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Lower your carbon footprint and raise your voice

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In her blog post below, Angela Terry, founder of climate action website One Home, explains how important it is for us all to shout a little bit (actually, a lot) louder about climate change.

As we head towards a new year, indeed a new decade, now is the perfect time to think about what we can all do in 2020 to reduce the impact we have on the world. As Bristol Green Capital Partnership members, you already know that tackling the climate emergency is paramount.

There is no sign of a slowdown, let alone a decline, in greenhouse gases concentration in the atmosphere, so we have to rapidly accelerate the transition to net zero emissions by using all the tools we have as business leaders and global citizens.

One of the biggest areas we can have an impact on is through using our influence and networks to share knowledge and ideas.

Slowly but surely, environmental awakening is happening. As we head towards a general election, voters are more concerned about the environment than at any time in the past, ranking it above the economy, education and immigration. So there is a captive audience out there, wanting to make a difference but unsure about what to do next.

We need to harness this enthusiasm – once people are demanding a different way of doing things, industry and Government will inevitably respond faster to this crisis.

There are a whole host of low carbon lifestyle ideas that people can act on if they want to make a real difference to reduce their carbon footprint. However, for Partnership members, perhaps it’s more important to take a step back and ask how you can use your influence to help make our collective voices heard.

One of the most important things is simply talking about climate change, and taking the time to contact people who make decisions – MPs, local councillors and anyone who helps shape policies and legislation. So think about ways of getting in front of these people. It could be a simple ask to employees to contact politicians about their environmental concerns.

© Vanessa Bucceri

Or perhaps you want to go a step further and speak out publicly on the matter – either via the press or at events. Are there other marketing tools you can use, such as newsletters or social media, to share how important this issue is to your organisation? This is all about strength in numbers, so the very act of talking about it and asking people to join you in contacting decision-makers cannot be underestimated.

Similarly, ask yourself if there’s more you can do to share stories on the actions you have taken and the successes you have enjoyed as a result. Part of the challenge is demonstrating that low carbon choices lead to high value in the long run, and the more organisations that tell this story, the better.

Something else to consider is the emerging trend that customers want brands and businesses to help them live more sustainable lives. It’s not enough to only take action on your own carbon footprint; the companies that will really succeed will be those who also help their customers improve their environmental and social footprint. One Home’s top ten tips to tackle the climate crisis is a great place to start but there is inspiration all around us. As Greta Thunberg shows us – no one is too small to make a difference.

The same goes for employees. If employees feel supported in their own personal efforts to tackle climate change, it can only be a good thing. Why not create a working group made up of employees who are passionate about this subject and who will come up with new ways of ‘greening’ your operations? Get involved in the One Tree Per Employee campaign which is asking Bristol Businesses to help plant a quarter of a million new trees in the city by 2030.

As we enter a new decade, business leaders need to become climate leaders. The Institute of Directors has recommended that it should be mandatory for every board to report on climate change risks, and they are calling for a national code of conduct for boardrooms “to pursue long-term, sustainable business behaviour.”

Every organisation needs to adapt – for itself and its customers. What we decide to do today and every day counts in the fight against climate change.

If you’d like to find out more, visit www.onehome.org.uk

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