Governments, advocacy groups, and the general population are taking necessary steps to cut carbon emissions and reduce their carbon footprint. However, the role of businesses in reducing greenhouse gas emissions cannot be overemphasized since it is precisely manufacturing and logistics that end up causing the majority of emissions.

Understanding what your carbon footprint looks like

Before a business can embark on reducing its carbon footprint, it must first understand the scope of its emissions. An assessment will help to identify the most significant sources of emissions, and areas for improvement, and help set targets for emissions reduction.

Direct sources are those that are under the control of the company, such as emissions from burning fossil fuels for heating or transportation. Indirect sources, on the other hand, are emissions from activities that are not under the control of the company, such as those from the production of goods and services. The various types of emissions are classified under three different scopes. You can learn more here.

Invest in renewable energy

One of the significant sources of emissions for businesses is how they use energy. Most businesses rely on electricity generated from fossil fuels, which can be one of the largest contributors to their carbon footprint. Businesses need to work with alternatives and, as a result, should invest in the development and infrastructure of sustainable energy sources. 

Renewable energy can also reduce costs over the long term. A business can generate its own electricity using renewable energy sources, reducing its exposure to energy price fluctuations. If developed correctly, some companies might even be able to profit by selling energy.

Energy efficiency measures

Similarly, energy efficiency measures involve reducing the amount of energy used in the business’s operations. This can include measures such as installing LED lighting, better insulation, using energy-efficient appliances, and optimizing heating and cooling systems through AI and machine learning. The specifics will differ from industry to industry, so leaders need to pay attention to technological innovations.

Carbon zero transportation

Transportation is a significant source of CO2 emissions for businesses. Companies can reduce their carbon footprint by adopting sustainable transportation measures such as using public transport, carpooling, cycling, and walking. Alternatively, more sustainable cars and other vehicles can substitute current, fossil fuel-burning fleets. Businesses can also consider investing in electric or hybrid vehicles for their fleet.

Using carbon offsetting

Carbon offsetting involves funding projects that help to reduce carbon emissions in other parts of the world. For instance, a company can fund a project that plants trees in a deforested area or invest in renewable energy projects in developing countries. Since it can be difficult to ensure net-zero emissions right now, this is a good way for companies to fight climate change while making a difference now.  While carbon offsetting does not directly reduce a company’s specific carbon footprint, it helps to offset the emissions that cannot be avoided or reduced. However, it is essential to ensure that the offsetting project is legitimate, verified and has a long-term impact.

Supporting policy change

Businesses can play a crucial role in advocating for policy change that supports sustainability initiatives. They can lobby for policies that incentivize the use of renewable energy, promote circular economy practices, and reduce carbon emissions. By getting ahead of regulations, companies can better keep track of upcoming legislation and prepare for the future. 

What should businesses keep in mind?

The business sector has a significant role to play in reducing carbon emissions and achieving a net-zero position. By conducting a carbon footprint assessment, investing in renewable energy, implementing energy efficiency measures, adopting sustainable transportation, reducing waste, engaging stakeholders, using carbon offsetting, and supporting policy change, businesses can significantly reduce their carbon footprint.

Transitioning to a net-zero business requires commitment, investment, and a willingness to change. The best course of action for a company would be to learn more about the technological innovations that are becoming more and more common. Industry leaders need to develop roadmaps and share experiences with peers to help smooth out the possibly bumpy road to net-zero.

The Global Summit on Scope 3 Emissions Reduction will bring together key industry experts to learn more about reporting strategies & carbon data management in a small-scale, industry-driven event, on 20-21st April 2023 in Amsterdam, the Netherlands. The two-day, hybrid event features in-depth case studies of supply chain transformation, carbon accounting, and networking breaks dedicated to exchanging insights and expertise on tackling Scope 3 emissions. Visit and or follow us on our social media to track other energy use and decarbonization events.