Suffolk Carbon Leaders: Greening medium-sized businesses
Suffolk in ‘greenest county’ bid
Suffolk County Council has set the ambitious goal of becoming the greenest county. As a step towards achieving this aim the council have provided funding to support 170 medium-sized businesses across Suffolk through the Suffolk Carbon Leaders programme to reduce their carbon footprint.
Despite only comprising 2% of organisations in the county, medium-sized businesses contribute 20% of private sector turnover and employ 20% of the private sector workforce in Suffolk; there is significant scope to make an impact. However, medium-sized businesses often struggle with a lack of internal resources to design a sustainability programme and capital to implement it. There are various government funding streams that can help with carbon reduction programmes, but these are largely underutilised by these businesses.
Medium businesses receive tailored support
Suffolk County Council selected Carbon Smart to deliver support to these businesses due to our long history of SME support and our success in management of large environment programmes. The two-year programme began in January 2014, and by April Carbon Smart had recruited over 50 businesses to the programme.
For the businesses involved, we offer one-on-one consultancy with one of our team. We calculate a carbon footprint and identify areas where businesses can make reductions through resource efficiency and engagement.
With a wide breadth of experience Carbon Smart’s consultants have been able to give tailored advice to a plethora of businesses from foundries, to mushroom farms, to leisure centres, to call centres. Once the potential savings and investment costs of different measures have been presented we work with our clients to help them put the action plans into practice. We take practical steps, such as obtaining quotes from suppliers, providing technical guidance for lighting and renewable energy generation, and applying for funding and finance to support the businesses in making these investments.
Participants in the programme achieve certification through the Suffolk Carbon Charter, providing recognition of their endeavours and a great marketing opportunity.
Cost savings exceed £1million
So far in the programme Carbon Smart’s consultants have identified potential carbon savings of over 3,000 tonnes of carbon and potential cost savings for the businesses of over £1,000,000. A number of funding applications have been made and several of the businesses have already begun to implement their action plans, installing resource efficient technologies and initiating building upgrades.
Click here to read about our work with one of these businesses.
In addition to the direct consultancy, the Carbon Smart team is working to establish a strong network of green businesses throughout Suffolk so that the culture changes we are starting now will be sustained into the future.
‘’Carbon Smart have brought their own experience and enthusiasm to the challenge we set them of transforming the business environment in Suffolk. Just 4 months in, we’re already seeing the benefits with a huge amount of interest and some very positive feedback. They’ve met our expectations and more, and I look forward to building on the early successes over the rest of the project.’’