Five ways your business can take climate action
Greening the office, engaging your employees, switching to renewable energy, closing the loop and going climate positive.
In 2019, there is an increasing sense of urgency to take climate action. Business has a huge impact on the planet. With this comes an opportunity to change, improve and take action. B Corps believe in balancing profit with people and planet and are leading the way with their environmental performance.
Whether you’re looking to make small, collective changes or considering setting long term environmental goals, here are five ways your business can take climate action, written by B Corps in the UK.
1. Green the office
By Robin Tyler, Purchasing Manager at Cotswold Fayre
Last year, the management team at Cotswold Fayre, decided to green the office to reduce their impact on the planet.
A simple first step was to remove individual waste paper bins from under desks. Using a single food waste bin and recycling bin has reduced rubbish to landfill by two thirds! All the office paper we use is now 100% recycled and paper waste is recycled.
After implementing these changes, teams quickly identified other changes that could be done. These included; installing a hand dryer (saving 20,000 paper towels) and switching electricity suppliers to Ecotricity, a 100% green electricity supplier.
All these changes required minimal effort and could be made by any business, of any type or size. Start with this small list and from here, you might decide to make bigger changes — low energy lighting, green web hosting, electric cars, the list is endless!
2. Engage your employees
By Matt Hocking, Director at Leap
At Leap, all the team get involved in many ways and they’ve found the Do Nation pledge challenge to be the most effective way to engage employees. Do Nation is a platform where organisations and individuals can write pledges to make small changes to their everyday habits.
Making pledges has taught teams how simple actions make a difference. It’s been amazing hearing conversations between team members about making purposeful changes. From switching to renewable energy, to cutting out sugary drinks, to using non-dairy milk in the office and being more conscious about the food they eat, these tiny changes have a lasting impact, personally and environmentally.
3. Switch to renewable energy
By Andy Stephens, Head of Sustainable Food at COOK
COOK have switched to 100% renewable energy in 2017 and were surprised how easy it was to implement. Their energy brokers, Beond Group, put out a tender to renewable energy suppliers to provide quotes, then we picked the one that was suitable. Simple as that. In one step we’d roughly cut our annual carbon footprint in half — that’s by 2,368 tonnes, about the same as 650 households switching to renewable electricity — at a cost comparable with non-renewables, too.
We recognise that buying green electricity is a good first step not the silver bullet. At the moment we’re working with a community energy Co-Op to explore whether a project involving solar panels on the roof of our new kitchen is feasible and looking for more ways to use energy more effectively.
4. Close the loop
By Jo Chidley, Founder of Beauty Kitchen
99% of beauty packaging is thrown out after just one use. Beauty Kitchen are here to change that. They launched their new ‘Return · Refill · Repeat’ program where you send your Beauty Kitchen packaging back to them, and we’ll wash and reuse it for the next batch of Beauty Kitchen products.
To achieve this, they have switched their packaging to glass or aluminium, making it easy to wash and reuse. Redesigning every single element of packaging with reusability in mind. This includes no glue on lids which means these can be washed & reused too, further minimising waste and closing the loop on packaging.
Designing or thinking with the end in mind works across all industries and If you use packaging, a few simple questions can close the loop. Is it recyclable? Has it been recycled and if not could it be? Setting achievable goals and going on the journey is the most important step any business can take.
5. Go climate positive
By Lauren Ellis, PR and Events Manager at Intrepid Group
Intrepid Group announced their goal to become climate positive by 2020. Since 2010, they have been carbon neutral, offsetting carbon emissions from all trips by purchasing carbon credits and involving in renewable energy projects. Now their goal is to create an environmental benefit by removing additional carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. They have seen the financial benefits from working that way, achieving three consecutive years of record growth including a 17% increase in revenue in 2018.
The first task for other companies wanting to take a leadership stance on sustainability is to understand where they are having an impact, whether it be good or bad. Then you need to ensure that the sustainable purpose-driven ideology is built into your decision making.