The United Nations climate conference COP26 has grabbed global attention as our collective “last best chance” to curb the grim consequences of climate change. COP26 was the moment countries revisited climate pledges made made under the 2015 Paris Agreement.
As of today, 60 of the UK’s FTSE 100 companies have signed up the United Nation’s Race To Zero Campaign. The largest ever global alliance committed to achieving net zero carbon emissions by 2050 at the latest.
The carbon footprint is 60% of humanity’s overall ecological footprint and has increased 11-fold since 1961. An essential step which a business should take? Reduce its CO2 emissions.
Technology must be part of the solution, but at the moment it is part of the problem. Governments are very keen to promote the role of technology when it comes to the fight against climate change.
Everyone has a role to play as we shift towards more sustainable practices; there are lots of things businesses can do to reduce their environmental impact.
At Reach Studios, we recognise COP26 is a significant milestone in the UK’s journey to reach net zero. We, along with the broader technology sector, have an important role to play.
Indeed, we spend a good part of our life at our companies’ premises. As such, a large part of our impact on the environment happens during our time at work. Hence the need to make daily work choices that help us correctly participate in the transition towards a fairer and more responsible world.
Reach have implemented several measures to try and reduce our energy consumption and general waste:
1. Carbon Neutral Data Centres
This one is a biggy for us. Data centres, which are necessary for housing servers and providing hosting, use a large amount of energy and emit tonnes of CO2 every year. Those data centres are an integral part of our business at Reach. Our hosting shouldn’t contribute to our carbon footprint. For that very reason we decided to use UKFast to host our servers. UKFast is now a carbon neutral business, working with one of the world leaders in carbon management to offset carbon emissions. In addition, UKFast has achieved PAS 2060 – making them the first carbon neutral hosting company in the UK.
2. Recycling Office Waste
When thinking about waste reduction, we like to keep re-using and recycling in mind. Every business generates waste; it’s what you do with it that matters. We believe it is important to get into good habits and recycle. It may seem like a simple step, but ensuring we have recycling bins in the office is one step towards becoming more sustainable. Our recycling bins are clearly labelled and are accessible for all to use. All old electronics and office furniture gets recycled or donated to those in need. By purchasing reusable mugs, tableware and cutlery we have significantly reduced the amount of single use plastic being used in the office.
3. Switching Off
Turning off the computer at the end of the day instead leaving it on standby, or switching it to energy-saving mode is relevant too. We utilise as much natural light as possible. For rooms such as the kitchen and bathrooms, where staff come and go time and again, motion lights have been fitted, so no light is left on when the room isn’t in use. Furthermore, we make sure to turn the heating and lighting off every evening before we leave. These are simple and apparently not very significant actions, but if everyone kept them in mind: environmental impacts would be greatly reduced.
To improve indoor air quality we have encouraged the Reach staff members to bring in a desk plant. As well as being a mood booster, plants produce more oxygen, offsetting any chemicals released into the air by office devices.
5. Promoting A Paperless Future
We are in the business of technology and software so deciding to go as paperless as possible made sense. Many offices consume vast amounts of paper. Here at Reach we have taken action to cut down our paper usage, especially by reducing printing, and digitising business processes (e.g. online contract signings, avoiding printing emails, presentations and annotating on screen). If printing is required, we try to ensure double sided printing is set. Deciding to print as little as possible, not only saves money on ink costs but using less paper will add to reducing our company’s overall CO2 emissions.
6. Online Meetings
The majority of the UK’s working population made the transition to remote working through 2020 and 2021’s national lockdowns. We probably all had some kind of experience with virtual meetings. Be that with Zoom, Teams, Slack, Skype, or even Facebook Rooms. Instead of travelling long distances for business meetings or corporate events, we consider whether that meeting could be hosted online. By doing so we are saving ourselves commuting times and travel expenses, whilst reducing the company’s travel emissions. Transport accounts for around one-fifth of global CO2 emissions. So, if everybody travelled a little less (we are starting to introduce carpooling to the team), there is certainly room for large reductions in collective CO2 emissions.
Moving Towards A Greener Future
For us at Reach, we understand that business has some pretty big carbon footprints to fill. Which is why we are taking steps to make our company more eco-friendly and working towards the bigger picture: Carbon Net Zero
Each company’s journey to becoming environmentally sustainable will be unique but it is more critical than ever to start now and get it right.
At a time when even the biggest companies, including McDonald’s, Microsoft and Samsung are incorporating sustainability practices into their businesses, it is obvious that the climate crisis is a very dire phenomenon.
Therefore, every business has their part to play, whatever their size. By taking account of our individual carbon footprints and taking active steps to reduce them, we can help slow, and ideally, reverse the effects of climate change.