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How small businesses can reduce their Carbon Footprint

By Dean Laming on January 24th, 2022

It’s no secret, we are in the midst of a climate emergency. This is what has prompted initiatives around the world in an effort to combat the issue. From people recycling more and changing their diets at home, to governments such as ours implementing the net-zero by 2050 initiative.

Whilst many people point the finger at large corporations, small businesses also have a key role to play in solving the climate crisis. Especially when you consider that small businesses make up 99% of the UK’s enterprises, and account for 60% of the UK’s workforce. Despite this, as many business owners would do in any other situation, they view something that requires action as an expense. Unlike larger businesses, most small business expenses have a bigger impact and aren’t as easily absorbed – no matter how important.

So, how can you as a small business reduce your carbon footprint? We’ll explore this and more in this article.

  1. The rising cost of running a business
  2. Saving the planet could save your business money
  3. How to achieve net-zero emissions
  4. Protect your investment with insurance

1. The rising cost of running a business

Those who don’t know always learn this lesson fast – running a business is expensive. No matter your industry, there will always be costs involved. Whether it’s overheads, construction materials, office equipment, salaries – there will be several things demanding funds from the business account.

For example, the national living wage, minimum wage, and national insurance are all increasing. Energy and water costs have risen due to capacity issues. Even raw materials have become more expensive, which is causing costs for items such as paper and plastic to increase in price.

Regular inflation aside, it seems that everything is costing more money. This is why some businesses are reluctant to act on climate change – at face value, it’s another expense. What if, though, instead of just another out of pocket expense, the mission to net-zero was in fact an investment in your future?  Keep reading, to find out more.

2. Saving the planet could save your business money

Whilst green initiatives can be seen as more expenditure, in many cases the opposite is true. One of the most obvious examples is to look at your paper usage. If a majority of your documents are on paper, you’ll be using a lot of stationery.

Going paperless will save you money, and there are a lot of digital programs that will allow you to perform critical functions for free.

Another example is your energy usage. Cutting down on your energy usage will save you money on your utility bills. You could install smart switches that turn on when someone enters a room and turn themselves off when the room is empty. Switching to a renewable energy supplier can also help you to cut down on expenses.

If you use vehicles in your business, they could be increasing your tax. Cars that are emitting CO2 could be taxed at least £10 per year, whereas a car with zero emissions won’t be taxed at all.

Going green can also generate new business and increase your profits. As more consumers become environmentally conscious, they are looking for businesses that match their values.

3. How to achieve net-zero emissions

Achieving net-zero emissions may not seem easy, but it is essential both for the longevity of your business, and the planet. So, to help you achieve this goal, here are some simple tips to hit this target.

  1. Get informed: To tackle your emissions, you need to know what your numbers are. This tool can help you to calculate your current emissions so you can get started with the information you need.
  2. Make a plan: Now it’s time to create your strategy on how to tackle your emissions. Start by identifying the areas where you can cut down and the areas where you can’t. The reality is that you may not be able to stop all of your emissions as they may be related to vital functions of your business. In this case, the goal is to offset these emissions with activities such as tree planting. This guide can help with these efforts.
  3. Execute: As part of this plan, there are multiple strategies you can employ in your favour. We’ve already mentioned going paperless and using electric vehicles, but there are a number of other strategies you can use too.One of the best things you can do is to examine your energy consumption. Review your current usage and look for areas where you can be more efficient, such as switching off appliances in the evening, unplugging chargers, and installing efficient light bulbs.Another key area to focus on is waste. Start by reviewing your current recycling initiatives, and educate your staff on how to recycle better. Ensure you provide the correct bins (and enough of them) and consider using a green waste management company – such as a no landfill business.This is just the tip of the iceberg. The best thing you can do is to find the strategies that suit your business and pursue those.
  4. Team Effort: Even the best-laid plans will not succeed, if your staff aren’t involved. Take the time to educate your staff on their role in this initiative, and empower them to help accomplish your target. If they have suggestions, be open to them. An example of this could be working from home. Your staff won’t commute or use any energy in your workplace – saving you both time and emissions.

4. Protect your investment with insurance

As we’ve touched on, going green is an investment – not an expense. No matter the steps you take, you will need to ensure that your current equipment, or any new equipment, is protected.

The best way to do this is by getting comprehensive contents insurance for your business. This will cover items such as fixtures, furniture, tools, and equipment. Events such as fire, flood, or theft are incredibly costly if you don’t have the right cover.


The responsibility for sustainability lies with every one of us. By following this guide, and implementing some of these strategies, you’ll be taking the right steps towards a more sustainable, and profitable future. Are you aware of the potential risks your business faces? Talk to our business insurance specialists at Brisco Business to assess your needs.

Dean Laming

Dean is a Chartered Insurance Broker with more than 25 years insurance experience. Through various underwriting, operational and management roles, Dean has built up extensive knowledge of how to run a business and is now Managing Director of Brisco Business, part of the wider Henry Seymour Group.

All articles by Dean Laming

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