This Christmas, the cost-of-living crisis has become an overriding concern for many. With more than a quarter of households (26%) planning to buy fewer Christmas presents this winter and 12% anticipating skipping meals, concerns about climate change have taken a back seat for many, with almost four in ten, (38%) feeling it is too expensive to live more sustainably.
People do want to make change, but don’t always know how to when finances are stretched. And the same can be true for small businesses. Bristol Green Capital Partnership, a participant in this year’s Royal London Changemakers Programme, shares some top tips on how businesses can take steps to help achieve the UK’s goal of becoming net zero by reducing their own carbon footprint. The tips are below. Please get in touch if you have any questions, or if you would like to speak to someone from Bristol Green Capital Partnership.
- Cut the commute
Helping and enabling employees to have a more environmentally friendly commute can easily yet effectively reduce carbon emissions and there are several simple ways this can be achieved. Supporting employees to choose active travel via a cycle to work scheme and offering bike maintenance, for example. Plus allowing staff to do some of their work remotely, utilising technology to eliminate the need for a daily commute.
- Ditch the diesel (or petrol)
Unfortunately, unlike Santa, we can’t travel and transport our cargo in a flying sleigh driven by reindeers. However, for those businesses that use fleet vehicles, the switch to electric over diesel or petrol run vehicles can have an enormous impact on reducing company emissions. Using electric vehicles can also have financial benefits, for example electric vehicles are currently exempt from Vehicle Excise Duty (VED) until at least 2025. Additionally, businesses can encourage the use of electric vehicles by employees through salary sacrifice schemes for electric vehicle purchase and offering on site electric vehicle charging infrastructure.
- Source local supplies
Food and goods that are grown or manufactured and sold locally often have a lower carbon footprint than goods that travel miles on end. As a result, local purchasing not only has the impact of supporting the local economy but can be much more environmentally friendly. If your business provides food to customers or employees, research locally grown seasonal crops, and incorporate these into dishes or stock on offer.
- Improve waste management
We have all heard of the three ‘R’s, reduce, reuse, recycle, yet more can be done across businesses to implement and follow these practices. First, for example, try working with suppliers of products and resources to remove any unnecessary packaging. Go paperless, or if going entirely digital isn’t possible use recycled paper when necessary. Arrange for old equipment or furniture to be given to second-hand shops and encourage recycling within the organisation, by having clearly labelled and accessible recycling bins for different materials within your business’ premises, including separating food waste.
- Review your energy use
Take time to consider ways in which your business can become more energy efficient. When replacing office appliances and equipment, make sure to do your research and select products that not only do their job, but are more energy efficient. For example, using LED bulbs, and draught-proofing buildings, can have a huge impact on reducing your carbon emissions as well as your energy bills.
- Support local nature projects
Last but not least, although it’s not directly related to reducing your carbon footprint, consider whether your business could support local nature projects. By investing in responsible nature-based solutions you can help to protect, manage and restore ecosystems and support biodiversity.
For more tips on how to reduce your business’ carbon footprint, take a look at Bristol Green Capital Partnership’s Climate Action Programme resources.
To help bridge the gap between moving into a sustainable world while combatting the cost-of-living crisis, Royal London has announced ten new social enterprises, including Bristol Green Partnership as part of its Changemakers Programme, now in its second year. This year’s enterprises have been chosen based on the unique solutions they provide to help people move fairly to a sustainable world and promote financial resilience. Each Changemaker will benefit from a £20,000 grant, as well as extensive business support from The School for Social Entrepreneurs, which will continue for two years.