Climate change is causing long term shifts to the Earth’s weather patterns, with CO2 emissions being one of the major contributors to the rising temperatures. According to research from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere have increased by 45% in the last 130 years, from around the time of the Industrial Revolution. The effects of climate change are real, as highlighted in a 2014 IPCC report (Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change):
- Increase in average surface temperature of 0.85 °C since 1880. This may not seem like much, but to give some context, if the Earth’s surface temperature dropped by just 5%, the planet would be in a full ice age
- Increase in sea levels by 0.19 m between 1910 and 2010. A 2019 report from PNAS (Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences) warns that the oceans are rising faster than originally thought
- Increase in sea surface temperature of 0.11 °C between 1971 and 2010
- Reduction in sea ice – 2016 saw the lowest winter sea ice ever recorded
- Change in precipitation, with intense flooding and severe droughts becoming more frequent.
As global temperatures continue to increase, so will the severity of these changes. Governments, organisations and pressure groups around the world are intensifying their efforts to mitigate or even reverse the effects of climate change. Businesses are putting environmental issues at the top of their agenda out of a sense of duty of responsibility towards our planet. If an organisation needs any persuading, there are good business reasons to act:
- Increase sales – Customer tenders look for suppliers to have robust environmental policies
- Reduce cost – Find savings on energy bills and other operational costs
- Compliance – Expect to see increased statutory reporting, and other legislation around carbon emissions, and be prepared to meet supply chain requirements
- Market differentiation – Enhance your business and brand’s sustainability credentials, bringing potential PR opportunities
- Employer brand – Meet your corporate social responsibility objectives, enhancing employee engagement and attracting talent.
What can your company do to help? Embracing remote working and providing empowering collaboration tools to your employees will mitigate many of the main factors contributing to climate change. You’ll also reap the rewards that remote working brings, such as increased engagement, efficiencies and productivity.
Going green doesn’t mean that you suddenly have to base your entire workforce from home on a permanent basis. Even small changes will make a positive difference.
- Reduce business travel – Collaboration tools mean that you don’t need to travel so often to meet your colleagues, customers or suppliers face to face. Holding virtual meetings will result in big cost savings and huge environmental benefits. A return flight to Paris for just one passenger produces 0.11 tonnes of CO2. Climate Care Calculator
- Green travel – If your business trip is a necessity, then make it as green as you can. Opt for paperless tickets and stay at environmentally friendly hotels (look for hotels with the Green Tourism Award).
- Reduce commuting and fossil fuel usage – Whether you start car sharing, working from home one or two days a week, or even permanently, you will make a valuable contribution to carbon emission savings. Someone with a daily round-trip commute of 20 miles produces 1.15 tonnes of CO2 in a year. Any reduction in that has got to be good.
- Ease congestion – Travelling outside peak commuting times, for example by moving start/finish times backwards or forwards by just an hour, can ease congestion and reduce the emissions that idling engines churn into our atmosphere.
- Eliminate paper waste – Remote workers use technology rather than passing physical documents back and forth, so they use far less paper.
Remote working results in happier, more productive employees, and it may just help save our planet. That’s what I call a no-brainer.