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What can local businesses do?

Information to help local businesses to reduce their emissions

Help and advice for local businesses

Local businesses, large and small, can all help society and the country to reduce emissions by reducing their own carbon footprint. Businesses that protect the environment through lean, efficient operations can enjoy numerous benefits.

Apart from making a positive contribution toward tackling climate change, businesses can help protect the environment while also saving money,  and can even increase their chances of securing finance from lenders. It can also help a business’s reputation.

Ways in which businesses can make a difference include working with environmentally conscious suppliers and using products that use less energy, produce less waste, last longer, or promote a closed-loop process.

Here are some of the things those local businesses can do:

Choose sustainable supplier and supply chain

As businesses implement carbon-reduction strategies internally, it is critical to consider external factors as well. You should be able to reduce your business's carbon footprint by re-evaluating suppliers based on their green track record, as well as their process and customer service.

Making smarter purchasing decisions and working with sustainable suppliers means that sustainability is prioritised throughout the supply chain.

Encourage eco-friendly methods of working

Some ways of working are more environmentally friendly than others - for example, working from home (where possible) has significant environmental benefits. You can also consider virtual meetings such as video conferences, which remove the need for employees to travel by car to client meetings.

Paperwork has a significant environmental impact, as does computer work and use of the internet due to servers. For example, avoiding copying an entire company in an e-mail that only concerns one department can save a significant amount of CO2 emissions.

Additionally, encouraging the use of public transportation (where possible) to employees is another way to make a positive impact.

Getting a smart meter

Smart meters are an excellent way to save energy, protect the environment, and keep your organisation's costs under control. Ask our energy provider about getting a smart meter for your local business.

Keep a track of your emissions

Local businesses can keep track of their carbon footprint at regular intervals, and you can calculate your company's carbon footprint on our website here. You can also set a climate-related target or emission reduction goal based on your company's contribution to emissions and ability to invest.

The type of target you choose for your company can be shaped by your products and manufacturing methods, as well as the sector that you work in.

Monitoring and reducing energy consumption

Turning off the lights in the office in the evening, lowering the heating or air conditioning, unplugging devices when not in use, choosing energy efficient equipment are all sustainable actions that businesses can do.

You can begin by upgrading your energy systems to LED lighting, optimising heating, and cooling systems, and installing energy-efficient products.

Raise awareness among employees, clients and other stakeholders

Through company practices and policies around sustainability, your company can make employees aware of the importance to reducing their climate footprint.

Putting together a ‘green’ team is a great place to start with a group of enthusiastic employees who can help in identifying opportunities to improve environmental initiatives and in spreading the message throughout the organisation.

Also you can make your customers aware of your carbon-reduction policies and ways they too can reduce their own emissions

Reduce, reuse, and recycle waste

Reduce, reuse, and recycle should be applied to all aspects of your business, from packaging to office supplies to operations and supply chains. Always prioritise reducing and reusing, as these practices reduce waste.

Start a recycling programme in your office if there is no reusable alternative or if reusing simply does not work for your company.

Investing in recycled materials can have a significant impact: for example, using recycled glass requires 30% less energy than producing it with new materials, and producing new aluminium products from recycled aluminium saves more than 90% and possibly as much as 95% of the energy required to produce new metal.

Further information

You can join thousands of UK businesses tackling climate change via the Business Climate Hub.

The UK government's 'Together for our Planet' campaign encourages small businesses to pledge to reduce their emissions to zero by 2050 or sooner, while also helping them in growing, adapting, and seizing new opportunities.

The New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership have a wealth of information about clean growth for businesses.