Published
February 6, 2018

5 tips to become a thriving low-carbon business in Scotland

How can businesses become low-carbon and more sustainable? Here are 5 top tips from Scotland’s 2020 Climate Group.

Our vision is a stable, sustainable Scottish economy that supports Scotland’s ambitions as a world-leading low carbon country.

At the heart of this are businesses who understand the competitive advantage that comes with operating in a climate-friendly, sustainable way, as well as individuals who demonstrate leadership in the decarbonisation of both their business and their sector.

Below are 5 tips we recommend businesses – and business leaders – take in order to thrive in an economic environment that favours low carbon and sustainable business.

 

1. Become low carbon

What?

Reducing the amount of carbon dioxide produced by your business, whether during your day-to-operations, in the production of your raw materials, or as a result of your energy supply.

Why?

To reduce costs, particularly in relation to energy bills; increase resilience to energy supply fluctuations; increase competitive edge; appeal to emerging markets; increase profits.

How?

Switch to renewable energy supplier, invest in renewables, source low-carbon raw materials and undertake carbon accounting.

Who?

Carbon Trust Scotland – tailored energy saving support to Scottish companies and public bodies.

Energy Savings Trust – providing expert energy solutions for businesses.

 

2. Be resource efficient

What?

Using resources – such as raw materials, water, energy, packaging or transport – in the most efficient way possible.

Why?

To minimises waste; minimise costs; save time; benefits of leanness; increase profits.

How?

Measure what you use, identify where savings could be made, and then take action on everything from energy efficiency and water use to raw materials, packaging and transport. See if you can integrate circular economy thinking into your operations.

Who?

Resource Efficient Scotland – Free, tailored advice for Scottish SMEs to help businesses to reduce their waste, whether its materials or energy. Check out their SME loan with 30% cashback to help you become energy efficient, or take their Resource Efficiency Pledge by choosing 3 actions to take in the next 12 months with their support.

Changeworks – helps organisations minimise business and domestic waste and reduce their impact on the environment.

 

3. Make sustainability everyone’s responsibility 

Image © Scotland’s 2050 Climate Group, marking the launch of the 2nd year of their Young Leaders Development Programme

What?

For the whole organisation to be sustainable, everyone needs to be on board. Ensure all staff in the organisation know what sustainability is and understand how they contribute to it.

Why?

Unsustainable businesses are wasteful – and fall out of favour with customers. It takes committed leadership to integrate sustainability and low-carbon into business operations, and requires buy-in from all leaders in an organisation, not just those at the very top. Invest time in learning how to do sustainable business well, nurture that skill in other key members of staff, and ensure everyone understands sustainability.

How?

Give all staff an opportunity how to be sustainable within their own role. Set sustainability targets and ensure all staff know how to achieve them.

Who?

Carbon Trust Scotland – provides advice organisational engagement.

Resource Efficient Scotland provides free Green Champions training to help staff learn how to improve resource efficiency.

2050 Climate Group run a Young Leaders Development Programme to develop climate change awareness and leadership skills in the next generation of Scottish leaders.

 

4. Adapt to the changing climate

What?

The social, environmental and economic landscapes we live in are changing – both as a consequence of climate change, and as a response to it. Knowing what these changes are and how they will affect your business will help you to adapt and thrive in the future.

Why?

Climate change brings risks to businesses – such as flooding – as well as opportunities. Planning for how your business will adapt to these changes give you the best possible chance of succeeding in the future and avoiding unexpected suprises.

How?

Find out about climate trends and projections in Scotland and then ask is your business is climate ready? Look at your premises, your staff, the market, your finances, your processes and your logistics.

Who?

Adaption Scotland – provides advice and support to help businesses, the public sector and communities be prepared and resilient to the effects of climate change by planning for the impact – taking the opportunities and preparing for the risks.

 

5. Learn from other businesses

What?

Lots of businesses operating in Scotland do low carbon and sustainability well, and gain competitive advantage from doing so. Learning from them will help yours succeed.

Why?

Scottish Government’s 2017 draft Climate Change Plan set targets that will affect all businesses, including an aim to cut greenhouse gas emissions by 66% by 2032.

Learning how other businesses have become more sustainable gives you a better understanding of how your business can do the same.

How?

Read case studies of other businesses who are reducing their carbon footprint and their waste, then share your own.

Who?

Carbon Trust Scotland, Energy Savings Trust, Resource Efficiency Scotland and Changeworks have a wealth of case studies of businesses that have changed their operations to reduce their carbon footprint, be more resource efficient, and increase the sustainability of their business.

Resource Efficiency Scotland also has a green network for business with case studies and contact with other organisations nearby who are making improvements to their operations.

 

Have you got any more tips? Tweet us at @2020ClimateGrp