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Richard Jaggs

MD | Resolution Design

  • May 30, 2024
  • 3 minute read

At Resolution we are passionate about sustainability and tackling climate change. We’ve recently pledged to become net zero and in this post, I’d like to highlight some actions your business can take to reduce its carbon footprint, some well-understood, others less so.

It’s worth mentioning that moving towards net zero is not just about protecting our environment, taking positive action is also good business and brings with it some great side benefits, for example:

> Reduced costs
> Increased employee engagement
> Increased attractiveness to your customers
> Increased appeal to investors
> Compliance with supply chain requirements
> Compliance with regulations

Sustainability tips

You’re undoubtedly doing many good things, so I’ll bullet a few more obvious tips…

> Reduce your reliance on fossil fuels as much as possible.
> Insulate – improve the thermal efficiency of your building/s.
> Use electricity from 100% renewable sources (we use Good Energy), or create your own.
> Use low-energy lightbulbs, appliances and other electrical goods and use them wisely.
> Reduce travel where possible.
> Use video calls instead of travelling to client meetings.
> Allow working from home and flexible working practices to avoid congestion times.
> Encourage the use of a cycle scheme.
> Buy only what you need.
> Recycle all you can (or better still reuse or upcycle). 

Also very importantly:
> Carefully select your suppliers and ensure they are behaving as sustainably as possible.

Now for a few less obvious. 

The Cloud

I’m no expert on the carbon emissions of online data processing and storage, so please excuse any errors, but browsing the internet for answers (emitting an ironic trail of C02 as I did so) I came across this great factoid; “The Cloud now has a greater carbon footprint than the airline industry. A single data centre can consume the equivalent electricity of 50,000 homes.

And how many large data centres are there? Well, about 11,000 it turns out. So let me see, that’s an equivalent electricity use of 550 million homes. If that’s correct, data centres now use the equivalent energy of 25% of all homes on the planet. So anyway, a lot.  

How much carbon your data storage emits depends on a few things, not least whether the power used comes from renewables or fossil fuels. But given that approximately 70% of the world’s global energy currently comes from non-renewable sources it seems very sensible to reduce the cloud data processing and storage your business uses:

> Only store data you need (photos, videos, documents, backups, etc.).
> Use the most sustainable cloud data storage you can.
> Use personal hard drives for data storage where appropriate.
> Remember every internet search uses energy and produces an estimated 0.2g of CO2.

Here’s another thing, a simple ‘thank you’ email is estimated to create 0.3g of CO2. A long email, cc’d to numerous people may produce as much as 20g of C02, add an image or attachments and that may increase to as much as 50g. For context, 1 mile in a normal petrol car produces 200- 400g CO2 emissions. So, some tips on emails:

> Only send emails you need to and don’t cc more than you need.
> Unsubscribe from mailings that you don’t want to reduce email traffic.
> Only store emails you need and set sensible rules to delete emails from your files.

Incidentally, chat programmes like Slack are better than emails, with the average Slack message producing a meagre 0.035g CO2.  

The BBC have a great article entitled “Why your internet habits are not as clean as you think” which explains all things internet and is well worth a read, one quote jumped out:

“If every adult in the UK sent one less “thank you” email, it could save 16,433 tonnes of carbon a year – the equivalent to taking 3,334 diesel cars off the road.”

One for fun – built-in inefficiency

Energy efficiency is critical to reducing your business’s carbon emissions, but when it comes to getting physically active inefficiency is a good thing. For example, one of our team at Resolution parks a mile away from the Devizes studio, this means they travel 2 miles less each day in their car, avoid the town centre traffic, park for free and get 30 mins of walking, that’s win x4.

Support and recognition

You might like to commit your business to becoming net zero. The SME Climate Hub is a non-profit global initiative that empowers small to medium-sized companies to take climate action and build resilient businesses for the future. You can commit to reducing your business emissions and get support on the SME Climate Hub website.

If you are a larger business, consider a broader ethical stance by becoming a BCorp Certified business. BCorps are companies verified to meet high social and environmental performance standards, transparency and accountability. 

Thanks for reading and wishing you every success in moving towards net zero!

Background note

The Climate Change Act was passed with an overwhelming majority across political parties in 2008. It committed the UK to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions by 80 per cent by 2050, compared to 1990 levels. This target was made more ambitious in 2019 when the UK became the first major economy to commit to a ‘net zero’ target. The new target requires the UK to bring all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050.

The UK got off to a good start and The Climate Change Committee has reported that the UK met its first, second and third carbon budgets, but is not on track to meet the fourth (2023–27) or fifth (2028–32) budgets.

The Committee’s 2023 report to Parliament is direct in its criticism of recent Government actions. Lord Debon, Chairman of the Committee stated that “The UK has lost the clear global leadership it once held” and that “our confidence in the UK achieving its 2030 targets has materially reduced in this last year” and “we need to act with the utmost urgency”.

It’s well worth watching the Climate Change Committee’s recent report. It gives a very clear picture of the challenges we face and the extent to which the UK government’s recent actions and inactions have seriously damaged our likelihood of the UK achieving net-zero ambitions and minimising global temperature rise and the catastrophic climate changes that will result.

Let’s get the

ball rolling…