At Heart of the City, we’ve slowly been re-introducing our in-person events whilst also continuing to maximise the reach we can have through our online sessions. Over the past few weeks we had three in-person events and it felt good to be back in the room! And as always, we couldn’t have done it without the support of our ambassadors.
Tuesday 21 March was our networking event, kindly hosted at CBRE’s BREEAM excellent scored building. It was a great space to bring together our SMEs, from our Foundations for Responsible Business programme and our Climate for SMEs: 4 Steps to Action course, with responsible business experts from across our ambassador network.
There was time for networking and opportunities to join conversations hosted by our ambassadors on topics including how best to support our people and communities during an economic crisis and how to reach net zero. The room was full of good conversations and a shared passion for responsible business and sustainability.
On Thursday 23 March, at Linklaters, we brought together a group of our ambassadors from CSR, sustainability and procurement teams to discuss how to support SMEs within their supply chains. One of our members spoke to them about the challenges they face in working with corporate clients in meeting the requests of sustainability and procurement teams whilst trying to keep costs low.
It was a really valuable conversation with lots of ideas for how bigger businesses can better support the SMEs in their supply chains to achieve shared ESG goals. The outcome for now is to host more sessions like this to convene procurement and sustainability professionals with the SMEs we support and if you’re interested to join these conversations, please do let us know.
Later that day we hosted our first ‘carbon footprint sense check’ event, for want of a catchier title! We know through our climate course that for SMEs, measuring your first carbon footprint can be tricky for a business of any size and for SMEs with limited time, resource and expertise, feeling confident in their data is often a stumbling block.
The SMEs on our course are doing a great job at measuring their first footprint and are committed to measuring as much as possible, as accurately as possible, but we’re finding that they’re often reluctant to finish it and move onto setting their reduction action plan. Although we reassure them that measurements will get better over time, they sometimes need reassurance that they are on the right track or that their data looks sensible, so that is what the event was all about.
Three fantastic ambassador volunteers from ISS Coflex gave up their afternoon to speak to some of our SME members and looks through their data, not to confirm if it was correct or not, but to sense check, answer questions and help keep them on track. It was a really helpful event and one we plan to repeat.
It was a great week for events and ambassador support, and we want to say a big thank you to everyone that hosted or attended an event, facilitated table conversations and supported our SMEs on their responsible business and net zero journeys.