Going green and your small business

ended 03. November 2021

Today at COP26, the Chancellor is expected to announce measures that will force the UK's largest firms to go green by a specific deadline. The Daily Mail wants to know if there are any smaller businesses that are concerned they may be cast as pariahs if they do not have the funds or financial firepower to go carbon-neutral as soon as they would like to. If you have any thoughts on this, share away!

7 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"Going green is a truism demanded by consumers, where the reality is often a little more complex. I work with a lot of manufacturers - small and large businesses - and the aim of all of them is to keep pushing forwards on their journey of improvement, but it does require taking iterative steps. With the recent revelations by the ONS that households are the greatest source of food waste, fossil fuel usage and that there are still less than half of households recycling, consumers often hold manufacturers to higher account than they are prepared to take responsibility for themselves. It is absolutely right we should all go greener, and manufacturers need to step up to the plate on this. It is also true that this all costs money that often needs absorbing into a fixed product price. Consumers are quick to dismiss any improvements as 'green washing' which can leave businesses in a reputational situation of you are damned if you do, and are damned if you don't. So it's a tricky line to tread that is felt very keenly by smaller businesses."
Star Quote
"I think we all realise we need to be greener. Consumers will drive this as much as governments. Hence, ignoring it is not an option even for smaller businesses. My own firm is already becoming greener by investing in LED lighting, reducing single-use plastic, increasing 'paperless' working and having remote meetings."
Star Quote
"Initially, we were nervous at the prospect of having to "tick boxes" to become Carbon Neutral as this just added to the many "box ticking" schemes we were being asked or advised to spend money on simply to be considered as a supplier. It just isn't practical for micro businesses to have all the certification deemed necessary. However, as we are working with innovative, sustainable products we've looked into the costs associated with becoming Carbon Neutral and have decided that this is a "Must Have". It's more important that the Government stick by these policies and requirements when their own departments procure products. The NHS, for example, uses miles of PVC for upholstery when there are more sustainable and technically advanced products available."
Star Quote
"My small business has been built to be environmentally aware. Birds Can Fly is nature-themed, so I couldn’t, with good conscience, do anything else. From the beginning I put planet over profit. I make less money and this is perhaps why I will remain small. Large corporations expand because they focus on profit, and this has to change. The consumer is becoming more aware of so-called ‘green washing’, so authenticity is key for the large companies that are being encouraged to put the earth over earnings."
The entire global political elite is tinkering at the edges. Announcing measures for firms to go green, whilst 1% of the global population is responsible for 50% of all aviation emissions, is laughable. People are sick to death of 'do as I say, not as I do'. The UK government has just given the green light to more oil exploration in the North Sea for gods sake! We need radical structural change mainly centred around our economic system as a whole. Capitalism got us into this mess; to think it can get us out is idiotic. Does anyone think it strange that there's an alarming correlation between the amount of Co2 pumped into the atmosphere and global GDP? It is an elementary and self-evident truth that a child can comprehend, but politicians, bankers and the global elite can't. You cannot have infinite growth that is dependent upon finite resources. So until we have a paradigm shift in economic & political thinking, we're f****d.
"Knowing the current government they'll likely come up with a target to hit then wash their hands when it comes to implementation. Look at the botched green homes grant scheme, which turned out to be a total shambles, helping just 7% of the intended 600,000 properties. We all know that going carbon neutral is important but people and businesses alike need support and direction to get there. It still niggles that the Government found £37bn for a failed test and trace system but struggles to actually back doing something to combat global warming, which is the great existential threat of our time. Here's a wacky idea: Let businesses offset work that they undertake to go carbon neutral against their business rate bill. All of a sudden we'll be falling over ourselves to do our bit."
"As a small business, we don’t have the resources to train to become a carbon emissions expert, nor the funds to hire a consultant, so feel constrained by knowledge and finances. We are acutely aware that our business encourages guests to create an environmental impact - they travel and to and from holiday homes for a start. The guilt is palpable, and so we are taking steps to offset carbon emission by planting trees on behalf of our guests. But that’s the easy bit. Once in situ, the tourism cogs crunch like sticks of rock, and visitors are encouraged to consume. The challenge for Salcombe is how we measure, reduce and offset this impact."