If you’ve ever thought about who’s responsible for climate change, you’ve likely pointed fingers at the big oil companies, car manufacturers, or heavy industry. And there’s plenty of truth in that. Between 1988 and 2015, just 100 companies were responsible for 71% of global greenhouse gas emissions.
But here’s something surprising. In October 2021, research identified that small businesses are responsible for around 50% of all UK greenhouse gas emissions from businesses.
It’s clear that we need the big players to step up, but that doesn’t mean the rest of us should sit back. Even small businesses can make significant steps towards a greener future. It’s not just about government targets and morality – your customers want it too. They’re willing to pay extra for eco-friendly products and services. And that means more sales.
Large companies often rely on smaller businesses for raw materials and services like HR and marketing And, if they’re reducing Scope 3 emissions, it makes sense for you to embrace eco-friendly practices.
Prioritising sustainability sparks innovation. You could uncover better processes, create new eco-friendly products, or tap into a whole other customer base. But it’s not just about saving the planet, it’s about saving your bottom line too,
Improving energy efficiency, going paperless, and creating better working environments can cut costs and boost productivity. Plus, remember what customers are looking for – eco-friendly products and services can give you an edge over your competitors.
Green initiatives can also open doors to finance opportunities. In Barnsley, for instance, businesses can access free support and grants to invest in green innovation. Check out the Net Zero Barnsley website to learn more.
Making connections with other eco-friendly companies is one of the best ways to get started on becoming a greener business.
Like-minded businesses can help each other reduce carbon emissions, introduce innovative systems, and make improvements. You can share ideas, swap best practices, and even find ways to save money. By working together, you can inspire each other to be more sustainable.
Here’s an example. Partnering with a local supplier can cut your transport costs. It’s a win-win for both your community and your brand reputation. And it will catch the eye of eco-friendly customers who love doing business with green companies.
A wide and diverse network can be a real advantage. You can ask for advice, especially from those outside your sector, before introducing a new eco-friendly initiative. It’s all about learning and growing together.
If you’re ready to start building your green business network, it’s time to get intentional.
What’s the goal? Who do you want to meet? Where can you find them?
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
Building a greener supply chain is great, but never just take your suppliers’ word. Check their green claims, especially if you’re using them as part of your own eco-friendly claims. False claims from your supplier can even land you in trouble.
Here are some top tips:
Once you’ve found your green suppliers, it’s time to develop your service level agreement. This should include:
Green companies are attractive to both customers and employees, so share your eco-friendly efforts. It could be a story about your new green supplier. Or educating customers about sustainability and product care to extend life cycles.
Teaming up with your green business network for joint ventures and collaborative marketing is another great idea. Co-sponsoring eco-friendly events or sharing best practices and resources is a fantastic way to reach a wider audience.
Green business is big and not everyone is sharing the full story when talking about their eco-friendly credentials.
Here are a few things to keep an eye out for:
The Competitions and Markets Authority (CMA) has your back with a green claims code checklist:
By going green, small businesses can make a significant impact, benefitting both the environment and their bottom line. Building a green business network enhances this, creating collaboration and sharing best practices. But remember to stay vigilant about the authenticity of eco-friendly claims.
Get in touch with our Business Development Manager, Kevin Steel, to learn about Barnsley businesses working towards net zero.