Myself and Bethan both attended a recent thought provoking Somerset Business Summit facilitated by Somerset County Council about the declared Climate Emergency. This outlined the Council’s strategy which is supported and endorsed by all the local authorities, which aims to make Somerset carbon neutral and more resilient to climate change by 2030. This has to be taken seriously by all businesses, as apart from being a good ambition, I think our customers and clients will increasingly want to see that we are taking appropriate measures, and will begin to make choices based on a company’s green credentials.
At the meeting we heard from businesses large and small who are already taking steps to reduce their carbon footprint, and all the speakers provided a positive outlook on the initiatives they were implementing. The point which came across strongly is that there will be impacts of making step change but also opportunities and we should not automatically think that ‘going green’ is going to increase costs as many simple measures such as reducing waste, energy use, and perhaps using conference or video calls instead of attending all those meetings in person will make us more efficient and reduce costs. There is also the opportunity for new markets in our various sectors which we probably haven’t even identified yet.
There were two phrases which I thought summed up what we all need to do: ‘Find Small Changes to Produce Big Impacts’ and ‘Make Green Normal’.
The County Council are being proactive and are providing a Business Toolkit to provide advice, guidance and links to best practice, and perhaps more importantly they are setting up a Grant Scheme to help businesses implement initiatives that will reduce energy use and carbon emissions.
The grants are limited to between £500 to £1,000 and need to be match funded by the applicants on a 50/50 basis, but it is a start. The grants will be available from April this year until March 2021, but there is a limit on the total fund available so I would suggest that you look into this sooner rather than later.
In the workshop that followed, Business Partnering and sharing best practice seemed to feature strongly, and that is definitely an area where the Chamber can help by facilitating contact between like-minded businesses who have the same goals and ambitions.
All the information about the toolkit and grants is available on the Somerset County Council website:
A few words from the key speakers at this week's Somerset Climate Emergency Summit. An inspriing event – big thanks to the 100+ delegates who came along – businesses big & small looking how to tackle climate change https://bit.ly/2Octnz7 Wyke Farms Sparks and Daughters @leonardo_UK South Somerset District Council Somerset West and Taunton Somerset Climate Action Network Somerset Wildlife Trust Visit Somerset
Posted by Somerset County Council on Thursday, 30 January 2020