Green Business Advice
- Environmental Sustainability
Does your North Norfolk business employ under 250 people and are you interested in saving money?
REV ACTIVE scheme is now available in North Norfolk and grants are available
REV ACTIVE provides free, confidential and impartial support for small and medium-sized enterprises who want to reduce business costs and cut carbon.
REV ACTIVE provides free and impartial systematic reviews of business premises and operations by experts and ‘hands on’ assistance – fully-costed business cases for change – identifying, quantifying and prioritising the various opportunities and their paybacks.
After the initial free review follow on support and business grants are available for businesses in the North Norfolk District Council area.
Improving the environmental performance of your business can have numerous benefits, including reduced operating costs, better compliance with environmental legislation, as well as an improved image of your business. For some case studies of businesses in Norfolk who have benefitted from improving their environmental performance, visit the Low Carbon Norfolk website.
'Quick wins' and first steps to take
Below are some simple actions you can take towards becoming a more environmentally sustainable business.
Cut your energy use
With rising energy costs, cutting your energy use makes business sense, and can be as easy as encouraging staff to switch equipment and lights off when not in use, or turning the thermostat down by 1 degree. However there are many other low cost measures, or measures with a short financial ‘payback’ which could suit your business. The Carbon Trust has a range of information on cutting energy use from commercial properties and on technologies to cut energy use.
Green Business Travel
Travel and transport can be one of the biggest environmental impacts of some businesses. There are lots of ways you can address this:
- Consider whether you can replace some business travel by car with other modes of transport.
- Contact the Energy Saving Trust for information on reducing costs and cutting emissions from business fleets
- Train your fleet drivers in ‘Eco-driving techniques'. This helps reduce fuel use through changes in driving behaviour. Norfolk County Council currently provide this training for businesses and individuals.
- Some businesses may also want to look at using teleconferencing, video conferencing or even web conferencing facilities to reduce the need to travel.
Resources and waste
Resource efficiency is not just about the environment, it also makes good commercial sense. Both raw materials and waste cost money, so by finding ways to reuse and reduce waste, your business could become more profitable. There are lots of simple ways to cut your use of resources, for instance reducing water use by installing low-flow taps or dual-flush WCs, or reducing paper use by always printing double sided. Ensuring that you recycle as much business waste as possible is also beneficial for the environment and can reduce your waste costs. WRAP have more information for about recycling for businesses.
There are lots of practices you can look at bringing in, to show your commitment to being a greener business. Below are some longer-term measures you might want to consider, which will really prove your commitment to the environment, and show you are a forward-thinking 'green' business:
Measure your emissions
Measuring you carbon emissions is a useful way to measure your impact on the environment. Having a ‘carbon footprint’ of all the emissions resulting from your business operations means that you will be able to identify and reduce your largest impacts on the environment, and measure any improvements over time.
- You can develop your own footprinting method, but using an established method such as GHGProtocol or PAS 2050 will ensure credibility.
- Guidance on measuring business emissions can be obtained from the Carbon Trust, or from Gov.uk.
Introduce an environmental policy
An Environmental Policy or an Environmental Strategy can be important first steps for environmentally-minded businesses, as it means you can put your targets in writing and help communicate your aims with staff and customers. North Norfolk District Council has produced its own policy and strategy, which you can view to inspire your own version. You could also implement an ‘EMS’ (Environmental Management System). This is a method of managing, identifying and reducing an organisation’s impacts on the environment, and can encompass a wide range of aspects as required. An EMS is particularly useful for helping to comply with environmental legislation.
Procurement decisions have major environmental and socio-economic implications, both locally and globally, now and for future generations. A green procurement policy can help ensure that, through purchasing more environmentally-sustainable products, works, services and even buildings, your business can have a reduced impact on the environment. Envirowise have produced a guide to green procurement for businesses.
Adapting to climate change
When considering the impacts of climate change on businesses, many people think of extreme weather events. However a changing climate could also influence business in other ways, for instance influencing demand for products and services, and affecting the comfort of employees and customers. This means it is important to be prepared for these changes, to minimise the threats and maximise the opportunities created by climate change.
- The UK Climate Impacts Programme have a number of tools designed to help businesses understand and manage climate change risks
- The Norfolk Climate Change Taskforce have also produced a Climate Adaptation Tool to guide organisations through the full process of adapting to climate change.
If you have already looked at how you can use less energy, and how you can use energy more efficiently, there are still more steps you can take, which could even help you become a 'zero-carbon' business. These include:
Renewable energy is an option for some businesses, and could be fitted to business premises as a source of income, or to cut energy use.
Offsetting and Green Tariffs
Some businesses ‘offset’ their carbon emissions, which means contributing to a scheme to reduce carbon emissions elsewhere in the world, to compensate for their own emissions. There are numerous providers of carbon offsetting schemes, offering to offset carbon through a range of different methods and for different prices. A Quality Assurance Scheme for carbon offsetting schemes is run by the Department for Energy and Climate Change. Green energy tariffs are another option for businesses who want to reduce their impact on the environment. This involves buying energy from a company who sources their energy from renewable or low-carbon sources. Some green tariffs are exempt from the Climate Change Levy.
http://carbontrust.org/ The Carbon Trust is a not-for-profit company, who can provide specialist support to help business cut carbon emissions and save energy
http://www.energysavingtrust.org.uk/business The Energy Saving Trust is the UK's leading impartial organisation helping people to save energy and reduce carbon emissions.
http://etl.decc.gov.uk the Enhanced Capital Allowances (ECAs) scheme enables businesses to claim 100% first-year capital allowances on their spending on qualifying energy-saving and water-saving plant and machinery, and low-carbon vehicles and refuelling infrastructure.
http://www.ends.co.uk/ ENDS provides environmental information to professionals in a range of business sectors.
http://www.iema.net/ The Institute of Environmental Management and Assessment (IEMA) is the professional membership body for promoting best practice standards in environmental management, auditing and assessment for all industry sectors.
http://www.sustainablenorfolk.co.uk/ Sustainable Norfolk’s main role is to provide businesses with clear and concise signposting to information and advice on environmental issues and the low carbon agenda .
http://www.greengrantsmachine.co.uk/Default.aspx A website offering to find grants and funding available to help businesses go green.
http://www.businesslink.gov.uk/ Business Link have a range of information on Environment and Sustainability issues for SMEs in the East Of England.
http://www.resourceefficiencyeast.org.uk/ is a specialist provider of guidance and support of resource efficiency to small and medium sized enterprises in the East of England
http://www.nispnetwork.com The National Industrial Symbiosis Programme, which is free for businesses of all sizes to join, is intended to bring together organisations from all business sectors to improve resource efficiency and sustainability.