For retail businesses keen to understand and evaluate their carbon emissions, but without entire sustainability departments to rely on, energy retailer Powershop has released a free-to-use tool to evaluate where your emissions come from.

Powershop worked with data partner Geografia, to understand how small businesses contribute to Australia’s emissions, with the data demonstrating that 2.4 million SMEs emit about 146.5 million tonnes of the nation’s carbon emissions annually.

By making some small changes SMEs can help take the equivalent of 15 million cars off the road.

RetailBiz discussed the shift towards carbon neutrality, and greener energy with Powershop chief customer officer, Catherine Anderson (pictured).

“It’s been such a challenging year for businesses. We’re hoping this research is not another burden for them, or something to think about, but starting the conversation, and realising that really small changes can make a big impact.

“In the context of businesses, I’m passionate for it not being a big thing for them, or requiring money,” Anderson says.

Retail businesses can log into the toolkit, select the retail sector that fits best, and then the size of the business footprint. That will give you a guide as to where your emissions come from, with most likely to come from energy, then materials, followed by labour and transport.

Powershop’s business model involves offsetting the emissions of all the energy it sells to customers. Its parent company, Meridian Energy, generates renewable energy which it sells to Australia’s energy grid, but Powershop cannot guarantee the power it sells is renewable, as power from fossil fuels and renewables are both distributed from the same point to the end user.

Because energy accounts for the biggest portion of emissions in the retail sector, finding a supplier that offers renewable energy as a standard can make a large impact on your overall carbon footprint. The next best solution is one that offsets the emissions.

Nobody Denim says, “Powershop offers a really simple way for us to switch to green energy and ensure we are able to maintain the lowest possible carbon footprint.”

Powershop CEO, Jason Stein says, “Once they make a decision about how they want to reduce their CO2 emissions they can make their carbon footprint reduction pledge and receive access to the carbon footprint reduction toolkit.

“Big companies often have sustainability departments or experts to process and analyse this type of data. We know small businesses are just as passionate about ways they can reduce their impact on the planet, but they tell us they don’t have the resources to dive into the details, so we have done it for them.”