Sustainability in business: Building a sustainable company

Jan 30, 2024Net Zero

Green leaves against a background of an office building

 

In an era where climate change is at the forefront of global concerns, companies must be doing more to become eco-friendly, develop sustainability measures and adopt sustainable practices to reduce their carbon footprints. It’s estimated that in the UK, 25% of emissions come from business and industry.

The responsibility lies not only with individuals but also with corporations to contribute towards a greener and more environmentally friendly future. Not only does it have a positive impact on the planet, but in many instances, the ROI means unlocking cost savings that come with sustainability. Like with most things, the biggest challenge is getting started.

Utilligence joined the Future Net Zero Standard, as part of our own green measures. Whatever the nature of your business, here’s some ways to get started on your own path to a sustainable business.

  1. Conduct a carbon footprint assessment:

One of the initial steps for a sustainable business is to conduct a thorough carbon footprint assessment. This involves evaluating the amount of greenhouse gas emissions generated by various aspects of the business, such as energy consumption, transportation, and waste. Many online tools and consultants are available to assist in this process. Utilligence invested in becoming ISO 14001 certified, to help us to develop a framework to constantly refine and improve our sustainability as we grow as a company.

  1. Embrace renewable energy sources:

Of course, this is close to our heart and a big part of what we do. We help multiple companies, housing developers and more to deliver carbon-neutral power to the grid. From connecting wind and solar farms, to our own solar business, Palau Solar, we believe it’s one of the best ways to help secure a cleaner, greener and more efficient future for us all.

An increasing number of industrial sites and large distribution centres now feature wind turbines, plug in charging for their fleets of electric vehicles, ground or air source heating and solar panels on their roofs. It’s also a measure that offers several financial incentives and tax breaks for businesses adopting clean energy solutions. The full list of current government grants available for these initiatives is here.

  1. Implement energy efficiency measures:

Improving energy efficiency within your premises can significantly reduce your carbon footprint. Consider upgrading to energy-efficient appliances, lighting, and HVAC systems. The Carbon Trust provides guidance and financial support to help businesses identify and implement energy-saving measures.

  1. Encourage sustainable commuting:

Promote sustainable commuting options among your employees. Encourage cycling, walking, or the use of public transport. The Cycle to Work scheme, backed by the government, allows businesses to provide bicycles to employees at a reduced cost, promoting a healthier lifestyle while reducing carbon emissions.

If you use company vehicles or a company car scheme, switch to EVs and offer charging on site at your work locations. Some company car schemes even include installation of a charging point at your employee’s homes as part of the package. More and more EV charging points are being installed in and around the UK, making EV ownership easier than ever.

  1. Build a sustainable supply chain:

Evaluate and optimise your supply chain for sustainability. Work with suppliers who share your commitment to reducing environmental impact. In 20203, the UK government launched the UK Business Climate Hub to support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to enhance their energy efficiency, including supply chain improvements.

  1. Waste reduction and recycling programmes:

Implement comprehensive waste reduction and recycling programmes, as part of your sustainable business measures. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), supported by the UK government, offers resources and tools to help businesses minimise waste and improve recycling efforts.

  1. Prioritise sustainable business partnerships:

Evaluate your business partnerships and supply chain to ensure alignment with sustainability goals. Prioritise collaborating with suppliers and service providers who share your commitment to reducing environmental impact. By building relationships with eco-conscious partners, your business can collectively contribute to a greener and more sustainable industry.

  1. Green building certification:

If applicable, consider obtaining green building certifications such as BREEAM (Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method). This certification validates your commitment to sustainable building practices.

  1. Engage employees in sustainability initiatives:

Develop a culture of environmental responsibility amongst your employees. From lunch and learn awareness sessions, to adding extra recycling bins for everyone, there are many ways to get your whole company involved in building a sustainable business. Training sessions and employee engagement should become a part of your company’s DNA.

  1. Stay informed and engage with government incentives:

Regularly check for updates on government incentives and initiatives that support sustainable business practices. The UK government periodically introduces new schemes and funding opportunities to encourage businesses to adopt environmentally friendly measures.

It’s not too late to start making your business sustainable

Reducing carbon footprints is not just a responsibility, but an opportunity for UK businesses to lead by example in the global transition to a sustainable future.

By incorporating these steps and tapping into government initiatives, businesses can make a positive impact on the environment while also benefiting from cost savings and improved corporate reputation. The time for action is now, and together, businesses can pave the way for a greener tomorrow.