Sustainable growth - doesn't have to cost the Earth!

No matter which sector your business is in, or where it is located, we are all coming under pressure to carry on business in a more sustainable way. You may be finding pressure from your employees, your customers, those you contract with or, possibly, even those who supply to you. Even if you are not feeling those pressures currently, you will do. 

Everyone from Prince Charles to Greta Thunberg – via Sir David Attenborough, Mark Carney and even Bill Gates – is telling us that climate change is happening, if we don’t do something to reverse it during this decade we will go over a tipping point, and are making suggestions as to what we can all do about it. 

All of our businesses have a role to play in this and there are considerable opportunities to be won, whether you believe that there is a climate emergency or not. However, in addition to the climate emergency, here are some other reasons for you to take action now. 

·         Reputation. We are not all Marks & Spencer or John Lewis, who have well-publicised green agendas. However, being seen to be taking action could be important to your business and could certainly give you a competitive edge.

 ·         Contract tendering. Increasingly you will find yourself asked to provide evidence of your “Sustainability Plan” when tendering for jobs. A recent announcement said that anyone bidding for big government contracts would have to pledge to work towards a net-zero carbon output by 2050, to be considered. Admittedly, that is only for contracts worth over £5 million a year, but how long will it be before others follow suit and contract values come down? 

·         Regulatory Compliance.  This is only going one way, and regulations will become tougher and targets raised.  

·         Reduced Costs.  By stopping waste, your business will be able to save costs.  That will go straight to your bottom line. 

·         Innovation opportunities.  None of the tough targets for net-zero carbon and other greenhouse gas reductions will be achieved without innovation and entrepreneurship.  There are significant opportunities for those who can innovate. 

Depending on what your business is, Birkett Long is able to assist in various ways. Drafting your “Sustainability Plan”, reviewing contracts with your suppliers to ensure that they are meeting your sustainable criteria, assisting you with your contract tendering and the contracts with your customers.  

We are also able to assist with regulatory compliance and with ensuring the documentation for your properties allows you to carry out works to improve the carbon footprint of your premises. We are also able to suggest how to encourage employee involvement and protect the intellectual property in your innovations. 

All of us can, by a few sensible steps, not only contribute to the drive for sustainability, but meet the demands of our employees, customers, and the regulators.  

In addition, both individually and through business organisations, we can put pressure on our politicians to ensure that there is national and international movement to improve standards. After all, we know that if the climate emergency is not arrested, significant parts of Essex are under threat of flooding from rising sea levels. Our homes and businesses located in those areas will be severely impacted. 

 If we work together we – and our businesses – will all benefit.

The contents of this article are intended for general information purposes only and shall not be deemed to be, or constitute legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article.