Calculating remote work emissions is an integral part of a company’s total emissions
The pandemic bought with it a huge shift and acceptance of home working. In September of last year, it was estimated that 45% of full-time employees were working partly or fully remote. 9/10 of these remote workers wished to maintain remote working to some extent. This is also an average; some industry’s work from home percentages could be a lot higher. Therefore, despite not being widely known, Scope 3 of total GHG emissions requires a company to calculate employee remote emissions from home office working.
With remote working becoming the new norm, it’s integral to calculate it as part of company’s total emissions in order to get an accurate result. Companies will often find that accounting for remote working emissions will reduce their overall footprint, and this is mainly down to the reduction in individuals commuting time. One study suggests that commuting accounts for 98% of individuals work footprint! Therefore, calculating remote work emissions is not only important for the inclusion of emissions from home, but also for the exclusion of emissions when not going into work.
How eco-shaper calculates work from home emissions
The enterprise version of eco-shaper includes a carbon calculator that provides a score for the total emissions your company expends, based on the answers you provide. The employee version provides a score that looks at both work and home emissions expended by individuals of your company. The work tab of the individual calculator looks at emissions from working from home, and then loops this aggregated data back into Scope 3 of a company’s total emissions. Building this has been a complex process but now companies are getting the most accurate carbon score, based on individual score inclusion. Most carbon calculators take ONS data averages and then estimate the number of employees who work remotely and how many days this amounts to each week. No detail is provided on all the elements that make up home working emissions including energy usage, lighting, work travel such as flights and taxi’s, equipment and so on.
How does this help us become more sustainable?
For any business, preparing for the future means addressing climate change. Not only this, but it’s become so integral in daily life, that clients and customers, as well as employees, are much more likely to choose businesses that are actively working on reducing their carbon footprint. If we want to build a sustainable world, none of us can afford to ignore our carbon footprints. Once you’ve measured your employees’ emissions from their home office, it’s time to think about what you can do as a company to reduce these emissions. Not only does eco-shaper help you calculate your carbon score, but it also provides large amounts of resource on how to better it. For example: switching to renewable energy, switching off standby, and changing to energy saving light bulbs. These ideas can then be added into individuals’ actions and even company goals. If you find your work from home emissions are low, maybe it’s time to encourage more work from home days or more employees to participate in working from home. It’s also an opportunity to engage your remote employees—ask them how they’d like to build a more efficient home office and what support they’d like in order to do so.
What is included in WFH emissions?
Emissions created by the equipment and environment, owned by its employees, to perform remote work. This includes everything from home heating, cooling, and lighting to computers and other home office equipment.
Emissions from your employees’ home offices are part of your company’s comprehensive greenhouse gas (GHG) inventory.
You can redo your carbon calculation as aften as you want using eco-shaper. For example, an employee can add a flight, and this will automatically update their own ‘Work’ footprint and also the Enterprise dashboard Scope 3 score. On the enterprise dashboard a company can drill down into the details of those Scope 3 emissions to see where improvements can be made in detailed accuracy.
What to do next?
Use eco-shaper’s carbon calculators on both the enterprise and employee versions, to understand how your company’s emissions are impacted by remote working. Then decide how to curb those emissions through a series of initiatives like purchasing energy-efficient computer monitors and incentives for employees to switch to LED bulbs, smart thermostats, and smart plugs. Alternatively, if you realise remote working is impacting your score beneficially, begin to encourage more of it with individuals in your company, but there’s always more that can be done!