Thursday, February 29, 2024

Is Your Firm Measuring Staff Carbon Footprint?


As economies go into recession, companies across the globe are scrambling for ways to boost resourcefulness and resource use efficiency among their workforce.

Cutting wastage has quickly become a survival strategy as businesses move to lighten their expenses burden.

Aside from returning savings and ensuring survival, resource use conservation is enabling enterprises to lower their carbon footprints.

For most businesses, Covid-19 has forced them to reassess operations, hitting a reset button in their relationship with resources such as energy, water alongside materials such as paper and plastics.

It takes the effort of individuals to collectively bring about a positive outcome in an organisation. Therefore, organisational policies towards efficiency should be designed with each staff in mind, clearly outlining what is expected of them as part of the bigger goal.

One sustainable way of going about this is by rolling out a staff carbon footprint calculator. It could be an app or web-based portal to be used by workers to self-evaluate their own resource use and waste they generate at the workplace.

With this, workers ranging from top management to those in lower cadres can manage and mitigate own personal carbon footprint, which when compounded produces significant results. It points them towards green consumerism while promoting a low-carbon economy.

A transition to a green economy requires all hands on deck – producers and consumers, employers and workers as well as management and the board.

Besides lowering overhead costs, measuring individual resource use could foster a culture of productivity as people would be able to evaluate their resource consumption against their output and deliverables. It is necessary now and it will be even more crucial post-pandemic.

Workers should be clearly explained to the reason behind roll out of the analytics tool. From the outset, it should be made known to them that the tool is not out to police them or punish them but to encourage incremental improvement in resource use over time, not overnight.

Outstanding performance may over time be feted.                 

It is a great way of instilling discipline in the workforce, returning savings and promoting ecofriendly practices not just at the workplace but also at home.

After witnessing the benefits of the tool firsthand, workers will most likely want to associate with companies with such a green tool as a way of promoting responsible behaviour.

Most employees want to see their jobs as a way of contributing to the betterment of the world, besides their paycheck. This explains the recent trend where top talent has increasingly been gravitating towards companies with clear-cut sustainability agenda.

Simple acts like switching off lights when not in use as well as computers or even entirely unplugging (as long as they are plugged in, vampire electronics continue sucking energy even when off) could be a game changer.  This is especially so for businesses deep in a cash crunch looking to make savings but cannot afford to acquire efficient equipment towards resource optimisation.

In Kenya very few companies, mostly large ones, have embraced the concept.

But SMEs should also borrow a leaf, a move that could lead to massive cost-saving benefits.

Embracing low carbon operation is an approach worth embedding in a business model as part of the sustainable development goal (SDG) 12, which encourages responsible production and consumption.

Kenya’s climate action pledge to the UN, also known as Nationally Determined Contribution (NDC), outlines a low-carbon and climate resilient development pathway, with a target of reducing the country’s greenhouse gas emissions by 30 percent by 2030.

There is need for companies to seek technical advice on how to adopt and roll out carbon footprint tools that will help them track emission levels within their operations.

Adoption of a carbon footprint calculator and other resource use assessment tools among firms could encourage responsible production and consumption while delivering cost savings and revenue enhancement.

The article was first published in the Business Daily.

Dr. Edward Mungai
Dr. Edward Mungai
The writer, Dr. Edward Mungai, is a global sustainability expert. He is the Lead Consultant and Partner at Impact Africa Consulting Ltd (IACL), a leading sustainability and strategy advisory in Africa. He is also the Chief Editor at Africa Sustainability Matters. He can be contacted via

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