Positive news this week: the CO2 emissions from European countries have reached their lowest record level. The greenhouse emissions of 2014 were brought back 23 % in comparison with 1990. European Union member countries realized 46% economic growth during the same period. According to Miguel Arias Cañete, the European Commissioner for climate and energy, these statistics show that economic growth can be realized while still protecting the environment. According to the European Commission’s Green book, it is essential to reduce greenhouse gases in 2030 to 40% of the 1990 level in order to stay on course for the European Union climate goal of 2050. By then the goal is a reduction of 80 to 95% of 1990 levels. A lower goal in 2030 could result in even higher costs to the climate.
Even greater steps must be made to reduce the emissions by 40% in 2030. These don’t necessarily have to be on large-scale level, smaller changes that we all can make, still contribute to the reduction of CO2. Companies can, for instance, examine whether the following methods could be implemented in their organization. For instance:
- Lowering energy use by optimizing building systems. For example, by using high efficiency or solar water heaters. This saves energy and improves the indoor climate.
- Sustainable computers and server rooms, with, among other things the use of virtual servers. This saves on ventilation, air conditioning and energy that the computers use.
- Instituting telecommuting, where workers can work flexibly. Through this you reduce the need for office space, reduce traffic problems and decrease CO2 emissions from home-work traffic and offices need less parking spaces
- Establishing sustainable lease arrangements.
- Looking critically at the lighting in and around your company outside of normal office hours.
- Separate trash and use less paper. With this item you save significantly on CO2 emissions of trash and paper and also save on waste disposal costs.
World Paper Free Day
This month on 6 November our attention was drawn to this last item, the use of paper, with the annual World Paper-Free Day, an initiative of the international organization AIIM (Association for Information and Image Management). On this day the organization draws attention to unnecessary paper usage within companies. In addition--because we don’t often think about it on a normal work day--but if we all reduce our printing and copying, we also use less toner and ink. That saves a lot of chemical waste.
Do the save-a-tree test
Perhaps you think: “we don’t use all that much paper in my organization” but can you be so sure? To give organizations better insight into the positive contribution they can make to the environment, we have developed the tree-saving test. With this test you can calculate how many trees can be saved by reducing paper usage in your organization. It adds up quickly: 25 packs of paper=a tree!!