The words 'climate change' and 'business' were not always comfortable bedfellows - for many, commerce was seen as one of the major obstacles to a sustainable future. However, things are changing, and for the better...
With COP26 in Glasgow still fresh in the mind, businesses of all sizes across the UK were asking themselves what they could do to cut emissions and become ‘greener’. In response, the Government introduced its UK Business Climate Hub , a free resource featuring a wide range of general and sector-specific strategies.
For SMEs, our partner organisation the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) launched a free guide entitled 'How to get started with sustainability' which helps small business owners and the self-employed to understand how they can play their part. Here, we share just some of FSB's suggested initiatives to help you start your journey to net zero. For the full picture, we heartily recommend you download the guide here.
Reducing your energy use is beneficial both financially and environmentally, allowing you to keep in line with energy legislation and face little risk of non-compliance. Sustainably generated electricity is much more beneficial for business use. Minimising electricity from high-carbon sources taking up a higher percentage of our national grid.
Tackling your water consumption is massively important. Reducing heavy consumption of a finite resource will also benefit you economically, as you will reduce your bills.
Less waste will mean a smaller carbon footprint, less requirement for landfill space and reduced impact on biodiversity loss. Addressing any waste problems allows you to comply with all the UK’s current regulations and prepares you for any changes to the regulations in the future.
To start the process of reducing your waste, you are advised to do a waste audit. A waste audit can be thought of as a ‘dumpster dive’. A waste audit involves separating your waste into different categories (e.g., cardboard, glass etc.) and weighing how much you produce over a given time, often a week. You can hire a professional to conduct a waste audit for you, or if you produce a small amount of waste, you can do one yourself. Once you have completed your waste audit you can then plan how to reduce your waste.
Annually, 12.5 million tonnes of paper are used in the UK, with roughly two thirds recycled. Within the UK, the average household is said to dispose of six trees’ worth of paper per year. Making the switch to digital records and processes can help reduce the amount of paper your business uses. Moving your business processes to computer-based systems will reduce the need to keep physical paper records and will improve day-to-day operations.
Don’t forget that if you go digital with your company’s documentation, take precautions to ensure that your digital ecosystem is secure to avoid cyber-attacks.
By changing your habits, road traffic and vehicle usage can be reduced on both an individual and business level. Cars and vans are important for business operations, and essential at times. However, avoiding unnecessary trips, shopping locally, and grouping deliveries together are all beneficial.
What are the alternatives to repeated vehicle use?
If you consider the distance travelled, miles per gallon, fuel price and how many passengers are in the car, you can calculate how much the journey cost per person in the vehicle. In doing so, you save money and reduce the number of cars on the road which is better for the environment.
We at X-Forces Enterprise are committed to playing our part and have designed a brand new workshop entitled Business Leadership in a Climate Change Environment, a subject with implications for every small business in the UK.
The words ‘climate change’ and ‘business’ were not always comfortable bedfellows – for many, commerce was seen as one of the major obstacles to a sustainable future. However, things are changing, and for the better…
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