How to Reduce your Business Carbon Footprint
Mike Agerbo speaks with Aryne Sheppard from the David Suzuki Foundation with tips on how to make your workplace a little more environmentally friendly.
Mike Agerbo: Well if you own a small business you know it’s very important to make sure that you're also environmentally conscious. Today, we’ve got Aryne Sheppard, she is the manager of community leadership for the David Suzuki Foundation, that is like a long title.
Aryne Sheppard: A long title.
Mike Agerbo: I want to talk about small businesses, you know we have one here ourselves and we’re always trying to do our best like recycling and what have you. I mean where this one start really?
Aryne Sheppard: There is three areas for small businesses especially where they can reduce their environmental impact, waste, energy and transportation. So those are three good places to start.
Mike Agerbo: Well waste I can obviously think of the things we throw away, also printing out stuff. I can't tell you how much stuff we print out, but I guess it’s important to set up some type of recycling program.
Aryne Sheppard: Sure, so a lot of it isn't about engaging, I mean getting everybody involved. So some real low hanging fruits that you can start with right away is paper production. One of the companies that we know up here in Vancouver has reduced their paper by 26% and how they’ve done that is by engaging employees using double sided printing making sure that the printers are password protected, so it actually go up to the printer and type in the password before anything gets printed out, so at the end of the day quite often there is left over documents.
Mike Agerbo: You also talked about energy. So what are some areas we can save on energy?
Aryne Sheppard: Again, you know the small businesses, there’s a lot you can do in terms of powering down your system every evening and reducing the amount of time the lights are on. So for example, a really easy thing that we’ve done at the David Suzuki Foundation is install power bars at every work station. So it’s only one switch at the end of the night.
Mike Agerbo: And so that flicked out and it's good to go?
Aryne Sheppard: Exactly.
Mike Agerbo: And I guess you could put all the people you don’t like in your company, one room just keep the lights off. But it’s amazing how many people do leave their computers on? Say it's bad for the computer to turn it off, but it's not.
Aryne Sheppard: It’s actually not and it actually uses a lot of energy and even putting your computers stayed on screensaver it actually doesn’t reduce the energy consumption. You really do need to turn of the monitor and turn off your PC. Also a lot of us have adaptors and we’ve got a lot of different electronic equipment. So again that—
Mike Agerbo: You should see my desk.
Aryne Sheppard: That’s why you want to use the power bar because that phantom energy. It’s like a—you don’t see the energy that’s being consumed at all times. So really you need to motor down everything.
Mike Agerbo: So even though you’re not charging your phone anymore, there's still phantom power being drawn through that.
Aryne Sheppard: Exactly and if you have a number of staff in your organization, you can do really fun things like a competition, like turn it off to win and that’s one thing that we recommend in David Suzuki at work program. So this is the toolkit and this is available free online and you also have a really cool interactive version now with David Suzuki avatar. And so one of the activities that we encourage staff to use is a little competition where at the end of the day, green team goes around and check to make sure everybody’s systems have been powered down, and at the end of the two week period, there is prizes maybe or you donate whatever energy savings you’ve accrued to a local charity.
Mike Agerbo: Or you fire the person that never—their stuff off.
Aryne Sheppard: And you know what it's funny even the David Suzuki Foundation, some of us forget. You know we’re all busy, we’re all human and we make mistakes. So once again, it’s getting into these new habits and making sure they’re reinforced regularly.
Mike Agerbo: So by doing these types of contest, it’s kind of like a positive feedback and you get people thinking about it.
Aryne Sheppard: Exactly and you get everybody engaged because not everybody wants to be a member of the green team and not everybody would call themselves and enviro, but everybody—
Mike Agerbo: But it’s simple to shut the computer.
Aryne Sheppard: Exactly. Making it easy and setting the default are really easy ways to change behavior.
Mike Agerbo: And finally, you talked about transportation. Obviously, in our company we get about 15 people and they come from all over the place.
Aryne Sheppard: Right.
Mike Agerbo: And so what are some tips for the people there?
Aryne Sheppard: The most obvious ones are telecommunicating and video conferencing. If people don’t need to come to work everyday, it really makes employees happy and it certainly reduces emission from travel. Unfortunately in Canada even now, over 70% of Canadians drive to work everyday rather than taking public transit or using bikes or actually just walking to work. So whatever ways employers can really helps employees reduce their emissions from driving, the better.
Mike Agerbo: And I guess driving is probably one of the biggest polluters.
Aryne Sheppard: Exactly. In certain provinces it is actually the leading cause of emissions.
Mike Agerbo: Well I want to thank you for coming on the show. Is there a website people can go then to get more information?
Aryne Sheppard: Definitely, I encourage everybody to go to davidsuzuki.org and we also offer workshop for free in Toronto and Vancouver, so we’ll be happy to send you the David Suzuki ambassador.
Mike Agerbo: Thank you very much.
Aryne Sheppard: All right, thank you.
Mike Agerbo: Aryne Sheppard from the David Suzuki Foundation talking about how you can reduce your carbon footprint for your business.
How to Reduce your Business Carbon Footprint
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