The Paris Agreement represents a major step forward in environmental policies, even for small businesses that may not be aware of it. A key part of this commitment is the devotion to better green buildings to keep carbon emissions low. The United States Green Building Council recently released an international brief about the ways various countries are addressing energy use issues after the agreement last December.

According to the brief, the accord allowed participating countries to determine for themselves what level of emissions reductions they could realistically reach. Although the United States still remains a leader in its use of LEED standards for efficient building practices, the amount of international participation has grown steadily within the past five years.

In addition to recognizing the United States' requirements, some of the other countries are also following their own equivalent compliance rules. Japan, for example, is focusing on its existing standards, while China has committed to making half of its new construction projects green-friendly within the next four years.

The original text of the Agreement includes provisions for areas beyond building construction, such as training and public access to information.

Every party involved is also instructed, under this document, to submit climate change information, as well as a "national inventory report" of emissions best practices.

Greater social responsibility is a major theme to take from the aftermath of this Agreement. Because it's an international policy, the Agreement can show the link between efficient buildings and other elements of carbon footprint reduction.

For northern California businesses, Bay Area used office furniture can provide a good starting point, as offices set a good example for others to follow. After finding a strong partner in this initiative, these businesses can continue to make good decisions for compliance.