Driving sustainability in your business: top tips

Heart of the City | 12 October 2023 | News
Driving sustainability in your business: top tips

Experts and members came together to explore the most effective actions that businesses can take to drive positive climate action. Focused on practical and achievable activities that have made a difference for our members, here are their tried and tested top tips from our environmental workshop discussion:

Carbon footprint

  • If you haven’t started measuring your carbon footprint yet, it’s best to use the previous year for your baseline, as taking your baseline from the COVID period might not be reflective of your footprint.
  • As an SME, if you’re able to show that you’re taking reasonable steps to reduce and measure your carbon footprint then that’s a really great story to be sharing with your customers and clients .
  • Small businesses can compete with larger suppliers by having accurate carbon footprint data, rather than using ‘proxy’ figures which  tend to be higher than unique measurements.
  • Don’t get stuck on making sure everything is perfect. Get your data first, then focus on quality, and look to reduce.

How to get people involved on the sustainability journey

  • Think about how you’re communicating and engaging with your team. Instructing people about change is not as effective as interactive communication and activities. Think about starting a committee, running workshops, sourcing peoples’ ideas and ensuring that your team are part of the decision-making process. As a small business, it’s much easier to do than a larger organisation.
  • Explaining ‘why’ you’re doing something is important. Use positive and hopeful communication, which is more impactful and authentic than fear-based communication.
  • Show how the ‘little’ things you’re doing all feed into your company’s wider mission.
  • Fun and food is key – invite people along to meeting and entice them with food!

 Introduction to biodiversity

  • This is a relatively new area for most businesses. Please see our handy introductory guide to biodiversity for SMEs.
  • All businesses, regardless of size, have buying power and influence. Use your pound to make sure you’re making a positive impact on the planet.
  • If you’re thinking about buying carbon offsets, why not think about how offsetting can be used to positively impact biodiversity.
  • Each local authority will have a biodiversity plan. If you want to take action but don’t know what to do, make sure to tie in with your local authority’s biodiversity plan so that you can complement the work they’re doing.

Our thanks goes to Matthew Sparkes, Sustainability Director at Linklaters, Jessica Hardy, David Miller Architects’ Studio Manager, and Joanna Leyden, Waste Strategy and Biodiversity Group Manager at the City of London Corporation, who helped steer the conversation for our members.

If you’re interested in joining events like these, take a look at our Foundations for Responsible Business programme.

Get monthly updates