Santander Project: reducing the environmental footprint
Each and every one of the actions we habitually perform have an immediate or not so immediate effect on the environment. This is the reason for the importance of knowing and measuring our environmental footprint as far as possible, which is nothing more than an indicator of the impact of our activities and our daily lives on the planet.
All of those who try to reduce their environmental footprint to favour of nature apply numerous changes. Start with, the simple ways to reduce a large part of our footprint pass through using the car less (or not at all, if we have alternatives) and turning to public transport and sharing routes.
Controlling water and electricity consumption as far as possible and extending the useful life of the products we buy also helps to reduce this environmental impact we produce without realising. And there is much more.
What is your footprint?
To start with, the most useful thing in reducing our environmental footprint is to know it. On the Internet, there are many calculators that can be used to check the carbon dioxide emissions of each of our steps. From travelling by car or having a bath instead of showering, to the kind of food we buy or the way we do the washing up.
What’s more, if you cannot avoid using the car to get around, there are still some habits you can change. For instance, avoid carrying things on the roof; they reduce the vehicle’s aerodynamics and more petrol is used on the same trip. As well as saving for your pocket, you will also reduce the environmental footprint of your trips.
Just like giving up the roof rack, taking care on the accelerator also helps. Not exceeding the speed limits and avoiding sharp acceleration also consumes less fuel. The definitive change can come through the use of applications that give information on traffic, like Google Maps: avoiding saturated roads and traffic jams will reduce the impact still further.
However, the car is not the vehicle that has most effect on the environmental footprint. In terms of the amount of fuel needed for each of the trips, planes, in this sense, are worse allies of the environment. A single trip across the water supposes 25% of the annual emissions of an average consumer.
As it is not always possible to choose how you travel, when flying, the best thing is to use low cost flights: their planes do not consume less fuel, but they are fuller and the total environmental footprint is wider spread and your impact will be smaller in proportion.
What can we do at home?
What we eat also has a great effect on our ecological impact. To reduce it, the best thing is to buy local products so we make sure that excessive fuel has not been used in their transport. It is also convenient to resort to fresh products, unpacked, to reduce the waste we produce each day.
As for each household’s energy expenditure, everything has to do with efficiency. Buying electrical appliances with an energy label assuring smaller consumption and avoiding some useless apparatuses (for instance it is better to dry clothes in the sun than using a clothes dryer) is a good start. Using LED bulbs in all of the rooms can also contribute to reducing electricity consumption.
There are more things we can do in our homes. In fact, thanks to some useful solutions of the Internet of things, we can turn our house into a smart home that makes the objective of reducing the environmental footprint easier. Intelligent thermostats like Nest can be used to control the temperature in our house via the mobile phone, avoiding putting the air conditioning on too hard when we arrive.
Devices like Ôasys and Mirubee also help to control and understand, via the mobile screen, our water and electricity consumption, respectively. A small investment in a device which can help to save on the bill every month and reduce our impact on the planet.
But beyond what we do in our daily lives, our environmental footprint can also be reduced at work. Companies like Banco Santander aim to reduce the ecological impact in all of their operations. In the last year, the entity has managed to reduce its electricity consumption by more than 8%, its carbon dioxide emissions by around 7% and has also used 24% less paper.
To achieve this, amongst many other things, the Santander changed its bulbs for LED in the United Kingdom, Poland and in the Ciudad Grupo Santander in Spain. It also replaced the air conditioning units in its Mexico facilities and installed tools to control the temperature in many of its offices around the world.
Santander also sponsors bike sharing in London, thus offering an alternative to the use of the car. It also finances the purchase of efficient vehicles and carries out a vehicle leasing and renting programme to promote the use of hybrid and electric cars in countries where it is present.
Furthermore, the bank contributes to the global objective in the fight against climate change by financing renewables and energy efficiency projects internationally. In 2016, Santander participated in financing 7,082 MW (megawatts) for the development of new clean energy projects.
Any company can contribute to this benefit for the whole of society, reducing its environmental footprint and encouraging its workers to do the same.