Is your business or charity going green?

ended 07. March 2022

A report issued this morning by the Office for National Statistics shows that more people in work in 2019 were ‘working green’, namely being more sustainable or somehow seeking to combat climate change in their day-to-day working lives. Two key takeaways are:

  • Around 7 to 8% of hours worked in the UK are estimated to have been spent on green tasks in 2019; this is up from around 5 to 6% between 1997 and 2007.
  • The proportion of workers (employed or self-employed) spending any time doing green tasks is estimated to have increased from around a quarter between 1997 and 2005, to more than a third between 2012 and 2019.

If you've made your business or charity more sustainable in recent years, tell us about it. Also, any views generally on the need to go green are welcome.

14 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"Here at Mendip Chocolate Chef, our environmental impact is at the heart of our business. The confectionery industry is full of plastic, which is why our packaging has been plastic free from its infancy in 2020. It can be done, and as businesses, it is our duty to help consumers make better decisions towards reducing environmental impact, as well as helping push other manufacturers in the same direction."
Star Quote
"As a small indie business, I spend a lot of my time searching for UK-based manufacturers to ensure my products have a low carbon footprint. A lot of products these days clock up a hefty amount of air miles or spend weeks at sea on huge cargo ships. My small business is based around my illustrations of British Wildlife, so I knew our environment would be important to my audience. I made the commitment that I’d only ever sell British-made items to lessen the environmental impact and to support our local economy. I also source compostable packaging and avoid all hidden plastics such as polyester and laminated printed products wherever possible, too. These days there are eco-alternatives to a lot of business essentials, especially in the print and packaging industries. It just takes a little more work to find them."
Star Quote
Natasha Ray
Co-Founder at &Keep
"At &Keep, we live and breathe sustainability. In fact, planet protection pulses through our veins. From Day One, our mission was to 'create a better Tomorrow, Today’. We have always been meticulous in ensuring our suppliers meet our eco-ethics, i.e. no plastic packaging and a low carbon footprint. We work with our 80+ suppliers to feed back on their packaging where improvements can be made. We use as many local suppliers as possible, championing other small businesses and reducing our carbon footprint. We look for suppliers supporting the circular economy, like repurposing waste ingredients to make skincare products. We reuse 95% of the packaging that comes to us from suppliers, sending our orders back out in them. Other packaging we use is made of recycled materials or grass paper. We believe that everyone should have the freedom to purchase goods with the protection of the planet at heart and therefore only stock products that are eco-friendly, sustainable and reusable (where applicable). Far from just being 'a shop' we strongly believe education is crucial to the survival of the planet and in the fight against climate change. As well as our plethora of blogs that advise and support people on how to make simple planet-kind swaps, we have written a 'Becoming a Net Zero Hero' Toolkit for Small Businesses. There is no doubt as to the ‘need to go green’. Making sustainable choices needs to become a natural instinctive lifestyle choice for everyone whether they are working or not. Giving people insight into the impact of their daily choices on the planet is critical. Knowledge is power."
"I think we've become much more environmentally conscious over the last few years. My own firm, Rowley Turton, started recycling office waste years before it become fashionable. More recently, we have taken a number of steps to work 'greener' including replacing my company car with a Tesla, installing low energy LED lightening and EV chargers at our office, utilising remote meetings to reduce travelling, using electronic signatures to replace much of our post, and reducing our use of single-use plastics."
"My own business has become more green by accident, rather than by design. Pre-pandemic, I would average around 23,000 business miles a year as I travelled around to have face-to-face meetings with clients. Obviously the lock-downs that happened in 2020 and 2021 forced us all to learn new ways of communicating and so most of my meeting were, and have remained on, Zoom and Teams. The net result is that I've been averaging about 5,000 business miles a year, if that. I'm hopeful that, moving forward, as lovely as it is to have some face-to-face meetings, the majority remain virtual and I can continue to keep my business travel lower than previously."
"At Lotuly, we've made our business green from the beginning, investing in planting trees for translated words and reducing our carbon footprint. So far, we've offset 5T of carbon reduction and have planted almost 600 trees. We also work remotely, therefore reducing pollution as there's no commute, which means reduction in oil consumption and vehicle emissions, less congestion as there's no traffic and less consumables as everything we do is digital so we reduced printing to 0, which means we are paperless and we create zero waste. The newest addition is our hosting which is powered by 100% renewable energy. As we all know, the internet costs a lot of energy to power: over 400 terawatt-hours a year. So every little action we do is important, as insignificant as it may seem. Around 3.7% of global greenhouse gas emissions are due to the internet so there's more we can do specially as small businesses."
