Sustainable Business

Sustainability is an increasingly important issue for many people, especially in the business world. We have just had COP26 in Glasgow which resulted in a huge wave of support. Over 100,000 people marched in Glasgow to demand more action on the climate crisis, plus other marches took place around the world. Now more than ever before consumers are starting to ask businesses what they are doing to reduce the impact their business has on the planet.  As such Sustainability is becoming more important for companies, across all industries.  

What does Sustainability mean for my business? 

Sustainability is a business approach to creating long-term value by taking into consideration how a given organisation operates in the ecological, social and economic environment. Sustainability is built on the assumption that developing such strategies foster long term sustainability of the organisation. 

The UK governments response to the climate emergency was to set a net zero emissions target by 2050 for business.  

As the expectations on corporate responsibility increase, and as transparency becomes more prevalent, companies are recognising the need to act.  The Government have recently launched the Together for our Planet campaign, to encourage small and micro businesses to commit to cutting their emissions in half by 2030 and to net zero by 2050 or sooner through the new UK Business Climate Hub. You can use the hub to find practical tools, resources and advice to understand your emissions and develop a plan to tackle them, as well as providing ideas for steps to take. 

The Government Web site sates ‘As the UK’s 6 million small businesses make up 99% of the UK’s enterprises, employ 60% of the UK workforce and generate £2.2 trillion of revenue to the economy, it is crucial these enterprises take action and reduce their carbon footprint’ 

As a small business I am sure you have just been trying to get through the last two years and this is the last thing on your mind. Chamber of Commerce completed some research recently which found that ‘Carbon footprint a mystery to 9 out of 10 small businesses 

So, what’s the Carbon Footprint of a business? 

The Corporate Carbon Footprint includes all emissions that are influenced by a company’s decision. This means that in addition to direct emissions, all indirect emissions are also included. For manufacturing companies this implies that the entire value chain is part of the Corporate Carbon Footprint. Sounds scary and hard to know, where to start doesn’t it.  

What’s does Net Zero mean to my business and why is it so important? 

We need to rapidly reduce the emissions being released into the Earth’s atmosphere and remove greenhouse gases to avoid dangerous climate change. If we don’t the climate will change the scope of many businesses, growing food will change, impacting on many businesses. Many areas of Cheshire will be under water from rising sea levels, and this will happen around the world. So, we can’t afford not to all act.  

What are the benefits to me and my business to work on Net Zero? 

By reducing carbon emissions and moving to net zero, your business might: 

  • Reduce energy and transport costs 
  • You will meet environmental regulations
  • Consumers will be looking for businesses that are making change and so it may attract new customers and investors 
  • You might help those in your supply chain meet the new targets 
  • You might attract and retain employees who care about the environment 

How can I make the changes needed? 

You need to reduce your carbon footprint by: 

  • Transport accounts for ¼ of the UKs carbon emissions, you need to look at how your business can reduce its use of vehicles. Switch to electric vehicles where vehicles are essential or alternative forms of fuel where EV is not an option drive more efficiently. Use public transport as much as possible and encourage your staff to do the same. Consider bike and car share schemes 
  • We need to stop using up the earth resources such as fossil fuels. We need to reduce what we use, consider where we can use reusable options and then lastly recycle anything you can. Do you know what happens to your waste when the contractor collects it? We will provide more information on recycling business waste in our next few blogs.  
  • As a business you have a duty of care to dispose of waste appropriately. Why not complete a Waste Audit and see what changes you can make within the business. Have you thought about become a Plastic Free Champion via Eco Communities Plastic Free Cheshire Project underwritten by Surfers Against Sewage.  
  • Look at the energy costs within your business. Switching to a renewable energy can reduce your carbon footprint. If you own the building or can make changes, can you improve insulation, to cut energy costs?   

What next ? 

  • Sign into our Sustainable Business Group on our Mighty Network platform, we are going to start working on ways to support SMEs on all the ideas within this blog. Join – click here
  • Sign up to calculate your personal carbon footprint via Eco Communities Giki account it might give you tips and ideas to use within your business.  Join – click here
  • Contact us about how you can become a Plastic Free Business.  

More Resources 

Cheshire for Good is a unique responsible business community of great businesses in Cheshire working together to create positive change in Cheshire and for the world.

The Zero Carbon Business service is a partnership between business organisations, energy networks and professional bodies to give small businesses the advice they need to reduce their carbon emissions.

Federation for Small Business – Free Guide: How to get started with sustainability. Download

B Corporation UK – Certified B Corporations, or B Corps, are companies verified by B Lab to meet high standards of social and environmental performance, transparency and accountability.

The SME Climate Hub is a global initiative that aims to mainstream climate action in the small to medium sized business community, and enable SMEs to build resilient businesses for the future.- Tools and Resources