A recent study by Pew Research found that 80% of citizens in advanced economies are willing to make changes to the way they live and work to fight climate change. This is great news! As a B Corp and a company committed to doing and being good for the world, TCG wants to respond to this trend by being a trusted climate-conscious vendor and employer and setting an example for other organizations.
While TCG is proud to have an Energy Star rating of 100 (the best possible score!), it’s important for other companies to know how they can achieve this too. Small-to-mid sized businesses make up over 90% of the business population. This means that the small business community has the power to drive significant change together. While it may seem daunting for small business owners to make an investment in sustainable business practices, there are small changes companies can make that have a big impact. Here are some ways that businesses can contribute:
- Support telecommuting. This may be the single most effective thing companies can do to lessen their environmental impact. While it may not be possible for all businesses to support teleworking for all employees, COVID-19 has shown that telecommuting is more feasible and beneficial than many previously imagined. TCG offers telecommuting options whenever possible, and the results speak for themselves: in 2020, TCG employees saved 60,943.18 gallons of gas by telecommuting.
- Provide incentives for employees who must commute. Commuting can be done sustainably! TCG provides incentives for employees to bike or take public transportation to work, and rewards employees who live within walking distance of their worksite. The company offers employees an expense-paid Capital Bikeshare membership and contributes up to $73 monthly to employees using Metro’s Smartrip Benefits program. In 2019, more than 25% TCG employees biked, walked, or took public transportation to work.
- Provide resources to help employees reduce their carbon footprint. TCG’s Power Management Policy details ways employees can save power at work, in their home office, and in their everyday lives. It includes instructions for activating Power Management on Windows and Mac computers, as well as tips on how to reduce household power used by televisions, lighting, chargers, etc.
- Foster a sustainable environment at the office. TCG stopped offering plastic water bottles at headquarters and instead opted to install water stations where visitors can refill reusable bottles. TCG also installed solar panels at its headquarters that generate more energy than the amount needed to power the building. In 2020, the company’s solar panels produced far more power than the company used, generating a net carbon offset of 3.21 metric tons of CO2 emissions.
- Purchase Carbon Offsets. There will always be an environmental cost of doing business but, luckily, companies can take responsibility for that cost by purchasing carbon offsets. The purchase of a carbon offset funds sustainability efforts such as harnessing wind power and capturing methane gas. It’s worth noting that carbon offsets do not directly neutralize carbon emissions, and they are not a replacement for intentional efforts to reduce one’s carbon footprint. By supporting environmentally positive initiatives, carbon offsets can help companies be accountable for their inevitable emissions in a productive way. In October 2020, TCG purchased 3 mT carbon offsets for 1 years’ worth of carbon emissions resulting from the work of 149 employees. (Carbon emissions were lower in 2020 than normal because COVID-19 meant no employees were commuting from early March through the end of the year.) Carbon offsets can be purchased from reputable organizations such as Terrapass.
By implementing as many of these changes as possible, small and midsize companies can prove their commitment to one of the most pressing issues facing our world today, and make sustainable, profitable change.