Last updated:

10th May 2024

Businesses and Organisations

How to reduce your carbon emissions

Your journey to carbon neutrality

Understanding your business’ role in addressing the climate emergency is an important first step in sustainability. We are already seeing adverse weather effects in our Borough due to climate change but we do have some power to minimise the worst impacts.

We are asking everyone who runs a business in Wokingham Borough to consider ways in which their business can help tackle climate change. By reducing the amount of energy that your business uses and reducing your carbon footprint in other ways will help lead to lower carbon emissions and reduce your energy costs. Reducing your carbon emissions will help Wokingham Borough to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Monitoring and reducing your carbon emissions as a business won’t only help tackle the climate emergency but will also highlight key areas of high energy usage and other inefficiencies within your business. Lowering the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by your business goes hand-in-hand with increasing efficiency and lowering energy costs.

What Does Carbon Footprint Mean in Business?

A business’s carbon footprint is an estimate of the total number of greenhouse gases it produces through its day-to-day operations, including running the business and creating its products. Greenhouse gases make the planet warmer as they trap heat in the atmosphere. The vast majority of greenhouse gas emitted by businesses is carbon dioxide or CO2, which occurs when fossil fuels are burned for energy.

A carbon footprint doesn’t only take into account the company’s direct operations, but also indirect emissions. These are emissions from sources outside of the company, but which the company and its operations directly influence. For example, the emissions of other businesses within the company’s value chain and supporting companies.

The smaller your business’s carbon footprint, the more sustainable your business is overall.

How to Calculate Your Business’ Carbon Footprint

Measuring your carbon footprint is one of the very first steps on the journey to becoming carbon neutral. Identifying where your carbon hotspots are will also help you to spot opportunities to drive change and save money as well as adopt more sustainable business practices.

The first step to calculating your carbon footprint is to collect a variety of data from different sources including travel, logistics and operations to give a more accurate overview of the amount of carbon your business is emitting.

The Carbon Trust has a free Carbon footprint calculator available for businesses to use.  Also DEFRA’s small business user guide gives a clear and comprehensive step-by-step guide on measuring and reporting greenhouse gas emissions.

Actions you can take to reduce your carbon footprint

Once you’ve identified carbon emission hotspots within your company, you’ll have a clearer idea on ways to minimise your environmental impact. Here are just a few ways available to businesses looking to reduce their carbon footprint.

Five benefits for being a greener business

1. Enhanced business image

Being more sustainable could give you the competitive edge when it comes to standing out in a crowded marketplace. More and more consumers are purchasing products and services from businesses that are climate friendly and are doing more to address environmental issues.

2. Increased productivity and reduced costs

Efficiency saves money, so thinking carefully about how to make your business waste as little as possible will have a knock-on effect to costs.

3. Better financial and investment opportunities

Green-focused start-ups can often take advantage of a far wider range of grants, loans and funding than a traditional business might.

And there are also many other grants available in our green grants & schemes section to boost local green businesses.

4. Being prepared for future legislation

Being more sustainable may involve some investment now, but it could save you a significant amount further down the line, should the government or your industry enforce specific sustainability regulations.

5. Better employee morale and health & well-being

Ensuring your workplace has sustainability in both its mission impact statement and day-to-day duties can improve recruitment, retention and the morale of your employees.

Employee benefits of your workplace going green are not just limited to cheaper bicycles and sustainable practices. Improving things such as ventilation, adding greenery, and swapping out regular light bulbs for LED ones have proven to have improved staff’s physical health both inside and outside of the workplace, from inducing better sleep to reducing respiratory viruses.

Green Grants & Schemes

National schemes

1. Workplace Charging Scheme:

This initiative aims to encourage electric vehicle adoption by supporting workplace charging infrastructure

Eligibility: Businesses, charities, and public sector organisations that meet the applicant and site criteria.

Grant Coverage: The grant covers up to 75% of the total costs for purchasing and installing electric vehicle charge points (including VAT).

Maximum Amount: Each socket is capped at a maximum of £350.

Site Limit: Applicants can install a maximum of 40 sockets across all sites.

2. Plug-in Grant for Low-Emission Vehicles:

This initiative encourages the adoption of Electric vehicles.

Eligibility: Certain low-emission vehicles qualify for a government grant, making them more affordable for buyers.

Application: You don’t need to apply for the grant directly.

Discount: The seller automatically includes the grant as a discount in the purchase price.

3. Cycle to Work Scheme:

This initiative encourages healthier commuting options and supports both employees and the environment by allowing employees to give up a portion of their income (through salary sacrifice) in exchange for hiring bikes and cycling equipment. By participating in the scheme, employees can save money because they don’t have to pay tax or national insurance on the cost of the bikes and accessories.

4. Capital Allowances Claim Scheme:

This scheme encourages environmentally friendly choices while providing tax benefits for your business. The scheme allows you to claim enhanced capital allowances (a type of first-year allowances) when you purchase energy and water-efficient equipment for your business.

Eligible Equipment: Electric cars and cars with zero CO2 emissions, gas biogas and hydrogen refuelling equipment, zero-emission goods vehicles, equipment for electric vehicle charging point, plant and machinery.

5. Boiler Upgrade Scheme:

This scheme supports the transition to more sustainable heating systems.

Eligible Systems: Heat Pumps: Grants of up to £7,500 for air source heat pumps or ground source heat pumps (including water source heat pumps and those on shared ground loops). Biomass Boilers: Grants of £5,000 for biomass boilers.

Local schemes

Solar Together Berkshire Scheme:

This scheme supports the transition to renewable energy and allows residents and businesses to register to take part in a group-buying scheme to purchase solar PV and battery storage at discounted price through pre-vetted suppliers.

Eligibility: small businesses require building owners’ permission to install panels on the roof and can only buy up to 25 solar panels at reduced rate.

Application: You can register interest here Solar Together Berkshire Scheme

Become a Climate Ambassador for education settings

If you have a great knowledge of climate change, biodiversity or sustainability why not become a volunteer Climate Ambassador for schools. Young children have a lot of questions; they want to learn so much more about the world around us. If you want to go into schools and colleges to give talks, if you want to help education settings learn more about places they can find great resources, or you want to help the places and people in our education system become greener and more sustainable please sign up to the scheme.

For more information on the scheme and how to become a volunteer Climate Ambassador visit the Climate Ambassadors site.

Other useful resources

UK Business Climate Hub

The UK Business Climate Hub is a collaboration between the UK Government, businesses and business groups across the UK. The UK Business Climate Hub is a new service launched by the UK Government to help SMEs take climate action and save on energy bills. The Hub is a one-stop-shop for businesses to find practical advice, tools and resources to reduce their carbon footprint and emissions. You can visit the Hub here UK Business Climate Hub.

The Federation of Small Businesses

The Federation supports small businesses and the self-employed on your journey to net zero. Explore resources, tools and information from the Federation of Small Businesses to help you to go green and become more sustainable.

Sustainability and net zero | FSB, The Federation of Small Businesses

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