighted for companies to embark on their eco-friendly path:

  1. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.
    For offices, the most common constitution of carbon footprint would be paper. It is prevalent in every company and will be difficult to eliminate it totally. Through methods such as relocating your work to softcopy, paper usage can be reduced. Printing should only be done when it is necessary and smaller fonts and double-sided printing could be used to further reduce usage of paper. Recyle paper when possible!

  2. Energy Saving
    Energy saving can take on numerous forms. The most basic practice will be to use equipment with higher energy efficiency as well as to switch off electrical equipment (including lights) when not in use. When travelling to and from work or meetings, taking public transport or carpooling is also a viable option. In fact, with the advancement of technology, meetings can be held online instead of meeting face-to-face all the time. In this aspect, it is also possible for employees to work from home.

  3. Collective Participation
    What is the use of implementing new rules and buying new equipment when people do not follow or appreciate them? Habits need to be changed and long-term participation must be guaranteed before anything is to work. Understanding has to be reached and, sometimes, incentives have to be given to encourage participation. A close, successful role model is good encouragement and that is why high ranking personnel or leaders are often the ones who are required to take the first step. Moralising the rational of the changes are good, but demoralising the employees is bad. Too much scrutiny is counterproductive yet too little is not good as well. When confronting human nature, there is no fixed answer. Look at your employees’ needs and adjust accordingly, if there is a solution, communication and compromise will lead you to it.

Alleviating global warming is no easy task. No one said it was. But as with confronting any other problems, the only way to tackle it is to take the first step. Habits are difficult to change but integrating these practices into your daily lives will definitely help make it easier.

Take it out of office if you can. If not, make the office your starting point.

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