As COP26 comes to a close, many of us will be wondering what more we can do to tackle climate change.
As well as being the forum for governments to debate the way forward, it’s sparked wider discussions on the changes we all need to make.
Governments alone won’t solve the problem. Companies have a huge role to play too. Many businesses in Wales have already pledged action as part of the All Wales Plan to reach net zero or the UK Business Climate Hub (which also has useful tips on cutting emissions). Others have also added their voices to the Climate Cymru campaign, which is calling for strong commitments from government.
So what can your business do right now to make a difference? Whether you run a snack bar, solicitor’s or a steel plant, here are some key ways you can take action.
1. Tackle your energy use
At 29% of Wales’ emissions, our energy supply pumps out more greenhouse gases than any other sector – higher than transport or agriculture.
Fortunately, there’s plenty your business can do.
Switching to a green tariff will support renewables, but how about cutting how much energy you use too?
A survey by the Carbon Trust shows that 80% of SMEs in the UK are taking action on energy efficiency, with installation of LED lighting the most popular measure.
According to Business Wales, heating accounts for about half the energy used in offices. It also provides a guide to saving energy, starting with checking the building is insulated as thoroughly as possible.
One business that’s taken action on energy is Cardiff restaurant Kindle, which has installed sheep’s wool insulation and sensor controlled lighting.
2. Train your staff to be ‘Carbon Literate’
Cutting your emissions isn’t always easy. This is where Carbon Literacy training comes in.
The course helps learners understand how climate change will affect them, and develop knowledge and skills to lower their carbon footprint.
One Welsh business that’s already benefitted is the country’s largest motor retail group, Sinclair Group. Nine senior representatives from the company recently took part, building on the firm’s existing work to cut emissions such as installing solar panels and switching to renewable energy providers.
Since doing the training, the managers have made a pledge, including giving customers access to electric courtesy cars and investing in ethical pension funds.
If you’re interested in getting your staff certified in carbon literacy, then check out our courses!
3. Protect and restore nature
We’re facing a nature crisis – one in six species in Wales is at risk of extinction – yet nature holds many of the solutions to global heating.
For example, trees absorb carbon from the atmosphere and lock it up for centuries. According to the Woodland Trust, a young wood with mixed native species can lock up 400+ tonnes of carbon per hectare.
Peatlands are another important carbon sink. Globally, they store more than double the amount of carbon than the world’s forests. Draining and digging peat up to use as garden compost however causes it to break down with time, releasing the stored carbon dioxide and methane.
One example of a firm taking action is Cardiff-based Orchard Media & Events Group, which has partnered with Coed Hills Rural Artspace, to create its own ‘Orchard’ within the existing eco-friendly community.
Your business can help too. Perhaps you can seek advice on how to create, protect or restore habitats on any land you own or manage, or switch to using or promoting peat-free compost? The Nature Wise toolkit is a great place to start.
By signing up for our Nature Wise programme, you and your staff can learn more and get support with developing your own nature action plan.
4. Pay the real Living Wage
Making the shift to low carbon will mean some big changes, and it’s important that this change is fair to everyone, including those in high emitting industries or on low pay.
One thing your business can do is sign up to be a real Living Wage employer. Earning a real Living Wage helps people to make choices – with the food they buy, the gas and energy they use. This helps people to participate in being part of the solution to tackling climate change – mentally, physically and economically.
Ready to act?
Have these ideas inspired you to do more in your business to tackle climate change?
We’re here to help turn your sustainability aims into action, providing advice, training and connections – so please get in touch if you’re ready to take the next step.