All day, everyday, my life revolves around regenerative living, and trying to demonstrate how others can do so too. Understanding how we put more back into our biosphere means stepping out of thought patterns we have followed for hundreds of years. It is not always easy for individuals to see how they can do this, and even harder for business, fear of loosing profits is always at the back of our minds. Going green or sustainable requires a connection with our natural world, creating that connection requires using our hearts and minds together, not seperately. But are these the goals we should be striving for? I see so many businesses add the tag lines to products and services thinking they are going to increase profits because they are doing the right thing without knowing what the right thing is. As we all start to wake up to the damage the way we live is doing to our home, profits will be damaged irreparably when the green washing becomes apparent. When actions do not come from the heart and mind everyone ends up loosing. The question maybe how do we work out what the right thing is? Let me give you a clue......the earth has been perfecting the right thing for millions of years, she is the perfect teacher. Follow her lead and it is really very clear, starting with sequestering the carbon we have taken out the ground already, and then stopping taking any more out.
My VIP Rewards gives 25% of its revenue to local causes such as charities , community projects and schools. We reward people for supporting their local community with thousands of discounts, cashback and rewards that support the high street and small businesses. It’s never been more important for employers to support their employees with rising cost of living. And being more sustainable and supporting local charities and projects helps employers to fulfil their corporate social responsibility. Employers benefit from more engaged people, charities get donations, and local shops increase footfall. Shopping locally is a proven way to reduce carbon footprint and keep money in the local economy 🤍
Covid-19 taught us just how much of our business could be done online - as a result, even since the end of lockdown, we are doing less that 10% of the physical meetings we could previously have done, massively reducing our carbon footprint. This year, we've made a conscious decision to add to this, so we are now planting a tree for every invoice that we issue - plant a tree with Ensurety! (it even gave us a new tagline!!)
"At Buildabundle, our life’s mission is to be more sustainable and help other parents do the same, by making it easier to shop for secondhand kids' clothes. We used to find it really difficult and time-consuming to buy preloved kids clothes so our website was created to make it as quick and convenient to shop second-hand as it is to buy brand new. We hope this will encourage more people to do it, and so far we’ve been proved right. We’re all so busy these days, people want to be sustainable but they don’t always have the time to hunt around the greenest options. We really believe that if companies implement easier ways for people to be sustainable, people will use them. We also reuse used packaging for the majority of our orders. We can’t see the point in producing new packaging when so many millions of postbags have already been made, why not reuse them? Our customers save their postbags from all online shopping for us, and bring them in for us to reuse, preloved clothes in preloved packaging! It’s so important, we only have this one chance to leave a better world for the next generation and we need to be doing it now. When our kids ask us what we did to help when we knew the planet was in crisis, we want to be able to tell them that we did something productive to do our bit."
"As a business, Little Nutkins prides itself on being as sustainable and eco-conscious as possible. We've been taking steps to make our business as green as possible over the past few years. We've swapped over to an 100% renewable electricity tariff and I now drive a fully electric car. We reuse or recycle all of the cardboard and packing materials that come with our deliveries, and send out orders in biodegradable paper and cardboard packaging. And our clothes are all made from organic cotton, which uses a lot less water, resources and chemicals than other fabrics. We also choose our suppliers carefully and look for those who follow sustainable practices, and use more eco-friendly materials."
"Going greener is an ongoing task and many micro businesses can do this quicker. When introducing a new facial cleansing oil recently we looked for ingredients that really represented our green values and insect- and pollinator-friendly status. We chose to use Lunaria Anuua or Honesty seed oil in our latest product, Luna Cleansing Oil. This biodiverse oil seed developed in the UK is a unique source of skin beneficial glycolipids and ceramides normally sourced from fish. Using a botanical source of skin friendly fatty acids is far more sustainable. The Royal Horticultural Society has designated Honesty Seed Oil as a crop that benefits the environment when grown. So it positively contributes to the health of the U.K. countryside and our insects and pollinators as it grows. This also means its lower carbon and fresher with a more traceable impact and carbon footprint."
"As a small business, we do what we can to make an impact including saving our food waste by working with partners like TooGoodToGo to create magic bags of food that would otherwise be thrown away. We create juices and smoothies from the remaining surplus fruit to avoid wastage for people within the local area. We are working towards becoming a vegan and plant-based brand with now over 80% of our menu falling into either category. We are working to reduce our plastic by using alternatives in any way we can through packaging choices and creating long-term sustainable goals."
I think small and independent businesses should be leading the way in working greener and more sustainably as it’s easier for us to make changes quickly. In both my business and personal purchases I now ask a number of questions before I decided to buy – what’s it made from? Where is it made? What is it packaged in? Is there a better alternative? It’s not always possible to find items with all the desired answers but my hope is if everybody thinks this way out of habit, that we will all start the make better choices and force manufacturers to produce more ethical and sustainable alternatives that tick all those boxes. One recent example I’ve noticed is the solid shampoo market. I used to have to seek out plastic free shampoo bars – now they are versions in most chemists and supermarkets. Independent businesses got there first but they created a demand for them. In my business I try and reduce waste, use recycled and recyclable materials and create items that are made to last. The business also funds the planting of trees through sales and adds extra to mark special occasions such as Black Friday where we funded the planting 500 trees rather than offering discounts. Going for even more this year!