Hybrid or fully electric pool cars, cycling to work initiatives and moving computer servers to Cloud-based systems are just some of the ways businesses can make a start on cutting their carbon emissions.
Taunton-based health insurance company WPA (Western Provident Association) have already adopted all three measures, as well as ensuring computers are not left on standby, installing low energy lighting and even planting a wildflower meadow to both reduce and offset the company’s carbon footprint.
Brian Goodman, MD of WPA’s Major Corporate Division, outlined a raft of measures the company had already taken and was planning to take in the future as part of its ongoing net zero strategy at an event hosted by Somerset Chamber of Commerce and chartered accountants Albert Goodman to outline the business benefits of carbon neutrality.
Mr Goodman said businesses could no longer rely on writing ‘a couple of paragraphs’ outlining ideas to be greener as detailed strategies were becoming crucial to winning contracts, retaining staff and reducing costs.
Sophie Parkhouse, a Partner at Albert Goodman, explained: “Your people, customers, lenders, supply chain – all these people are thinking about sustainability, so it’s important you think about sustainability, too, in order to remain relevant.”
She gave examples of businesses such as Tesco, which wanted proof from suppliers about sustainability strategies and said businesses needed to be taking action now – from switching to renewable energy supplies, to changing their boiler systems ahead of gas boilers being phased out and creating less waste.
“Banks are already discussing with their business clients what they are doing to hit decarbonisation targets. I wouldn’t be surprised if they offer lower lending rates for businesses with better carbon neutrality. It’s not happened yet, but I think it will happen,” she said.
The UK has committed to making all its greenhouse gas emissions net zero by 2050, meaning emissions must be balanced by schemes to offset the equivalent amount of greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
A survey carried out by Somerset Chamber of Commerce found that only half of respondents had
started working towards net zero, while more than 28% of firms said hitting net zero targets was not a priority, while just 10 per cent of businesses cited cost savings as a reason for being more green.
Alistair Tudor, Somerset Chamber of Commerce’s Operations Manager, said: “Businesses can often find that there are significant positive effects from working towards net zero. These can include cost and efficiency savings, support for recruitment efforts or company profile and the ability to be competitive in tender processes.
“However, it’s clear businesses need more support if the UK is going to achieve its plans to become net zero by 2050.”
Pictured on main page: from left, are Emma Rawlings, Executive Director of Somerset Chamber of Commerce, Sophie Parkhouse, Partner at Albert Goodman, Brian Goodman, MD of WPA’s Major Corporate Division and Alistair Tudor, Operations Manager at Somerset Chamber of Commerce.