Miranda Dobson

Member Article

Alan Jones from tadea on creating sustainable businesses

It’s environment focus week on Bdaily, and we are looking at what the low-carbon economy really means for UK SMEs. Following on from The Big Eco Show last week, we posed a series of questions to the panelists from the Bdaily “Seriously Speaking“ debate. Alan Jones from the sustainable business support firm, tadea, answered tough questions on how SMEs can become more environmentally friendly.

How can we make our businesses greener? Why bother?

No matter what size of business you are, be it an SME or a large scale organisation, there are a number of options available to become more energy efficient and to reduce the amount of carbon emissions your organisation emits – helping your organisation to become ‘greener’.

There are two main routes which need covering. Firstly, the buildings and equipment your organisation has and uses - looking at the effect this has on the environment, and secondly, looking at the behaviour of your staff with regards to their energy use and environmental practices.

I’d recommend that organisations carry out an energy audit looking at what improvements can be made to the physical make up of the business. For example, tadea has expert energy auditors and advisors who can survey your premises, equipment, services and systems, checking how they are being used and looking for areas of improvement to feed into a written recommendations report. If you give the auditors access to your energy bills, they’ll also show you how improvements can realise real financial and carbon savings. After an initial investment, you’ll be surprised at how quickly the improvements will pay for themselves.

Also, If your organisation is to work more sustainably, it is vital that your staff are on board too. Whether a corporate operation, commercial organisation or a public body tadea offers employee engagement support to work with you to develop a programme tailor-made to meet the exact demands of your business. For example, to deliver activities, events and workshops, raise environmental awareness, give support and training, and offer help in developing environmental policies.

Is there help for companies to go green?

Many sources of help are out there to help businesses go green. These range from advice and guidance to financial incentives. At tadea, we can provide support for companies who are interested in auditing the efficiency of their business, or for organisations who want to develop an employee engagement campaign.

For companies seeking to implement improvement measures there are energy efficiency financing and leasing projects that can help to secure funding for the equipment that a business wants to install. As an incentive to businesses, there is the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme. This is a key part of the Government’s programme to manage climate change. It provides businesses with enhanced tax relief for investments in equipment that meets published energy-saving criteria,enabling businesses to claim a 100% first year capital allowance on investments in certain energy saving equipment, against the taxable profits of the period of investment.

We already do a host of energy saving measures in the office, a car share for staff and so on, what’s the next level for our business?

If it seems you’ve already covered many of the energy saving improvement measures, then the next step would be to actively engage with your staff to actively create an environmental mindset for the organisation. Embedding Sustainability into an organisation can only be achieved through the skills of employees. Without their vital contribution, even those organisations committed to business sustainability, will never get much past a written policy. The most effective energy saving programmes involve everybody within a business, often through employees suggesting and implementing improvement measures. One successful way of doing this is to develop a Green Team – a key group of staff within your organisation who are focused on ensuring energy saving activity continues, and that the results are communicated back to staff regularly. The team could also develop specialist campaigns such as holding an annual energy saving week for your organisation or develop a green awards scheme. Sustainable purchasing will also help you to reduce the impact of your business overall. Making informed choices about what you buy, how often and who you buy from, could help your business save money.

Tadea has a dedicated team to deliver help for businesses who want to reduce their impact on the environment. We can carry out business audits and we will also provide follow-up support, helping organisations to interpret the reports and work out how best to go about utilising their findings. Along with this, tadea can assist your business to engage with your staff, working with your business to implement awareness raising campaigns aimed at encouraging staff to get involved. We are also able to help develop a Green Team within a business and provide the necessary training that is required. To discuss the options available to you, feel free to contact tadea on 0845 602 9569 or visit www.tadea.com

Increasing energy efficiency is one of the simplest – but also one of the most effective – ways to reduce overheads at any business or organisation. Cutting fuel bills can be remarkably easy to do, and the benefits attached to doing so can significantly increase sustainability – both economically and environmentally.

Here are some other environment focus articles that may be of interest to you: carbon reporting in logistics firms; what are the benefits of electric vehicles?; we talk to a print business about why SMEs need to go green; find out how one innovative business is using ozone as a cleaning tool; what does sustainability really mean to your business?; funding support for green businesses; a green adaptation case study; don’t let flooding stop your business and boosting energy performance in your business.

This was posted in Bdaily's Members' News section by Miranda Dobson .

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