What can businesses learn from COP 26

Melanie Richardson


And how to reduce your digital carbon footprint

As part of the journey to reduce carbon emissions, your business may face harsh realities where carbon audits reveal much more than direct operational and logistical emissions.  The UK has pledged to reach net zero by 2050, putting pressure on businesses to improve their operations.  This article will outline learnings from COP 26 for businesses and actions you can take to reduce your digital carbon footprint.

What should my business learn from COP26?

The points outlined below indicate a clear, trending move towards more conscious consumption. They emphasise the point that the millennial demographic (a key target audience) are making decisions that include a product or service’s environmental impact when purchasing.

  • A survey conducted after COP26 revealed that 75% of millennial consumers consider sustainability when making a purchase.
  • Proposals require big companies and institutions to publish detailed plans by 2023 on how they will hit climate change targets set in COP26. It’s not yet confirmed, but it would be wise to assume that similar requirements will be made of SMEs in the not so distant future.
  • The need to embrace and understand sustainability / CSR / ESG within business is critical and imperative – doing nothing is not an option.
  • Over half of the UK’s largest businesses and a significant number of SMEs have already pledged to take part in the UN’s Race to Zero Campaign by 2050.

The following are suggestions that your business could implement for quick and effective emission savings in the face of your digital carbon footprint.

Pre-installed equipment

IT equipment could be sent to remote working employees ready installed and set up, but this would increase admin of IT departments involved tenfold. This would be especially true for businesses who employ large numbers of employees or have high technical requirement for output.

Robust IT procedures

Strict procedures have great potential to save on emissions for example, something as simple as shutting a device down completely at the end of the day and unplugging charging and power supplies to ensure there is no electricity draw.  Requesting autoreplies and formalities on email could be minimized, producing a saving where applied on a large scale (considering each email contributes approximately 0.3 grams of CO2).

Use smaller devices

Downsize devices. Physically smaller devices will use less energy and investing in more efficient equipment will make a CO2 impact smaller.

Use a sustainable cloud service

Use a sustainably conscious cloud service. Many major data service providers are now moving data centres energy draw to purely sustainable electricity grids.

Be conscious of your digital messaging internally

Reconsider the internal digital messages and marketing you produce and release on work premises. These may only need to be active when clients are visiting on site.

The first step is becoming more conscious of your business’ power consumption and then to implement procedures to reduce it. With the increased cost of energy this is not only a nice to have but a savvy way of reducing overheads.

Sign up to receive our private content
straight to your inbox


We use social media to deliver our updates to you on the go, wherever you are. We only post relevant content that will help you run your business.