"Without Heart of the City we wouldn't really know what we were doing"



The Lift Consultancy, a vertical transportation services company based in the City are on a journey to net zero thanks to the mentoring programme we’re running with Grosvenor for the small and medium businesses (SMEs) in their supply chain.

Since the Lift Consultancy started the programme in March 2022, they’ve made some great achievements, so we spoke to them about the journey they’ve been on to reduce their environmental impact this year.

Business administrator Ellie Leslie, manages the company’s day to day responsible business activities, working alongside one of the directors, Gabriel Murray. She found the first part of our climate action toolkit, jargon busting and demystification, really useful, telling us that at this point “I knew absolutely nothing, I was working from the ground up.”

They started working with us because Grosvenor asked them to take part, but they’re one of many clients asking for environmental credential in tenders – they’re finding more and more frequently that they need to meet certain standards to get new work. Because of this, net zero was already important to the Lift Consultancy, and they were pleased that Grosvenor asked them to join us.

Starting small

The Lift Consultancy have started making changes to how they work by focusing on the quick wins first. These include recycling properly with correctly labelled bins, being as paperless as possible and changing how they work online. Ellie has learnt lots of facts at our sessions, like how blurring your background on Teams reduces your digital emissions, so they’re making a branded template for everyone to use that explains that. And they’re encouraging talking more and emailing less – if someone’s in the office, go and ask them the questions instead of typing it!

So far, Ellie’s biggest challenge in this area has been getting rid of individual bins in the office as people are reluctant. She’s hoping to encourage people through the other small changes they’re making will convince people it’s a good idea – otherwise she’s getting in early one day to take them away!

Going electric

The nature of the Lift Consultancy’s work means they have consultants travelling around to sites a lot. Three of them now have electric cars for that, and if it works well for them the business plans to replace all company cars with electric ones. They’ve also started consolidating site inspections, so people are making fewer journeys. So far, the three consultants are very happy with their new cars and reduced travel – Ellie says this has been a really great way to educate people about the climate crisis and bring employees on their net zero journey. They plan to do more education sessions as a result, such as working from home sustainably.

Getting their baseline

The Lift Consultancy have finished measuring your carbon footprint, which was completely new to Ellie. “I found it really daunting at first”, she said, “when we were first doing the workshops I was thinking, ‘there’s no way I can manage this’”.

But she did. She used the Q&A sessions to ask the experts, learnt the maths and alongside lots of Googling and working with our net zero programme manager Laura, Ellie did it. She’s measured the Lift Consultancy’s carbon footprint and now has a baseline, so she feels in a good position to start actioning things. It also means when they measure their footprint next year, they’ll be able to see how they’re improving and getting closer to their net zero target.

Feeling motivated together

“There’s no way I would have got this done on my own”, says Ellie, who’s found it inspiring to have a network and be in a community of people all in a similar position on their net zero journey.

She said that just talking about their plans, challenges and achievements out loud has made things less daunting. And the fact that everyone is working towards the same thing in a similar timeframe is motivating. The online sessions coming up means Ellie has a deadline, which she finds helpful: “If I was doing this at my own pace, probably only half of this would have been done by now.”

That’s because working towards net zero alongside another job is difficult – a lot of SMEs tell us it’s easy to prioritise other tasks. But by being part of a course with other people, Ellie says “it does remind you that this is a priority too.” It’s something that Ellie works on every day now, for about an hour, to make sure the Lift Consultancy can reach their target.

Challenges along the way

Ellie hasn’t found any resistance within the company to the changes they’re making (apart from the bin issue!). All the directors and senior management are on board and are part of the process, so there’s no struggle for Ellie there. But she did find it difficult to get information she needs from their building manager, which made measuring their carbon footprint trickier. The Lift Consultancy is a tenant in a shared building, so she didn’t have some information available to her. Ellie found that persistence was key here. She explained to the building manager the importance of getting this information, and got more senior people in the business involved in asking for it.

As a result of this challenge, the changes they’ve initially made at the Lift Consultancy have been because it’s been within their power to change, such as site-based and working from home improvements. When they’ve come across issues they can’t currently address, they’ve looked at what they can change elsewhere to make up for it.

As the Lift Consultancy comes to the end of our mentoring programme with Grosvenor, they’re on track to reach their net zero goals. We’re really proud of them for how far they’ve come this year, and we can’t wait to help them go even further!

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