You may be looking for ways to go green — and maybe make a little green while you’re at it. Working from home is a great way to do both, especially if it’s for a green-friendly company.
Transportation pollution is currently the leading cause of greenhouse gas emissions, and a close second is electricity usage. Commuters and office buildings are responsible for a large portion of those emissions, but the good news is that remote jobs, which disincentivize both commuting and large offices, are soaring in popularity.
The number of remote workers is up 140% since 2005, according to data from Global Workplace Analytics.
To add to those environmental benefits, remote workers also have $4,000 higher annual earnings. — Global Workplace Analysts’ telecommuting study.
“In terms of personal footprint, working from home is a big deal,” says Dr. Robert Brinkmann, Hofstra University professor of geology, environment and sustainability. “You can reduce your greenhouse-gas footprint significantly.”
That’s because working from home, on average, will cut 8,000 commuting miles off your odometer and will curb an estimated three tons of carbon emissions each year.
To double your environmental impact, we found several green jobs you can do remotely.
What Are Green Jobs?
Generally speaking, green jobs are jobs that help the environment. They can be in almost any industry, but they must strive to increase energy efficiency and sustainability.
Direct examples include land, water and wildlife conservation, whereas a less direct example is a vegetarian food brand.
Companies With Remote Jobs That Help The Environment
If you’re a nonprofit organization or a business in green tech, it makes sense to hire remotely. Here are a few companies that put their environmental mission where their mouth is.
Audubon, more formally The National Audubon Society, hires many jobs explicitly aimed at helping the environment, some of which are available remotely. The nonprofit membership organization was founded more than a century ago, and it lobbies the government on environmental conservation issues.
Remote work is available for interns and conservation organizers. Visit its job board for open positions.
This is a company you may have already come across in your daily routine. Impossible Foods produces plant-based meat alternatives to offset the environmental impacts of the agricultural industry. It’s made headway since 2011 in getting its faux meat into grocery stores and restaurants across the nation.
The company is based in California, but it offers some work-from-home positions, typically in sales. Check the current job listings for available opportunities.
Mercy For Animals
An advocate for cruelty-free farming, Mercy For Animals is a nonprofit organization that has spurred several factory-farming investigations since its launch in 1995. For most positions, applicants can choose between working remotely or at one of its physical locations. Remote jobs in tech, community organization and communications are available.
See current openings on its job board.
The Humane League
The Humane League started in 2005 in Philadelphia as a small grassroots organization. Since then, it’s expanded into an international nonprofit that campaigns for animal rights and sustainable farming practices. All jobs at The Humane League are remote, and its workforce is decentralized across several countries.
Check the current job listings to apply.
The Sierra Club
Long a champion of environmental conservation and sustainability, the Sierra Club boasts more than 3 million members, making it one of the largest nonprofits in the U.S. Most of its jobs are located at the California headquarters or in one of the field offices around the nation. Remote positions include volunteer management and communications.
For current openings, visit its job board.
For other remote job opportunities that aren’t directly associated with environmental organizations, browse The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal. We post legitimate remote jobs there all the time.
Other Ways It Pays to Go Green
If you’re interested in reducing your greenhouse gas emissions overall, Brinkmann says to think of your carbon footprint in a broader sense.
While, yes, working from home is a noble way to reduce about three tons of carbon pollution a year — if you’re not careful, you can easily undo those efforts in other areas of your life. Take travel, for example: A one-way flight from Atlanta to Beijing will produce roughly the same amount of emissions.
And if you’re working from home, you may be tempted to blast the AC all day.
Brinkmann says small energy adjustments around your home office can have a significant environmental impact, especially on your energy bill.
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, about half of your energy bill is due to air conditioning. Ensuring your heating and cooling equipment is Energy-Star certified will reduce your bill and your emissions. A switch to energy-efficient lighting is another cheap investment that will save you in the long run, as the bulbs use 75% less energy and last up to 10 times longer.
For those times when you have to use services that emit large amounts of greenhouse gases, such as airplane rides, Brinkmann offers this solution: carbon offsets. These are small investments in renewable energy projects that help negate the impact of carbon-emitting services you use.
For example, to negate the effects of three tons of carbon dioxide emissions — aka a year’s worth of commuting to work or one 12-hour international flight — you could purchase the equivalent in carbon offsets for as little as $30 through organizations such as Terrapass and Carbonfund, which use your investments for environmental initiatives like forest restoration and land conservation.
“When you buy [an international] flight, you just throw another 30 bucks in the coffers for that,” Brinkmann says.
To have a “guilt-free Earth Day,” as he puts it, be sure to earmark some of that money you saved from a lower energy bill and reinvest it in green energy.
“It’s a win-win for everyone.”
Adam Hardy is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. He specializes in ways to make money that don’t involve stuffy corporate offices. Read his latest articles here, or say hi on Twitter @hardyjournalism.