A new way of doing business | Reduce your carbon footprint | What you can do | David Suzuki Foundation

Around the world, a growing number of businesses are taking steps to manage their greenhouse gas emissions and reduce their climate impact. These businesses are enhancing their brands, motivating employees, becoming more efficient, and saving money.

Doing Business in a New Climate provides guidance and resources for the key activities that make up a greenhouse gas management program, including measuring, reducing, and offsetting emissions, and developing a communications strategy around the program. The guide also profiles leading businesses that are benefiting from greenhouse gas management.

Not only businesses, but other organizations that wish to reduce their climate impact, such as government agencies, municipalities, non-governmental organizations and educational institutions can use the guide.

About the Foundation's green workplace

Here's a quick list of what you can do at work to lessen your climate impact:

  • Purchase energy-saving models of office appliances and equipment, such as EnergyStar-approved computers, LCD monitors, printers and photocopiers. Not only will this help save energy, but it will save money too.
  • Design for lighting intensity of 1.0 watts per square foot or less. Over-lighting wastes energy and produces glare.
  • Install lighting controls to turn lights on only when needed and to provide the required amount of light. Based in Langley, B.C., Ledalite's office lighting technology, Ergolight, incorporates sensors and computer-based dimming controls to provide significant savings in energy costs. Business customers using the Ergolight system have experienced major decreases in energy consumption, in some cases up to 80 per cent.
  • Encourage staff to commit to taking alternative modes of transportation for their daily commute at least once a month. This can include options such as car-pooling, cycling, taking public transit or walking where possible.
  • Reduce your staff's environmental impacts from air travel by using video-conferences for meetings.
  • Create a recycling program and decrease paper use.
  • If you have a fleet of vehicles, try to use the most energy-efficient models possible. For example, Novex, one of the Lower Mainland's largest couriers, plans on converting its entire fleet of cars, vans and trucks to low-emission vehicles.
  • Energy-efficiency upgrades and retrofits to office buildings can have long-term paybacks. For example, instead of spending more than $3 million to build a new leisure centre, the District of Mission, B.C., upgraded its existing leisure centre. It replaced the refrigeration plant and hot water boiler systems and installed energy-efficient lighting systems among other measures. As a result, Mission will enjoy annual energy savings of $74,000.
  • Visit Power Smart for businesses to find out how your company can cut pollution and save money with clean, efficient energy technology.

Getting people to change their ways is no easy task. By creating a new normal, simple things like setting a printer default to double-siding means that someone has to stop and change it to do it the less eco-friendly way. Here are a few tips:

  • Keep activities fun and hopeful. Inspiration is attractive. People will look forward to what you have planned if they know it's going to be a good time.
  • Try explaining the downside. People will change their behaviours faster if the message is framed in terms of how much the company/person stands to lose by not doing that thing.
  • Positive peer pressure works. People trust people they perceive are just like themselves more than anyone else.
  • Ask people in your organization who are making the changes you want to promote to tell their stories. And seek out stories of other workplaces like yours that have grappled with sustainability issues and won. "If they can do it, so can we!" is a great motivator.

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