Understand your business emissions
1) What causes emissions
Direct carbon emissions produced by mining and quarrying include:
- land use change – clearing natural habitats such as woodland
- lighting and heating in work buildings
- diesel – for powering on-site machinery and lorries
- transport – using vehicles which run on petrol or diesel
- general waste – when it isn’t recycled and is taken to landfill sites
2) Calculate your emissions
Use a carbon calculator to work out your business’s carbon footprint. This is measured in tonnes, over a year.
3) Estimate the cost of your emissions
Once you have your carbon footprint, you can calculate how much your emissions are costing you. This will give you an idea of potential savings you can make by taking action.
4) Sign up to the SME climate commitment
Make a climate declaration to show customers you are committed to reducing emissions.
1) Support in your sector
You can get guidance on sustainability from the following organisations:
- Global Mining Guidelines Group (GMG)
- International Council of Mining and Metals
- the Institute for Materials, Minerals and Mining
- Electric Mine Working Group – a global collaboration among businesses seeking to electrify their operations
You can also learn how to run your business in a more environmentally friendly way by hiring a sustainability consultant
2) Support in your region
Invest Northern Ireland offers advice on how to operate more efficiently. Support includes:
- consultancy for energy and waste management strategies and recommendations
- resource matching service to manage waste and reduce costs
- investment funding for energy saving equipment
Actions you can take right now
1) Save energy at your offices and work buildings
Quick, low-cost measures include:
- lighting – use LED bulbs for greater efficiency
- heating – put your thermostat on a timer and seal your windows for extra insulation
- office equipment – try to turn off and unplug devices when they’re not being used
2) Do an energy walk-round
Walk around your buildings and see where energy is being used:
- Prepare a checklist. Look at lighting, heating and machinery, as well as ventilation and water heating.
- Identify wasteful energy use and maintenance issues.
- Check at different times of day and compare day and night time use.
- Monitor over a period of a week for accurate average figures.
- Make sure equipment and ventilation are checked and cleaned regularly to ensure maximum efficiency.
Decide if you need an energy strategy
Depending on the size of your business, you might need to implement an energy management strategy. An energy manager will help you:
- Measure and monitor energy use.
- Target ways to use energy as efficiently as possible.
Train your workforce
You can train your team to be aware of energy efficiency in the workplace. Find a course
3) Change your energy tariff
Switch to a green energy tariff with your energy supplier. This will reduce your reliance on energy produced by fossil fuels.
4) Switch to a smart meter
This will allow you to see and control how much energy you use. Find out more
5) Manage your waste
Reduce waste to prevent it being taken to landfill sites where it takes longer to break down and causes more emissions.
Longer term actions
1) Making changes at your worksite or work buildings
There are a number of long-term measures you can take to improve efficiency in on-site operations.
Check planning permission guidelines before you go ahead.
You can make significant energy savings at your worksite by installing renewable sources of energy.
2) Electrifying equipment
Make fuel savings by switching from diesel to electric or hydrogen-powered mining trucks.
3) Reducing transport emissions
Over 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions are caused by transport. You can take measures to reduce the impact.
If you have employees you could introduce a cycle-to-work initiative or encourage them to take public transport.
If you use a work vehicle, you can reduce emissions by switching over to an electric vehicle (EV). You would be exempt from road tax, congestion charges and parking fees in certain areas.
For easy overnight charging you could install EV chargers. A government grant scheme covers up to £350 per charging point.
4) Selling carbon credits
You can capture carbon emissions from the air by planting woodland on your property.
You can then sell each tonne of captured carbon as carbon credits to:
- large companies looking to offset their carbon footprint
- the government (England only)
5) Carbon offsetting
If you have unavoidable carbon emissions you can offset them by buying carbon credits. This is where you pay for an equivalent amount of emissions to be removed elsewhere.
To reduce indirect or ‘supply chain’ emissions you need to consider what happens before and after your business provides a service or makes a product.
1) Choose greener ‘upstream’ suppliers and products
- use suppliers that measure and reduce carbon
- help your suppliers with carbon reduction projects
- buy products that take less energy to make, transport and operate
2) Reduce emissions ‘downstream’ of your business
- make products that take less energy to make, transport and operate
- reduce water consumption and waste disposal needs
- make investments in lower carbon financial products
- give incentives for lower emission activities in leased assets or franchises
3) Certify your supply chain action
The Carbon Trust offers the following verification schemes:
Share your progress
Sharing your progress will help employees and customers feel confident that you’re reducing carbon and moving towards net zero.
You should share your progress once you’ve done both of the following:
- worked out a benchmark of emissions
- started to take action