Alongside the environmental impact, there are a wealth of benefits for small businesses adopting more sustainable practices. Organisations can save on overheads and resources; there's the positive brand perception from customers who are increasingly choosing eco-conscientious products and services; and there are the benefits of improved public health.
Some environmentally friendly practices may require an initial investment, but there are several you can implement at zero cost. In this article, we explore four ways you can make your business greener without spending anything.
Reducing emissions is a crucial step towards combatting climate change and ensuring a sustainable future. And the positive impact will be felt on more than just your bottom line.
- By actively reducing emissions, your business becomes an example for the community, inspiring others to take similar actions and collectively make a positive impact.
- An environmental transport policy ensures your business remains aligned with more sustainable methods of travel, ensuring reductions in mileage where possible, and maintaining a positive reputation.
- Increasingly, investors, employees and consumers seek out businesses that prioritise sustainability. By reducing emissions, you appeal to environmentally conscious people and organisations who value businesses committed to making a difference.
A great place to start your journey to reducing emissions is the SME Climate Hub. It's a not-for-profit global initiative that supports SMEs to take climate action and build resilient businesses for the future. The Hub is an initiative of the We Mean Business Coalition, the Exponential Roadmap Initiative and the United Nations Race to Zero campaign, in collaboration with Normative and the Net Zero team at Oxford University.
You can start calculating your business emissions right now using their Business Carbon Calculator. Once you know more about your emissions, you can use more of the Hub's tools to proactively reduce them.
Water efficiency is essential for responsible business practices, and there are practical benefits too.
Implementing water-saving technologies and practices helps lower your water bills, allowing you to allocate those savings to other areas of your business.
Conserving water reduces strain on local water sources and protects the beautiful natural environments of the South West.
Demonstrating your commitment to water efficiency builds trust and loyalty among environmentally conscious customers, strengthening your reputation in the community.
South West Water offer a range of services to local businesses that include free water-efficiency audits and water-saving devices you can install to reduce usage.
Efficient energy management is not only environmentally friendly, but has economic benefits too.
Lower energy costs
By optimising energy consumption, you can significantly reduce your energy bills, freeing up resources for your business's growth and development.
Reduced environmental impact
Energy-efficient practices, such as using LED lighting and smart heating and cooling systems, help decrease greenhouse gas emissions, which contribute to climate change.
Improved working environment
Efficient lighting, ventilation, and temperature control systems create a comfortable and productive workspace, enhancing employee wellbeing and productivity.
Decarbonise Devon offers free assessments and guidance to businesses looking to minimise energy usage, costs and wastage.
Committing to reach Net Zero
Striving for net-zero emissions is the ultimate goal for businesses aiming to contribute significantly to combating climate change. By pledging to reach net-zero emissions, your business demonstrates proactive environmental stewardship, setting an example for others in your industry.
Being a net-zero business sets you apart from your competitors, attracting environmentally conscious customers who actively support sustainable businesses.
And investing in sustainable practices and transitioning towards net-zero emissions future-proofs your business, ensuring its long-term viability in a changing world while aligning with global sustainability goals.
The Devon Climate Emergency Response Group was set up in 2019 to coordinate a collaborative Devon-wide response to the issues we all face in relation to climate change. They have developed a Devon Carbon Plan and task force to steer Devon towards its Net Zero goal by 2050. Read more about how you can be involved and sign the Devon Climate Declaration here.
Want to know more about how we're embracing sustainability here at BIP?
Our environmental policy is structured around several key priorities that we continue to measure and improve wherever possible.
We measure and monitor our carbon footprint yearly, and proactively seek innovative ways to reduce that footprint.
Energy & water
We've put lots of measures in place within our building to reduce consumption. And we encourage our landlord to apply for funding for energy efficiency initiatives.
Many of our team work remotely so we put video and phone conferencing tools to good use. Where travel is necessary, especially for our advisors, we ensure we car share or plan the most efficient routes where possible.
Purchasing sustainably is essential to us. We consider the environmental impact of all of our purchasing and we favour eco-friendly products and suppliers.
Waste & recycling
We actively pursue waste reduction and recycling initiatives, and reuse materials whenever possible.
We strive to not only comply with UK government and EU environmental legislation, but exceed the regulatory requirements as well.
Good work on getting this far! The fact that you're considering the adoption of an environmental policy for your business is a positive step. By prioritising water and energy efficiency, emission reduction, and committing to reach Net Zero, you'll not only contribute to a greener future but you'll also gain practical benefits.
Committing to reaching Net Zero is also about working together to build a responsible and thriving business community in the south west of England.
Get free green business support with Prosper
We are now offering free support to businesses looking to increase their sustainability. Through the Prosper programme, funded by the UK Government's Shared Prosperity Fund, you can access free carbon audits and receive advice on ways to reduce your carbon footprint, save money on utilities, and work towards Net Zero. All of the advice you receive is totally tailored to your business needs.
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