Small businesses have a big part to play in tackling climate change. Climate change affects us in every aspect of our lives, including our economy. And when the economy falters, small businesses really feel the impact.
An organisation’s environmental policy is also increasingly becoming a factor in consumer choice. People are proactively doing their research and supporting products and businesses with sustainable values and actions. In fact, many now choose to avoid big polluters. So becoming more environmentally friendly could give you a competitive advantage over others in your industry.
It starts with the smallest, everyday steps. And it doesn’t require a lot of investment. In fact, you could end up saving money on resources such as energy and water.
If you’re a small business owner looking to increase your sustainability, or even get started, our guide below shows you how.
Here are our 10 climate change steps for small businesses.
There are four key areas you can focus on:
Energy and emissions
Corporate membership to environmental organisations
Saving water, protecting land and biodiversity
Being a positive influence on the community.
Under each of these areas, follow our ten steps towards becoming a sustainability champion.
Energy & emissions
Step 1: Measure and track energy consumption
- Conduct an energy audit to identify areas of high energy usage
- Regularly monitor and record energy consumption to track progress.
Step 2: Optimise energy efficiency
- Replace traditional light bulbs with energy-efficient LEDs.
- Install programmable thermostats to regulate heating and cooling.
- Encourage employees to switch off lights and equipment when not in use.
Step 3: Promote sustainable commuting
- Encourage employees to carpool, use public transport, or cycle
- Provide incentives for using low-emission vehicles or electric cars.
- Establish a work-from-home policy to reduce commuting emissions.
Step 4: Switch to renewable energy
- Install solar panels or explore opportunities for purchasing green energy.
- Investigate government incentives or grants for adopting renewable energy sources.
A great place to start your journey to reducing emissions is the SME Climate Hub, a not-for-profit global initiative that supports SMEs in tackling climate change. Their Business Carbon Calculator helps you calculate your business' carbon emissions.
Corporate membership to environmental organisations
Step 5: Research & join a local environmental organisation
- Join local environmental organisations or green business networks.
- Participate in community-driven sustainability projects and events.
- Sign up to Corporate Membership.
These local South West organisations are a great place to start:
Step 6: Research & join a national organisation
- Become a member of recognised environmental organisations like the Woodland Trust.
- Support initiatives such as the 1% for the Planet program, pledging a portion of your profits to environmental causes.
- With initiatives such as Ecologi, you can automatically fund eco projects with each e-commerce transaction, or get your team onboard to support a climate change project.
- Engage in corporate volunteering programs, such as tree planting or beach clean-ups.
There are dozens of national organisations looking for business support. A quick Google search will find them for you, or you can check out some of these as a good starting point:
Saving water, protecting land & biodiversity
Step 7: Efficient water management
- Fix leaks promptly and install water-saving devices, such as aerators and low-flow toilets.
- Educate employees about water conservation and encourage responsible usage.
- Install rainwater harvesting systems for non-potable water needs.
Take a look at these links for further practical tips on how to save water in your business:
Step 8: Promoting biodiversity
- Create wildlife-friendly spaces on your premises, such as pollinator gardens.
- Support local biodiversity by planting native species and avoiding harmful pesticides.
- Consider becoming a part of local conservation projects or wildlife initiatives.
Social impact: Being a positive influence in the community
Step 9: Engage with the local community
- Sponsor or participate in local events promoting sustainability and environmental awareness.
- Share your sustainability journey through newsletters, social media, and local media outlets.
- Offer educational programs or workshops to inspire sustainable practices.
Step 10: Collaborate with local suppliers
- Source products and services locally to reduce transportation emissions.
- Prioritise suppliers who share your commitment to sustainability.
- Encourage your suppliers to adopt sustainable practices.
Take a look at Made In Devon, an initiative that promotes sales and consumption of local products & services within Devon.
By taking these practical steps, you can become a champion of sustainability. Every business, large or small, should be looking at how they can make a positive impact on the environment as we all collectively work towards achieving net zero.
Here at BIP, we’re committed to supporting small businesses on their journey to reach that critical goal. Proactively tackling climate change on a daily basis is also a core part of our business strategy. If you’d like to find out more about how we’re working towards net zero, take a look at our Environmental Policy.
Have you heard about our free green business support?
Powered by the UK Government's Shared Prosperity Fund and the Levelling Up programme, Prosper provides free advice on practical, sustainable methods for businesses in Mid Devon, East Devon & Exeter. It doesn't matter where you are in your Net Zero journey - we're here to help you make running your business more cost-effective, more efficient and more sustainable for the future.
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