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5 Achievable Climate Actions you Can Adopt at your Workplace Today

5 Achievable Climate Actions at your Workplace HOME
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A guide to start the climate conversation at your workplace by adopting achievable actions.


Just a couple of months into 2024, and my feed was already full of disheartening climate stories – devastating flashfloods, an ever expanding list of extinct species, and increasing accounts of climate grief.

In the face of this climate crisis, many questions loom large: How do we overcome feelings of helplessness? How much agency do we possess? And what actions can we take within our spheres of influence to construct a culture of climate consciousness? If we look closely, the possibilities are endless.

Today, let’s explore some practical and achievable starting points to reduce our carbon emissions at the workplace. Some may argue that this is not enough, but remember, little drops of water make a mighty ocean.

1. Conscious consumption

When budgeting we can always reflect on our consumption choices. Workplace equipment like our laptops, smartphones and office furniture, all come with their baggage of embodied carbon. This refers to the carbon emitted by the products during its life cycle starting from the process of extraction, to manufacturing and transport.

Let’s pause before we make any purchases and get answers for the following questions:

  • Necessity check: Do we really need this or are we purchasing it because we have an allocated budget for it? Can it be repaired?
  • Budget reallocation: If it is a budget-driven purchase, is there a way to redirect these funds toward sustainable investments?
  • Embodied carbon evaluation: What is the embodied carbon associated with the products and services we want to purchase?
  • Green vendors: Are there any reputable sustainable vendors who we could purchase from?
  • Repurposing: Could a second-hand laptop or a desk meet our needs? Rather than discarding old equipment, can it find a second life somewhere else?

2. Digital carbon footprint

As more and more jobs get digitised, our consumption of energy for the use of digital technology at the work has increased enormously. Here are some ways to optimise your energy usage:

  • Sustainable power management: Turning off our devices, unplugging chargers at the end of the work day or during long breaks, and efficient use of cooling and heating devices in the office, can also take us a long way with little effort.
  • Clean digital spaces: Regularly delete outdated files from data storage systems.
  • Conscious emailing: Emails are responsible for as much CO2 globally as seven million extra cars. To optimise your emailing habits consider the following: i) Skip the “thank you” emails, ii) regularly delete unnecessary emails, iii) avoid sending attachments, use links instead.
  • If motivated, we can go the extra mile and strive to adopt green coding practices and create well-thought-out visuals that minimise the need for multiple rounds of revisions. As artificial intelligence integration rises in workplaces, energy consumption is poised to surge. Let's cut back on unnecessary digital tool usage to mitigate this impact.


3. Organising greener events

Gone are the glory days of the plastic water bottle! Not only do they take up to 1000 years to decompose, they also release microplastics and nanoplastics into the water, which we in turn, end up consuming. If you are organising an event at the workplace, here are some alternatives to provide water to the attendees: a water dispenser, jugs with glasses, and glass water bottles.

If you are also looking for catering options, the good news is that cities like Barcelona now offer various choices for sustainable catering. Consider prioritising seasonal, local and vegetarian dishes for the next conference. And if for some reason, meat needs to be on the menu, don’t hesitate to pay a little extra to ethically source it.

4. Minimise your carbon footprint while travelling

Work-related travel may be inevitable sometimes, but there are many strategies to reduce its environmental impact.

  • Plan from the onset: Often, last minute bookings for the cheapest flights with multiple layovers result from the lack of foresighted travel planning. Prioritising budgeting for sustainable travel options, such as trains whenever feasible, and opting for direct flights will already have a huge impact.
  • Carbon offsets: While not the primary solution and one to be exercised with caution, carbon offsets can be a last resort to compensate for unavoidable travel.
  • Pedal to work: Riding your bicycle to work is not just environmentally friendly, but also promotes a healthier lifestyle.

5. Build a community to foster organisational commitment and accountability

The climate crisis cannot be solved alone. While individual choices always add up, we can only go so far by ourselves.

To substantially reduce carbon emissions at the workplace, it is crucial to gain support from peers and senior management. This facilitates the implementation of policies for green procurement, travel, and more. Even better if we can convince our organisations to make public commitments to reduce emissions!

Moreover, gathering comprehensive data on workplace emissions and green actions will help us track our collective progress and strive to build a climate conscious workplace.

The best part about this conversation is that we can always do better. It is never too late to start our individual and collective climate action journeys at the workplace. And considering that most of us have broken our 2024 resolutions by now, this list provides a second chance to get back on the horse and collectively fight the climate crisis.