Small businesses play an essential role in the UK economy, and it’s essential that they take steps to become more sustainable. According to a study by Barclays, 87% of UK SMEs believe that sustainability is important, but only 51% are taking steps to be more sustainable. In this blog article, we will explore some practical steps that small businesses in the UK can take to become more sustainable.
- Reduce Energy Consumption
Energy consumption is a major expense for many small businesses, and it’s also a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Reducing energy consumption can help small businesses save money and reduce their environmental impact. Here are some practical ways to reduce energy consumption:
- Upgrade to energy-efficient lighting
- Install motion sensors and timers to control lighting and heating
- Use energy-efficient equipment and appliances
- Turn off equipment when not in use
- Conduct an energy audit to identify areas of waste
- Reduce Waste
Small businesses can generate a lot of waste, and much of it ends up in landfill. Reducing waste can help small businesses save money on disposal costs and reduce their environmental impact. Here are some practical ways to reduce waste:
- Use reusable cups and plates instead of disposable ones
- Use digital invoices and receipts instead of paper ones
- Recycle paper, cardboard, and plastic
- Use refillable ink cartridges
- Buy products with minimal packaging
- Use Sustainable Materials
Small businesses can make a significant impact by choosing sustainable materials. This can include using recycled paper, sustainable wood, and organic cotton. By choosing sustainable materials, small businesses can reduce their environmental impact and support sustainable production methods.
- Encourage Sustainable Transport
Many small businesses rely on transport to deliver products and services, but transport can be a significant contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. Encouraging sustainable transport can help small businesses reduce their environmental impact. Here are some practical ways to encourage sustainable transport:
- Encourage employees to cycle or walk to work
- Provide secure bike storage
- Encourage carpooling
- Use electric vehicles for deliveries
- Take Advantage of Government Grants
The UK government provides grants and funding to help small businesses become more sustainable. These grants can help cover the costs of implementing sustainable practices and upgrading equipment to be more energy-efficient. Here are some examples of grants available to small businesses:
- The Carbon Trust Green Business Fund – This fund provides up to £10,000 for small businesses to implement energy-saving projects.
- The Sustainable Innovation Fund – This fund provides up to £500,000 for small businesses to develop and demonstrate new products and services that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- The Energy Efficiency Grant – This grant provides up to £5,000 for small businesses to implement energy-efficient measures, such as upgrading heating systems and insulation.
To be eligible for these grants, small businesses must meet certain criteria, such as being registered in the UK and having a turnover below a certain threshold. Small businesses should also be prepared to provide evidence of their environmental impact and the potential benefits of implementing sustainable practices.
By taking advantage of these government grants, you can reduce the costs of implementing sustainable practices and accelerate their journey towards becoming more environmentally friendly. It’s worth noting that the availability and criteria for government grants may change over time, so you should always check the latest information on government websites to ensure they are eligible and up to date with any application deadlines.
Examples of UK businesses that have become more sustainable
The Co-op has been a leader in sustainability in the UK. They have committed to sourcing all of their products sustainably and have set a target to become carbon neutral by 2040. They have also launched a range of compostable carrier bags and have reduced the amount of plastic in their packaging.
Innocent Drinks has been committed to sustainability since its inception. They have set a target to become carbon neutral by 2022 and have reduced the amount of plastic in their packaging. They have also committed to using only sustainably sourced ingredients and have launched a range of vegan products.
Patagonia is a US-based company that has been operating in the UK for many years. They have a strong commitment to sustainability and have launched a range of sustainable products. They have also committed to using only organic cotton and have reduced their environmental impact by using recycled materials in their products.
Small businesses in the UK can take practical steps to become more sustainable. By reducing energy consumption, reducing waste, using sustainable materials, and encouraging sustainable transport, small businesses can reduce their environmental impact and save money. By following the examples of businesses like The Co-op, Innocent Drinks, and Patagonia, small businesses in the UK can make a significant impact on sustainability.