Two thirds of north eastern businesses struggling to become eco-friendly

A government report claims two-thirds of businesses in the north east are either unsure of how to reduce their carbon emissions or don’t intend to.

The survey of thousands of UK firms in January and February found that 15.8 per cent in the north east are “not intending” to take green measures in the next year. In addition, 49.2 per cent said they were “not sure” about their plans for reducing the impact of their company’s carbon footprint.

It means 65 per cent of businesses either don’t know what environmental improvements to make or don’t plan to embark on any, slightly above the UK average of 64.5 per cent. The findings were revealed in the Business Insight and Conditions Survey.

The Eco-Friendly Web Alliance campaigns for businesses and organisation in the north east to reduce the emissions generated by their websites. It said by making some modest adjustments, most local business owners would be able to make their websites more environmentally friendly.

That can include taking steps to reduce overall web page size, reducing “bloat” on their websites, compressing images to reduce file size and stopping the auto-playing of videos.

The EFWA’s board of scientific advisors estimates that an environmentally-friendly website should not emit more than one gram of CO2 per page view. However, the average website generates more than double that, while the internet generally is responsible for 10 per cent of the world’s electricity use.

The EFWA has an accreditation scheme where websites beneath the one gram per page view threshold can gain an official standard.

Websites that run on green energy by using a renewable energy-powered hosting service and take responsibility for their carbon emissions through tree-planting or rewilding can even become “climate positive”.

The results from the government survey found some businesses in the north east were considering adjusting heating and cooling systems (12.8 per cent), electrifying their vehicle fleet (16 per cent) and installing smart meters (6.2 per cent).

But the vast majority are still unclear about what measures to take over the course of the next year. The ONS survey gathered the views of 8614 businesses from across the UK between January 24 and February 6, including 533 in the north east of England.

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