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You’ve set a Net Zero target…what next?


Businesses understand that addressing the climate and nature crises is important, but for many, particularly SMEs, making real change can be challenging. In this blog post, Nina Skubala, co-chair of the Partnership’s Climate Leaders Group, who until recently was the Head of Climate at Business West and is now a Senior Sustainability Consultant at Turner and Townsend, outlines some of the ways busy organisations can start taking action.


In 30 minutes…

The best place for a business to begin is by measuring its carbon footprint. This helps identify WHERE the business emits carbon and HOW MUCH. Doing this makes any carbon reduction and removal effort far more effective and focused. This is also becoming increasingly necessary with more and more businesses asking their supply chain to provide carbon data.

Up until recently, conducting a carbon footprint was time consuming as it required collecting data from several sources right across the business. But now, businesses can use tools like Spherics to conduct their carbon footprint in around 30 minutes. The software links to accountancy software packages such as Quick Books and Sage and, based on spend, it can pull together a picture of the business carbon footprint with a useful dashboard to identify the main sources of carbon. Learn more here.

Also, as part of its Climate Action Programme the Partnership produced a Guide to Measuring and Managing Carbon Emissions with busy SMEs in mind, which is a great place to start.

If you’ve set a net zero target, it will only take a few minutes to sign up to the Bristol Climate Ask and be part of a community of businesses committed to helping the city reach its 2030 ambitions.

In 1 hour…

There are many ways to reduce and remove carbon from your business, and every organisation will begin at different points and have its own unique pathway.

Organisations based in Bristol are fortunate to be able to access webinars and events from the Climate Action Programme and other sources, covering a wide range of topics from creating climate action plans, to switching to Electric Vehicles, to reducing emissions from digital activities to employee engagement.

These events are a great way to hear from experts on HOW to put these measures into place and from the businesses who have taken these measures already. Attending these webinars is a great way to quickly find out about the PRACTICAL solutions available for businesses and how they WORK for real businesses in the region. The Partnership, Business West, Green Tech South West, Business Declares and Future Leap offer sessions.

If you’ve missed a Climate Action Programme event on a relevant topic, you can find event recordings along with resources sharing top tips from the events here.

In 1 day…

Business West has begun to offer an Aiming For Net Zero Workshop, designed for businesses at the start of their Net Zero journey to understand what is meant by Net Zero, what Net Zero entails for their business, simple ways to begin the journey to reduce, compensate carbon emissions and embed Net Zero practices into the business. At the end of the workshop, participating businesses can create a Net Zero Target, a carbon footprint and a simple Net Zero and Sustainability Plan. Sign up to the next workshop with Sue Tranter.

Businesses with a turnover of over £65k who want to reduce emissions from energy use can access support from the West of England Combined Authority. They have Energy Assessors who will audit energy use within your company and then create an action plan to reduce consumption. There are opportunities to then apply for grant funding to help put these measures in place.

With longer term commitment…

A group of organisations in the city have been coming together in the Partnership’s Climate Leaders Group and can be considered climate pioneers. These are organisations who have already set out to become carbon neutral and have plans in place to reduce their emissions. The growing cohort come from a range of sectors including emergency services, education, healthcare, creative, and built environment. While their size and sector differ, their commitment is the same to reach carbon neutrality by 2030 in line with the One City Climate Strategy.

The group shares best practice and look to overcome common challenges and barriers. Being able to talk through approaches and problems can be hugely beneficial for those who are responsible for the massive task of carbon reduction. Lessons learnt by these pioneering organisations can be shared with others allowing more and more businesses to speed up the pace of change.

Could your organisation get involved? Check out the terms of reference and get in touch with Claire if you’d like to find out more.

Start today!

No matter how much time, expertise or resources your business has, there are many ways in which it can begin its Net Zero journey. The important thing is to get started!

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