Services Are A Low Carbon Solution

Introduction – Services Beat Products In Terms Of Carbon Impact

Although very few people really get it, one of the simplest ways to cut your carbon footprint is just to pay people.  Yep, if you spend on services rather than stuff its bound to cut carbon. The fundamental reason is that a specialized service is more efficient. Easy examples are businesses which optimize their energy efficiency and therefore provide greater output value for every unit of input.

Paying For Services Is A Way To Cut Carbon

Paying people to do stuff is a simple and effective way to cut carbon. Today we’re going to look at ways spending money on services is far less carbon-intensive than paying for things like fuel, food, or products. Today’s video is a little bit wonky, so I’m going to keep it short, but basically we’re going to look at why, when you spend money paying people, it generates far fewer emissions per dollar than other forms of spending.

Service providers already have acquired equipment and infrastructure and therefore will carry out your work with little additional carbon spend

Statistics Show Service Payments Are 25 Times Less Carbon Intensive Than Energy Payments Per Dollar

If you think about your carbon footprint in terms of how you spend your money, for every dollar you spend on natural gas or electricity, it generates about 5 kilograms of carbon. However, for services, it’s only 0.2 kilograms of carbon. So, spending on these fuels is 25 times more carbon intensive than spending on services. Businesses that provide services have access to resources such as business energy efficiency grants at a scale that is not possible for individuals.

7% Of Your Spending On Energy And Transportation Is Half Your Emissions

In the US, a few very carbon-intensive forms of spending dominate our emissions. For example, just 7 percent of spending on natural gas, electricity, gasoline, and flying generates almost half of emissions. Once you add in food, it’s up to 60 percent of emissions from just 15 percent of spending.

Use Your Spending As A Way To Track Carbon Impact

You can use this information to your advantage when you’re trying to cut your carbon footprint. For example, if the average home managed to cut down their spending on natural gas and electricity by a hundred dollars each, their efficiency spending that money instead on services would result in a one ton saving of time.

Practical Tip: Replace Energy Spending With Services Spending

Obviously, cutting down on things like gasoline and electricity is a challenging thing, but if you’ve made those savings and you want to avoid a rebound in terms of carbon, then spending on services is the way to go.

Services Are Efficient Through Specialization

The service economy is carbon efficient and convenient for both businesses and consumers. It allows businesses to outsource certain services to more specialized providers, which can reduce costs and increase efficiency. It also allows consumers to access services quickly and conveniently, often at any time of day.

This makes it easier to purchase goods and services, with no need to physically visit a store or business. Consumers can also benefit from a wider range of services, with companies often offering customized packages tailored to individual needs. This increases competition and drives down prices, making services more affordable for consumers.

Back To The Shrink Guide: Introducing the Shrink

Lindsay Wilson
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I founded Shrink That Footprint in November 2012, after a long period of research. For many years I have calculated, studied and worked with carbon footprints, and Shrink That Footprint is that interest come to life.

I have an Economics degree from UCL, have previously worked as an energy efficiency analyst at BNEF and continue to work as a strategy consultant at Maneas.  I have consulted to numerous clients in energy and finance, as well as the World Economic Forum.

When I’m not crunching carbon footprints you’ll often find me helping my two year old son tend to the tomatoes, salad and peppers growing in our upcycled greenhouse.

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