A company’s Carbon Footprint, Global Warming and environmental issues all come under the umbrella of ‘Safety, Health and Environment’. All of us nowadays, have an environmental policy often as part of our Health & Safety Policy, but how many of you are aware of the statistics or, indeed realise the advantages that reducing your Carbon Footprint can have on your business.

So, this week I thought that I would look at this important subject and tell you of simple ways you can reduce your carbon footprint and save you and your company many £££s at the same time.

Carbon footprint

So What is a Carbon Footprint?

The term carbon footprint means the total amount of carbon dioxide (CO2) and greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions you (as a person or organisation) are responsible for.

These gases are produced every time energy is used from a fossil fuel source i.e. coal, oil or natural gas.

In other words: When you drive a car, the engine burns fuel which creates a certain amount of CO2, depending on its fuel consumption and the driving distance. (CO2 is the chemical symbol for carbon dioxide).

When you heat your house with oil, gas or coal, then you also generate CO2. Even if you heat your house with electricity, the generation of the electrical power may also have emitted a certain amount of CO2.

When you buy food and goods, the production of the food and goods also emitted some quantities of CO2.

Your carbon footprint is the sum of all emissions of CO2 (carbon dioxide), which were induced by your activities in a given time frame. Usually a carbon footprint is calculated for the time period of a year.

Some facts and figures

Obviously, we all need to travel but here are some figures you may not know –

All the following means of travel add 1kg of CO2 to your personal carbon footprint:

  • If your car does 39 miles per gallon and is run on petrol and you drive 3.75 miles
  • If your car does 39 miles per gallon and is run on diesel and you drive 3.15 miles
  • However, if you travel by bus or train instead you can travel 7 miles
  • If you fly in a plane the distance is just 1.375 miles

Other activities that add 1 kg of CO2 to your personal carbon footprint include:

  • Operating your computer for 32 hours
  • The production of 5 plastic bags
  • The production of 2 plastic bottles
  • The production of 1/3 of a cheeseburger (yes, the production of each cheeseburger emits 3.1kg of CO2!!)

Why do we need to reduce our carbon footprint?

To slow the rate of climate change.
At present the average person’s carbon footprint in the UK is 9.3 tonnes of CO2.
The average carbon footprint per head needed to keep global temperature change below 2°C is about 3t per head. – Hence the UK still needs to cut its levels by 80%.

Emissions of CO2 and GHGs contribute to climate change and businesses are responsible for nearly half of all these emissions

Other advantages

  • Save money by cutting energy bills
  • Improve your business’ reputation
  • Meet government targets

How can you and your company reduce your carbon footprint?

By minimising energy usage and making many simple, low cost actions can make a significant difference.


  • Switch lights off in empty rooms
  • light only the part of a room where needed
  • use natural light where possible
  • maintain lighting systems so they work efficiently once calculated, you can also offset the carbon through utilisation of renewable energy or tree planting schemes (offsetting).


  • Keep thermostats at a maximum of 19°C – Did you know that in the 1970s the average temperature in houses in the UK was 14°C for those with central heating and just 12°C for those without. Compared with 22°C in today’s houses!
  • leave space around heaters/radiators to let warm air circulate
  • do not heat unused space – eg empty rooms, or offices at night or at the weekend when they are closed
  • keep doors and windows closed and draught proofed
  • maintain heating systems so they can work efficiently.

Reduction/substitution of travel

  • Using carbon efficient methods of transport
  • replacing car journeys with cycling
  • car sharing
  • limiting air travel.
  • public transport – I regularly use public transport and have found it works out cheaper than driving as well as being less stressful
  • replace meetings where everyone has to travel, with online conference calls


  • Reduce the amount of waste you produce
  • implement the waste hierarchy and reduce, reuse and recycle.
  • select local materials, products, foods and services
  • use eco-friendly options where available
  • select low energy, easily recyclable goods.

How can you get your employees involved?

Consider their individual practices with regard to:-

  • transport – can they car share once a week (reduction of 20% in their footprint)
  • what electrical products do they use – are they all needed?
  • how much do they throw away? Can any be reduced/reused/recycled/? – The average 8 cubic yard skip costs about £350 but the average cost of what is being thrown away in that skip is £1,500. Also in the UK an average of 13% of all materials delivered to site go into a skip without ever being used!

What are governments doing about it?

The Kyoto Protocol

The Kyoto Protocol sets out binding targets and timetables for 37 industrialized countries and aims to reduce greenhouse gas emissions of those countries. The Protocol entered into force on 16 February 2005 and the UK is committed to sourcing 15% of energy consumed from renewable sources by 2020. As of 2015 8.3% of energy consumed was from renewable energy sources.

