‘What does it mean to ‘go green’ in business?’
There’s a lot of jargon around to describe what it means to ‘go green’ or be more ‘sustainable’. We want to help you cut through the noise and understand what it’s all about, and how you can play your part in reducing the impact you make on the environment, through exploring all the aspects of how you run and conduct your business. Whether you are home based, trade from a shop, office or unit base, there are may ways you can help to do your bit for the planet, as well as improve your profitability, increase your customer base and brand perception.
Through our workshops, expert one-to-one advice, and access to leading market data, we can help you realise the part your business can play in combatting climate change and the business benefits of green growth. You would be surprised at the small changes you can make that all help to make a difference.
What exactly is a ‘green’ business?
A green business can be one of two things:
- You develop environmentally friendly products or provide environmentally friendly services. For example, reuseable cups, recycled plastic product or an electric bike delivery service.
- Your products and services aren’t necessarily environmentally friendly, but you do everything you can to reduce their environmental impact. For example, you source materials and services from other green businesses, use low-carbon or renewable energy to power your buildings and processes, and use recyclable packaging wherever possible to reduce waste.
Why does it matter to me?
Customers are increasingly more conscious of the impact their spend has on the environment and this is driving businesses to respond, whether that’s ensuring their products are developed and packaged using sustainable materials or changing the way services are delivered to minimise impact. Market intelligence shows consumer trends in more conscious purchasing, meaning businesses need to adapt to their customer’s demands and see the opportunities to attract more sales by adopting greener business practices.
Consumers’ top five most important environmentally sustainable or ethical practices are:
- Producing sustainable packaging and products
- Reducing waste in manufacturing process
- Committing to ethical working practices
- Reducing carbon footprint
- Respect for human rights
Source: Deloitte: How consumers are embracing sustainability study, June 2022 – https://www2.deloitte.com/uk/en/pages/consumer-business/articles/sustainable-consumer.html
Previous economic growth and profit-centred business models have led to our current state of rapid climate change, which is having severe consequences across the world. In the UK, there is increased risk of coastal flooding, warmer temperatures, and more frequent and intense storms.
Nearly 1 in 3 commercial properties in the UK are at risk from flooding. (Aviva)
This increased risk affects internal business operations, transport of goods and supply chains. We are therefore all at risk from the effects of climate change and have a part to play in reducing the impact of our businesses.
So, how can I grow my business in a planet-friendly way?
There is a new type of business growth – green growth! In a nutshell, this is all about becoming more aware of the environmental impact of your business, taking steps to reduce it and being rewarded with the associated benefits. This is the business growth mechanism of the future and will ensure you stay ahead of the curve.
How do I go green?
There is no ‘one size fits all’ approach and this is where your creativity comes in. We are all learning together and the best approach is to work collaboratively and share information. Here are some ideas to consider:
The equivalent of 5 rubbish bags of plastic from every foot of coastline around the world, is released into the oceans every year. (National Geographic)
Engage employees, customers and suppliers
Green Business Inspiration
Examples of what other businesses are doing to go ‘green’:
How we can help you?
Join our newsletter to receive updates about upcoming free green business events and workshops.
Book a market research session to access MINTEL market data and gain insight into customer attitudes towards green business.
Listen to our Podcast to hear about green growth and sustainability from our experts and businesses that have been on this business journey.
Speak with one of our experts for one-to-one advice:
Greenstreet is an exciting new project we are piloting with businesses in the East End of Newcastle in early 2023. Greenstreet has been piloted in Bradford www.greenstreet.org.uk and we looking to work with 20 – 25 businesses in and around the main high street areas of the East End of the city to help them:
– identify ways they can improve their environmental impact (this could be anything from reducing energy use/cost, waste, water to products and materials)
– help the businesses to achieve green and sustainable improvements
– support businesses to trial new ideas and invest in improvements that will have a positive environmental impact by providing grant support to fully-fund trialling new ideas or to contribute towards larger investments.
– look at ways the businesses can collaborate (anything from shared resources, i.e recycle bins, waste products and surpluses etc)
– use their green credentials to grow their customer base (using the Greenstreet brand to identify being a ‘green’ business)
These are just some of the ways we will look to work with local businesses. We will have a small grant to help with testing things out, investing in changes that help make the business operate or provide products or services in a more sustainable way. We are also hoping to get on board some businesses that are really doing great things in this area who can act as a role model, share their knowledge and experience and help others along too.
If you would be interested in participating in Greenstreet, please register your details on the Greenstreet website here – https://greenstreet.org.uk/join-us/ At this stage this is just an expression of interest, rather than a firm commitment from you.
We’re likely to kick off with a social meet up, probably in early January, to talk in more detail and give you an idea of timescales so that you can make a better informed decision as to whether you’d like to participate.
Any further questions?
Please get in touch at email@example.com if you have any questions. If we can’t advise, we will point you in the right direction of someone who can.
If you’re interested in a free energy audit and potential grant funding towards the capital costs of energy saving measures, please see the Business Energy Saving Programme (BEST).
Our green retail expert, Victoria Robertshaw, has co-created the GreenStreet website and a useful ‘Planet Friendly Guide’ with further ideas on how to green your business.
If you are a Newcastle-based business, please visit Newcastle City Council’s Net Zero: Business support page for further information on support available.