How to Bring People on Your Company’s Net Zero Journey With You

It’s Climate Action Week and our colleagues from the Heart of the City have produced a blog for us to showcase how you can bring people on your company’s journey to net zero! London Climate Action Week is about harnessing the power of London as a leading global climate hub and how the whole of the society can come together and drive climate action.

You might remember seeing the news during last year’s COP26 that by 2023, big UK companies will need to publicly set out a plan for how they’ll reach net zero by 2050.

That’s the big businesses though – what about small and medium businesses (SMEs)? At Heart of the City, we’re advising our SMEs to get working on a net zero plan now. Even though they won’t be required to have a plan like this, it’s good sense to have it. Showing a plan to reach net zero will help you to:

  • Win new business
  • Be ready if the big businesses who’s supply chain you’re in keep your current contracts – lots of bigger businesses are asking the smaller businesses in their supply chains to show net zero plans
  • Attract great people to work with you

We talked more about the business case for going green on the SBREC blog a few months ago. So now you’re clear on why and how you can make your business more sustainable, we wanted to talk about how you can make sure you’re not doing it alone.

At Heart of the City we guide SMEs on all areas of responsible business (such as diversity and inclusion, mental health and wellbeing and supporting your community) and our advice is always this: it works better if you’ve got people on your side. It’s no different with net zero, climate action and sustainability. You’ll see much more success on your journey to net zero if your colleagues and employees join you.

But how do you engage them in that? We think it’s about communicating your long-term carbon reduction goals and net zero targets, and showing people how, as employees, they’re contributing to that. Here are our top tips for doing that:

  • Ask people to measure their own carbon footprint. This’ll hopefully get people thinking about how they can reduce it, such as cycling to work or switching to a green energy provider. As a result, this’ll impact your company’s carbon footprint, as it takes into account things like employee commuting or people’s working from home emissions.
  • Give people the right equipment – at home and in your workplace. Energy efficient computers, ergonomic chairs and proper desks will help people understand the importance of working efficiently and healthily. That might make them think more about using devices sustainably, such as using energy saving modes and switching things off when they’re not using them.
  • Maintain a culture of sustainability through workshops, events and initiatives. A team steps challenge will probably get people commuting more sustainably, a meat-free cooking class will introduce more people to plant-based cooking and an ‘ugly jumper day’ could encourage people to have the heating on less when working from home.

Once you start doing things like this, you’ll start to build up a bank of good stories to tell, and this will only encourage more and more people to join you! People will be inspired by what their peers are doing, and will want to start working more sustainably too. These powerful stories are great for internal communications and can also be used externally, to showcase how well you’re doing as a sustainable SME, so it’s win-win!

*We strive to do our best when supporting small business and their growth. Our business databases can give you information and data that can help you with advertising, market research, company information, and industry factsheets. If you have already taken the plunge, we would love for you to join us at a seminar, our workshops cover digital marketing, business model canvas and planning, demystifying taxes and intellectual property to name a few. Visit our events page or website for more information.

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