With the recent release of the IPCC Report on Global Warming, it is clear that the world is on track to an increase in extreme weather events due to man-made changes. While the role of governments to affect change is essential, there is also an essential obligation from the business community to confront this harsh reality head-on and start to make changes that will have a net positive impact for the future.
The weight of this type of news can make the problem seem insurmountable, especially for a small business, which has limited time and resources to spend on anything other than keeping the business going.
My initial feelings on this were that we were too small to make a difference and that this is a problem for big government and big business. But that didn’t sit well with me or our team. So we started having a serious look at our sustainability initiatives and came up with the following areas that we implemented as a business to have a positive impact.
These are the 5 things we found that small businesses can do to help combat climate change:
1. Be Carbon Negative
As Howard Zinn proclaimed “You Can’t Be Neutral on a Moving Train”, Carbon Neutrality (and realistically, Green House Gass (GHG) Neutrality) is not enough, we need to take efforts to pull back the damage that has been done. This thinking led us down the path of being aware of the emissions that our business is responsible for and then finding ways to lower and offset these emissions.
While offsetting is not a perfect solution, it is an effective way to reduce harm and increase awareness of what we are doing. We chose the Gold Standard as our offsetter of choice, and enjoy the ability to direct funds to specific projects, which gives our offset a bit of a story.
2. Commit To Grow As a Team
All of this latest news and climate forecasts can be really scary. Most people don’t see a path forward, and the natural thing to want to do is stay in bed and pull the covers over your head in despair.
A good alternative to this isolated despair is to have ongoing discussions as a team on climate change and the impacts your office are having on it. At 1UP, we set up a Positive Impact team that leads meetings to talk about ways that we can really make a positive impact in our communities and to causes that align with our values. This gives us the opportunity to share our experiences, check in with what we are all doing, and have realistic and tangible activities we can do to help leave a positive impact. We have done neighbourhood cleanups, fundraisers for high-impact charities, used clothing donation drives, and have many other ideas for our team to get outside of the norm and make a positive impact.
Not only do these projects have an impact on Carbon outputs, but they also help us feel empowered, and together when faced with this global dilemma.
3. Enable a Sustainable Commute
Even before COVID shuttered our office, we had facilities to help our staff not have to use their cars. Some of the ways that we help our staff stay out of their cars include:
- Be close to major bus/train stations – This will allow your staff to leave their car at home, even if it is only on occasion, this will have a positive impact.
- Be bike-friendly – This means having a safe area for storage of your staff’s bike, as well as an area for staff to clean up (shower is always a plus) and change.
- Incentivise alternatives – While it is not possible for everyone to take an alternative, have a friendly all-staff challenge that looks to make a collective difference, and then reward the entire team if successful.
4. Embrace Remote
One of the lasting impacts of COVID will definitely be how many people are able to work remotely. While there are many pros and cons for this transition, one irrefutable benefit for those that can manage remote work is that it completely cuts out the need to drive into the office, saving both time and emissions from going into the atmosphere.
The Harvard Business Review published a great article on how to manage a remote workforce that was inspirational to us when we were building out our remote work policy and plan.
5. Be a ‘B’
B-Corps are not a passing craze, they are here to stay. British Columbia is the first Canadian province to enact legislation adopting the benefit company structure. A B-corp is a business whose stated goals are to “put the pursuit of social and environmental goals at the heart of their mission”.
1UP is on the path to becoming a B-Corp, and are exercising the goals and ideals as we work toward official certification. We also as a company, offer a 10% discount on our services for any business that is a B-corp, as we feel this is a win-win for our clients and the world at large.
While this list is not exhaustive, it is a start, and we know we can do more. What is your business doing to help combat climate change? Write a comment below, and please share this article with anyone who you think would benefit from it.