What We Learned From Our First Year as a ClimateSmart Business - Webnames Blog

What We Learned From Our First Year as a ClimateSmart Business

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We’re excited to be entering our second year of being a certified ClimateSmart business. With Canada’s 1.2+ million small- and medium-sized businesses having direct control over roughly 200 million tonnes of carbon pollution – the same amount produced each year by every car, truck, train, plane, and ship in the country – we were motivated to do better and control what we could to decrease our impact. Having recently renewed our certification for 2018, I thought I would share some of our learnings and findings now that we have year over year data to sift through, as opposed to last year when we established our baseline.

It was nice to see that we further reduced our CO2 emissions by almost 3 metric tonnes last year.  That’s not a large amount as far as Co2 emissions given the average Co2 emissions per capita in BC was 13.7 in 2013, but that said, since we are a very low-emissions business to begin with, cutting back further can be challenging. The reduction would have been more dramatic but as tenants in a large building, our electricity and heat emissions are calculated as a percentage of the building total and we saw those numbers go up as the result of two large new tenancies in previously unoccupied spaces. When your business is based in a major metropolitan centre, density is just part of the equation and while we can encourage neighbour businesses and the building management to take steps to reduce their emissions, we can only directly control our own business.

So, how did we do it? Our additional CO2 reductions were the result of a conscious goal to increase teleworking.  Staff love having the option and it’s both seamless and secure due to our VPNs and collaboration software. This year saw staff working from as nearby as Coquitlam and as far away as Australia.

Another area where we were able to cut back a little more was in transportation. Of our entire team that regularly work from office location only two drive regularly.  This can be attributed to our location close to a SkyTrain terminal and an increase city core dwellers cycling to work … just one of the benefits of living in a city that has massively invested in its cycling infrastructure.

Photo acknowledgment to CBC Vancouver.

As we look ahead to the next year, we will continue to turn over more rocks in an effort to continue minimizing emissions. Areas we will be focusing on include further reducing our heat and electricity use, converting more processes to paperless where possible and continuing to promote low carbon methods of transportation.

We’re cognizant that being in technology has advantages and that it’s easier for Webnames to achieve reductions than many small-to-medium businesses in more traditional industries for whom telecommuting and cycling are not realistic options. That said, we highly encourage all small businesses to connect with the terrific team at ClimateSmart and enroll in their certification program where you’ll be trained to measure, reduce and meaningfully leverage the hard work you put into reducing emissions.

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