Carbon Neutral Companies and How to Achieve the Status Yourself

In this article, we take a look at some of the biggest names currently running in the race to become carbon neutral corporations, including Google, Volkswagen, Sky, M&S and Innocent. We consider and find inspiration in the ways in which they’ve achieved their environmentally-friendly goals and suggest some ways in which you too could reach this highly sought after status with your own business. The carbon Footprint is currently 60 per cent of humanity’s overall Ecological Footprint and its most rapidly growing component. Humanity’s carbon Footprint has increased 11-fold since 1961, so you can see just how much demand it is for you to join the ranks of these impressive, eco-friendly companies. 

Google

Google was one of the first companies to achieve carbon neutrality, having already gained the status in 2007, before most companies had even begun to plan their approach. But this wasn’t enough for Google, which then set itself the goal of switching to renewable energy to supply all of its offices and data centres too, allowing it to take a huge step forward in its mission to become a zero-emission company by 2030. 

So, by 2030, Google’s aim is for every query entered into their search engine, every route supplied by Google Maps, every email sent via Gmail and every video watched on YouTube to be processed by data centres powered by green energy. They intend to use wind and solar energy as the main components of their clean energy sources, as well as make the most of artificial intelligence to forecast electricity demand; enabling them to become more efficient in their use of energy too. And it doesn’t end there; Google also actively invests in many projects centred around environmental protection through the use of modern technologies. 

Volkswagen

Volkswagen is another big brand that has committed itself to reach carbon neutral status in the next few decades. To be specific, their aim is to have reached this goal by 2050, and they have adopted the motto ‘goTOzero’ to help aid their progress.

For many automobile manufacturers, the first objective when it comes to a carbon-neutral policy is an obvious one; electrifying their cars in order to reduce carbon emissions. True to form, Volkswagen has developed a modular platform from which they launched their ID.31 model in 2020. Not only is this a fully electric car, but it is also produced using entirely CO2-neutral methods; a great step forward for an industry responsible for so much environmental damage. Furthermore, Volkswagen offers its ID.31 customers renewable electricity in order to charge their vehicles and is consistently growing its body of charging stations in Europe and North America. 

As well as taking this important first step, Volkswagen has bold plans for the future too. By 2025, they aim to have released a further 70 electric vehicles to the market, hoping to sell 3 million of them every year afterwards, adapting eight of their factories in Europe, Asia and the US to enable this. In addition, Volkswagen aims to reduce the CO2 emissions of all of its cars at the production stage from 2020, taking them from 123 g CO2/km to 95 g CO2/km, and 45% of the CO2 emissions produced by all of their factories. All in all, by 2025 the carbon footprint for each Volkswagen vehicle during its life cycle will be reduced by 30% compared to 2015.  

Sky

Like Google, Sky has been a major front runner in the race to become carbon neutral, reaching the status in 2006. They have reduced their carbon consumption by 55%, which is a significant achievement considering that they have over 23 million subscribers and 30,000 employees.

Many of the methods they have employed have centred around reducing their energy consumption, for example by reducing travel, waste and water usage. They have also improved fuel efficiency across their fleet of vehicles. Furthermore, they’ve switched to renewable energy sources across the board, favouring wind power and developing an on-site facility to produce it themselves.

Like Volkswagen, Sky also invests in environmentally friendly projects. In fact, they have financed over 30 around the world, including renewable energy projects in India and rainforest conservation efforts in Brazil. And finally, Sky has also produced the world’s first automatic standby mode for their customer based television equipment, which ensures that their customers will reduce their own carbon emissions too.

M&S

Supermarkets are another of the key contributors to some of the world’s most pressing environmental concerns, but M&S is leading the way in reversing their impact. By 2007 they had reached carbon neutral status and overall they have reduced their carbon footprint by 75%, an astounding figure for such a large company. Furthermore, they have goals to increase this to 80% by 2030, and 90% by 2035.

So how are they achieving this? Well, they are taking a far more efficient approach to run their company transport, their stores, their offices and their distribution centres. They are also helping to develop and are investing in anti-deforestation projects and sustainable cotton and palm oil projects. Furthermore, they encourage their employees and customers to reduce their own emissions by improving the sustainability of the products they sell, and setting up their own clean energy supply for them to use; M&S Energy. There aren’t many corporations who can say that! 

Innocent

It is crucial that the food and drink industry play their part too, as they are one of the biggest offenders when it comes to carbon emissions. Luckily, Innocent has established a number of aims when it comes to carbon neutrality. Firstly, they aim to remove all greenhouse gases from the production process of their products, which will result in them becoming carbon neutral by 2030.

However, they have already begun to take steps towards this goal in other ways. For example, they have reduced emissions from product production by 5%, switched to recycled, plant-based materials for their product packaging, and switched to lower carbon transport methods such as using barges to transport goods. Furthermore, they now source two-thirds of their electricity from renewable sources, and 100% when it comes to their head office. Finally, they offset their carbon emissions through campaigns such as their ‘Do Nation’ campaign which encourages their employees to pledge to save carbon. This campaign alone has reduced emissions by 4172 tonnes.

Businesses and their approach to carbon neutrality are the keys to overcoming some of the major environmental challenges we face today, in fact, just 100 companies are responsible for 71% of global emissions. So where do you and your business fit into this picture? While you may not be one of the biggest contributors, every small change you make to how eco-friendly your operations are, has a big impact. Here are some easy-to-implement changes for you to consider if you would like to play your part.

  • Go paperless- eradicate paper-based communications by switching to email, telephone calls and live chat. To ease this transition, you could make the most of companies like Cymphony who can provide expert call handlers and live chat agents on a pay per minute basis.
  • Establish new procedures to ensure that your employees are using their work premises responsibly, for example, new recycling rules and providing guidance on how to save energy through the correct use of heating and cooling equipment. 
  • Source environmentally friendly products, whether it's recycled office equipment or responsibly produced food and drink for your company canteen.
  • Switch to a green energy supplier. 
  • Encourage a cycle to work or car share schemes for your staff, as well as the use of public transport.

Why not make a start today by calculating your carbon footprint? You might be surprised by the impact you’re having, but by following our advice you’ll soon start to feel much better about the role you’re playing in saving the planet.  

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