The race is on to achieve net zero – when the amount of carbon dioxide we create is no more than the amount taken away – by 2050. To do our part to help achieve this, Deloitte launched WorldClimate, our strategy to drive responsible climate choices within our organisation and beyond.
We’ve seen a raft of commitments from government and business alike to support this aim, but what can we do on an individual level to play a part in the UK’s net zero transition?
One of our four WorldClimate goals is to empower individuals. By engaging and educating our people on climate change impacts we are enabling them to make positive climate choices at home and at work and amplify these through their personal networks. With this in mind, we asked our newest Consulting graduate intake from our offices in Manchester for their top twenty-two ideas (in no particular order) to make a difference in 2022.
- Make use of zero waste shops that eliminate packaging and encourage the use of containers from home to fill and refill with bulk wholefoods, natural beauty, cleaning products and more.
- Eat less meat – researchers at the University of Oxford found that cutting meat and dairy products from your diet could reduce an individual's carbon footprint from food by up to 73%. Even small changes matter - try to incorporate a vegetarian or vegan meal once a week, for example ‘meat free Monday’.
- Use locally grown food products where possible to reduce food miles. You could even try to grow your own fruit and vegetables.
- Reduce your food waste by planning your meals for the week, using zero waste recipes, and composting leftovers.
- Switch your internet search engine to one that gives back. For example, not-for-profit search engines that uses advertising revenues to plant trees in areas affected by deforestation.
- Help reduce plastics entering our oceans by using specially designed washing bags that filter out the tiniest microfibres and microplastics that are released from synthetic textiles during washing.
- Choose second-hand clothes from charity shops, re-sale apps, or specialist re-sale websites. And don’t forget to donate your old clothes so others can benefit too!
- Choose clothing brands that offer repair services to extend the life of their products.
- If you do buy new clothes, try and choose ones that use recycled materials where possible – polyester, nylon, cotton, down, cashmere and wool can all be re-used and made into new items, bypassing the need for extra consumption of fossil fuels in the manufacturing process of new clothes.
- Choose public transport over private vehicles wherever possible, or car pool.
- If you do drive, consider purchasing an electric vehicle. Not only do they benefit the planet – they’re cheaper to run, saving your wallet too.
- Staycation in the UK rather than choosing a foreign holiday to reduce your carbon footprint. Not only are there no language barriers or currency exchange needed, you’ll also be helping the local economy by supporting local businesses.
- If you do head abroad, explore and whether you can get there train or boat instead of flying. ‘Slow travel’ also boosts your connection to local places, people, culture and food.
- Choose green energy suppliers – many provide 100% green electricity, and a handful offer green gas too. Also turn your heating and washing temperatures down.
- Use LED lights in your home; they use 80% less energy than traditional bulbs.
- Explore home energy improvements such as insulation, solar panels, domestic wind turbines, biomass heating systems and air source heat pumps.
- Use smart technology in the home to limit your environmental impact: use timers and smart switches to turn things off standby, and control lighting and heating effectively.
- Reduce your online orders and take advantage of postage options that reduce the frequency of shipments and therefore overall Co2 emissions.
- Volunteer your time to help beach cleans at home or whilst on holiday. This protects water quality – after just one hour of exposure, a cigarette butt can contaminate almost eight litres of water with unhealthy and dangerous chemicals. If you picked just 10 cigarette butts up off the ground, you’re saving nearly 800 litres of water from contamination. It also helps make our seafood safer – according to one study, the average seafood eater consumes 11,000 tiny fragments of plastic every year. Clean beaches can also boost the local economy because tourists and visitors are much more likely to enjoy them and spend money at businesses near the beaches.
- Try to eliminate single use plastics in your daily life. Reusable carrier bags and coffee cups are becoming a common sight, but you can also make an impact in other ways. Swap plastic toothbrushes for bamboo; if you have babies or young children use reusable nappies; choose beeswax wraps over clingfilm, and reusable metal straws instead of plastic.
- Another small step you can take is to switch on paperless billing for your banking, council tax and any other bills, and signing up is usually quick and easy.
- Keep a sustainability journal to help you keep track of your actions, look back on your wins, and review where you could make further changes to reduce your carbon impact. Why not calculate your carbon footprint before you start, and review it regularly to keep motivated?
More tools and resources
- To find discover more resources and ideas to help you take action where it matters most then check out our climate change content hub.
- You can also discover the impacts of your travel, food, home, and purchasing decisions and unlock positive climate actions you can take today through our #iAct movement.
- Take a look at our recommended reads from leaders and experts to help inspire climate action.
- And if you’d like to learn more about our analyst programme and the opportunities we offer, applications are now open for our September 2022 and February 2023 consulting analyst programme in the North of England.
With thanks to our contributors: Sam Beardmore, Scott Garwell, Mia Gill. Haroon Hameed, Emma Harden, Chloe Inglis, Matthew Nuttall, Usman Khan, Bhavreen Sandhu, Dominique Stringer, Sam Talibi, and Chloe Tonge.