Paris Agreement

At the Paris climate conference (COP21) in December 2015, 195 countries adopted the first-ever universal, legally binding global climate deal with the goal of keeping the increase in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels.

Legislation and guidance

  • Climate Change Act 2008
  • European Union Emissions Trading Scheme
  • Climate Change Levy (General) Regulations 2001
  • Greenhouse Gas Emissions Trading Scheme Regulations 2005 as amended
  • The Energy Act 2013
  • Climate Change (Scotland) Act 2009
  • PAS2050:2011 – Specification for the assessment of the life cycle greenhouse gas emissions of goods and services
  • Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Protocol – Product Standard Verification
  • CRC Energy Efficiency Scheme Order 2013
  • Energy Savings Opportunity Scheme (ESOS) 2014

Taunton & Somerset CPD Group at The Exchange House Taunton

Please remember that we now run these CPD events at the Exchange House, 12 – 14 The Crescent, Taunton TA1 4EB on a fortnightly basisExchange House Taunton and Somerset CPD Group

The next of the CPD events is listed below.

As previously requested, if you could let us know whether or not you can attend it would be greatly appreciated. Also, if you would like to give a talk, or know of somebody who would, please contact Jon at [email protected]

Our next Seminar will be on Wednesday 15th May 2019 Could you please arrive by 12:30pm prompt.

Our speaker for this one is Craig Huxley of Triflex (UK) Limited will talk about Intelligent roof protection and living life outside

If you haven’t already booked your place, or if you are not on the CPD Seminar mailing list but would like to be please drop Jon an email and he will deal with your request.

As per our last one if you could let Jon know whether or not you can attend within 7 days of receipt of his email, it would be greatly appreciated.

Contact Details [email protected], 07831 714199 or 01458 253682

Update on forthcoming e-courses and other website upgrades

As we reported at the start of the year, Wilkins Safety Group Ltd are soon to be offering e-courses. These should be available on our website from the week commencing 13th May.

Why use online health and safety e-learning?

There are many e-learning benefits: You can drastically cut your risks and improve effectiveness. Staff retention and productivity will increase and safety will improve. It’s that simple.

The health and safety e-learning training courses are dynamic, engaging and very interesting. As the content is interactive your staff will learn quickly, retain more knowledge and enjoy the training.

The self test section means that they get to see how much they have learnt and if necessary, revisit any areas that they have failed. There is an option to print a certificate for each user who has passed which is personalised with their details.

By providing high quality accurate health and safety information to your staff you will build a culture of safety and help increase staff retention, productivity as well as protecting yourself from damaging and expensive legal action.

One of the major e-learning benefits is the fact that the system provides an audit trail which tracks your staff progress and you can make an accurate assessment of their understanding.

How is the training delivered?

The Wilkins Safety Group e-learning system is delivered over the Internet, all you need to access your system is a PC with Internet browser (you will also need your user name and password).

The system is hosted on our secure server. The server carries an SSL certificate and all data is encrypted for maximum security. We manage the server that means that you have no IT worries.

What is the cost of these courses?

Companies will be able to buy credits. Each of these credits will allow 1 allocated person access to 1 course. The cost of these credits will reduce based on the number of credits purchased. See pricing chart below:

No of Credits1-56-1011-2021-3031-4041-5051-7576-100101-150151-200201-250
Cost of Credit£19.99£17.99£16.99£15.99£14.99£13.99£12.99£11.99£10.99£9.99£7.99

Below is the list of the first 17 e-courses that should be live next week

  • Asbestos Awareness Interactive
  • COSHH Interactive
  • DSE Equipment
  • DSE Workstation Assessment
  • Electrical Safety
  • Environmental Awareness
  • Fire Extinguishers
  • Fire Safety Interactive
  • Fire warden Interactive
  • First Aid
  • Food Hygiene
  • Food Hygiene Level 2
  • Health and Safety Induction Interaction
  • Manual Handling
  • Protection against effects of Noise
  • Risk Assessment
  • Stress in the Workplace

We would love to hear any expressions of interest or of any other courses that you would like us to develop.

We are looking at Permits to Work; Slips, Trips and Falls and Working at Height to follow soon after

Live Chat facility

We are also launching a “Live Chat” service on our website.

This should enable us to guide you through our site and answer any Health and Safety questions you may have during your visit. If they cannot be answered immediately, because the appropriate adviser isn’t available at that time, our staff will take your details and question and ensure that you receive an answer ASAP.