The mounting pressure on humankind to take measures preventing further damage to the natural world is no secret. With progression in technology, we have been able to see the devastating impacts our collective actions have had on the planet.
Through documentaries, satellite imaging and climate records, we have all seen how many years of nonchalance regarding our use of natural resources has impacted our world. It’s something talked about regularly in the news and discussed by world leaders. Climate change protest group, Extinction Rebellion, have recently protested around London seeking meaningful change to the UK’s climate policies. The daunting truth is that, without change, life on earth is under great threat.
- It will take less than 100 years to destroy all rainforests on earth if the current rate of deforestation continues.
- The 100,000 marine mammals and turtles, and million seabirds killed annually by marine plastic pollution will continue.
- Carbon emissions will continue to rise, causing warmer global temperatures and further threatening life on earth.
Thankfully, through awareness, more individuals and businesses are making the changes necessary to reduce carbon footprints.
As you may know, Shred Station recently received CarbonNeutral® certification from Natural Capital Partners. This was achieved through many environmental commitments such as a zero to landfill policy, a solar-powered head office, the use of eco-friendly vehicles, and carbon offsetting.
There are also many companies you may use every day who have made inspiring pledges and actions towards total sustainability.
Sky Media have been CarbonNeutral® since 2006, and have many commitments into sustainability.
In 2009, Sky partnered with WWF and the Acre State Government to launch their Sky Rainforest Rescue campaign. This campaign broadcasted the effects of deforestation to over 7,000,000 viewers. It also implemented positive agricultural change in the Acre State region of Brazil, providing farmers with a more profitable alternative to using rainforest land as grazing areas for cattle. By doing this, one billion trees were saved.
In 2017, Sky launched Sky Ocean Rescue and committed to removing all single-use plastic from their business of over 30,000 employees.
They’ve also committed £25 million into Sky Ocean Ventures, an investment fund launched to tackle environmental issues. They have so far invested in biodegradable plastic bottles and edible condiment sachets. They’ve also teamed up with Imperial College London’s Grantham Institute to research solutions for the ocean plastics problem
M&S launched their sustainability project, Plan A, in 2007. The company met many of their objectives by 2012 when they announced they were proud to be officially carbon neutral.
They did this in many ways. Firstly, reducing greenhouse gas emissions by improving fuel efficiency. They also reduced electrical consumption and invested in carbon offsetting amongst many other commitments.
They have also reduced waste, with none of their internal waste going to landfill.
M&S’ updated Plan A 2025 sustainability commitments publication outlines their goals for the future. One of these goals is that all packaging they put on the market will be easy to recycle by 2025. They also aim to ensure every piece of unsold food goes towards human consumption, either by the reduction in price or by being donated to local food banks.
Google’s mission statement on sustainability cites that “the path to a cleaner, healthier future begins with the small decisions we make each day”. But Google’s commitments to sustainability are far from small.
Google has been carbon neutral since 2007, thanks to purchasing renewable energy matching its global energy consumption. Google has also invested $3 billion (£2.3 billion) into renewable energy projects, and freely share tech that may aid others responding to environmental challenges.
Just one of their many environmental legacies was established in 2016 when Google launched a platform called Global Fishing Watch (GFW). GFW was founded in partnership with Oceana, a global ocean advocacy group, and SkyTruth, an environmental watchdog that uses satellite imagery to monitor threats to the natural world. The tool is primarily used to provide accurate data on the activities of commercial fishing vessels. This monitoring has helped our oceans in many ways, including conserving marine habitats. GFW has also provided new tools for sustainable fishing and identifying illegal fishing activity.
As well as big projects like the above, Google also has an online tool to help people reduce their daily food, water, and energy waste – Your Plan, Your Planet. Anyone can use this tool, and best of all, it’s free!
Whether you’ve needed it for work, or in your personal life – most of us at some point in our lives will use a hire vehicle.
The vehicle rental company in the UK has been CarbonNeutral® since 1997, and in that time has offset over 200,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions.
This is equivalent to the emissions of:
- Annual energy usage of 23,949 homes
- 489 million miles driven by an average passenger vehicle
- Charging 25 billion smartphones
Their offsetting commitments are dedicated to forestry and climate-friendly projects across the globe.
Avis Budget Group EMEA are also involved in many worldwide environmental projects including the development of renewable energy, methane capture schemes, and tree planting. They have also funded a wind-turbine project in India, a hydroelectric power project in China, and a geothermal power project in Indonesia – three big polluting countries.
Since 2014, Avis UK has also added eco-friendly vehicles to their fleet of hire cars. The introduction of these cars to Avis’ UK fleet is another example of its bid to be greener.
Eden Springs – The Water & Coffee Company
Eden Springs water coolers and coffee machines can be found in many offices and public buildings across Europe.
The company have been working to reduce their environmental impacts for almost a decade, and the company has been certified CarbonNeutral® since 2010.
They have been able to reach net zero carbon emissions through many improvements in energy efficiency. This includes optimising delivery routes, providing low energy consumption coolers and coffee machines, reducing paper use, internal recycling, investing in renewables, and carbon offsetting.
One of their current key areas of focus is the plastic footprint of the Eden Springs water cooler bottles. These bottles are 100% recyclable and can be reused up to 50 times before recycling.
While not quite Carbon Neutral yet, another company worthy of a special mention is Quorn.
Quorn has steadily been reducing their carbon emissions in recent years. Since 2012 they have reduced the carbon footprint of their factories by 37%. 80% of their packaging is now recyclable, and they have also reduced their water usage by 21%. Quorn is the first business of its kind to achieve third-party certification of their carbon footprint figures, and over 50% of their products have achieved the Carbon Trust Footprint.
It’s also no secret that a reduction in our collective meat consumption is essential to avoid significant climate change. This is because livestock farming causes great damage to the environment, including deforestation and great quantities of methane emissions. In rich nations, beef consumption would have to be reduced by 90%, and milk 60% to avoid global warming over 1.5˚C¹. The consumption of rice would also have to be reduced. This is because rice paddies are another dominant source of methane.
The small change of cooking with Quorn’s plant-based mince instead of beef mince, once a week for a year, could save enough energy to boil 20,000 kettles. This is because Quorn mince has over 90% lower greenhouse gas emissions than beef. Quorn also uses only certified sustainable palm oil, and have done since 2014.
Another great tool by Quorn can be found on their website in the form of a Sustainability Calculator. This tool can help individuals and families calculate how opting for plant-based alternatives even just once a month can reduce carbon footprints.
What more can be done?
Buying plant-based meat alternatives, plastic-free products, or even food without plastic packaging can be expensive. However, if we do what we can and commit to recycling, a little can go a long way. Encouraging businesses to adapt their sustainability goals to reduce their carbon emissions is another great step in the right direction. Importantly, we should also speak to our local MPs, and encourage greater change.
The best thing we can do is support others in their efforts towards reducing their carbon footprint. Reducing our own carbon footprints, as well as using the products and services of carbon neutral companies, is the first step we all must take towards a more sustainable future.
If you have any questions about Shred Station’s environmental commitments, you can get in touch today, or click to read more here.
For more information on the cited source, visit the link below:
¹ Source: https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2018/oct/10/huge-reduction-in-meat-eating-essential-to-avoid-climate-breakdown
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