COP26 Roundup: How Chesterfield businesses are working towards a greener future
Many Chesterfield businesses, organisations and developments are working hard to build a more sustainable and environmentally-friendly future for the town.
The big climate summit which took place in Glasgow recently, COP26 provided a big reminder to everyone of the need to become greener and reduce our carbon emissions.
Chesterfield Champion, Emma Knight-Strong of specialist sustainability coaching firm, Green Arch Consulting attended the summit, and has provided us with a round-up of all the big talking points from the event:
4 areas of interest, 1 big message
- Governments – the US and China are now collaborating to work on climate change! While there are concerns about the speed with which governments are moving this announcement (plus a lot of others) is an indicator that the political world is taking climate change seriously.
- Finance – investors with trillions of dollars are announcing more and more commitments to sustainable and green investments. This is driven by a range of factors including:
– Risk: investors are seeing the impacts of climate change in their portfolios and…
– Standards and regulation: for example COP26 has seen the launch of the International Sustainability Standards Board, which will ultimately require the entire accounting profession to develop their skills in this area.
- Business – is under increasing pressure to report information and to manage their supply chains. In the UK, large corporates will be legally required to report climate information from April 2022. Importantly, this will impact their entire supply chain as suppliers will need to help their customers collect and report data. Equally, some organisations may find themselves struggling to win new customers (or keep existing customers) if they fail to step up.
- Communication, engagement and public opinion – is changing rapidly, leading to a huge shift in how people see the climate crisis. This, of course, has an impact on politics, finance and business. A couple of examples are:
- The UK Broadcasting associations have committed to embedding climate content in their programmes – helping to spread messaging around climate and carbon.
- Education is focusing more on climate and sustainability, helping our younger generations to understand more about their options and about the climate crisis – so when your kids start talking about it you should probably listen – the chances are they know more about it than you do!
- Activism is now firmly on the agenda – whether it’s marching on the streets or people actively working to ‘green’ their jobs or companies, people are working together to drive change. 100,000 people marched in Glasgow on 6th November to call attention to the huge public interest in creating a positive outcome for the climate.
How big is the challenge?
The fact that almost every aspect of society is paying attention to this now indicates that this is a major challenge but if you need more proof: scientists, nations, indigenous communities and many others have provided overwhelming evidence that our world is warming. The problem with this is that a warming world is leading to increased extreme weather events, sea level rise and loss of biodiversity.
That, in turn, leads to changes in agricultural productivity, threatens towns, cities and businesses, and even influences things like where some diseases are found. Ultimately, it risks lives and livelihoods across the globe. No business sector, country or even town will be immune to this, albeit some will suffer the effects faster, and more severely, than others.
The message COP26 is the 26th annual conference which seeks to address some of these issues. The announcements and noise surrounding this conference can be overwhelming and it is almost impossible to keep track of everything that has happened. Instead, look above it all and see the overarching message: This issue is not going away. We have a feedback loop of investors influencing business who influence government, who are all influenced by communication (you can rearrange those words into almost any combination, and it will still be true).
That means that at some point, if it hasn’t already, your organisation will be impacted by one or more of these areas. In fact, you may already have been indirectly impacted but just haven’t realised the cause.
Where to start
So how can organisations get on top of this? A good place to start is to understand your carbon footprint. It is by no means the only issue related to climate change and sustainability, but it’s a good foundation for understanding how your organisation operates beyond the financials.
The good news is that there is a LOT of help out there – some of it free, some of it not.
- For example, the FSB have just published information on carbon footprinting: https://www.fsb.org.uk/resources-page/how-to-calculate-your-carbon-footprint-as-a-small-business.html
- And the Carbon Trust has a carbon footprint calculator on its website: https://www.carbontrust.com/resources/sme-carbon-footprint-calculator.
Do an internet search for ‘calculate the carbon footprint of my business’ and see what comes up.
If you already know your carbon footprint then the next step is to think seriously about cutting it by at least 50% by 2030. How will you achieve this? What investment will be needed? How can you plan this into your business year to spread the cost? Equally, how might this help your business, for example will you be in a position to win more customers?
Sustainability success stories in Chesterfield
Here are just a few great examples of how the Chesterfield community is helping to reduce carbon emissions in our town, including businesses, organisations and local developers.
Custom Solar is a renewable energy company specialising in solar PV. The business works nationally to design, install and maintain high quality solar systems for businesses, homes and the education sector.
Find out more about a huge solar installation carried out by the company at the Port of Southampion, fitting the Horizon Cruise Terminal with 2,000 solar modules!
Superior Wellness won the Sustainability Award, sponsored by Chesterfield Borough Council at the town’s annual Love Chesterfield Awards organised by Destination Chesterfield.
In their award-winning submission Superior Wellness demonstrated that they measure and report their progress, as well as demonstrating that that have committed to sustainability during the past five years.
Mark Needham, Head of Operations said: “Within the last few months, we have reviewed our waste strategy, purchased electric forklift trucks, installed solar panels and have electric charging points.
“This is just the start as we seek to become more sustainable as a business. Our ten-year vision is to become carbon neutral.”
Don’t Do a Dodo
Don’t Do A Dodo Ltd is a Chesterfield business that aims to help local people ‘go green’ easily and at low cost. It does this by enabling the community to club together to buy green products like solar panels and smart thermostats, securing valuable discounts for householders, whilst reducing their energy bills and their carbon emissions.
Director Nigel Timperley said: “Don’t Do A Dodo is a community business. As well as helping local people group-buy low carbon products like solar panels and renewable energy, we use local suppliers to install things, creating jobs and opportunity in the town’s emerging green
economy. So the town gets greener and local businesses prosper.”
The Gateway @Peak
The exciting Gateway @PEAK development on the northern edge of Chesterfield has been showcasing its sustainability credentials at the East Midlands COP26 Regional Roadshow, as part of its strategic partnership with the University of Derby.
Milligan and landowner Birchall Properties have formed a working group with the University of Derby to bring the latest applied thinking in sustainable tourism, circular economies, data collection and monitoring, geosciences and biodiversity planning to the project.
At the heart of the development is a Zero Carbon transport hub. Hydrogen powered vehicles will connect to a travel network that has the potential to remove over 500,000 car journeys from the park each year, drastically reducing carbon emissions and improving the visitor experience for everyone.
The pledge by Robinson outlines a range of commitments underpinned by their strategic priorities focused on putting the customer first, sustainable growth and thriving people.
CEO Dr Helene Roberts says this the blueprint for Robinson’s future-fit business. She says: “We have a role to contribute to sustainability and regenerative growth, which we view as key drivers with great opportunities for our business and the industry.
Chesterfield FC’s Planet Super League success
Chesterfield Football Club may be flying high on the pitch in the National League at the moment, but the club also topped the table earlier this year in a sustainability league table which involved supporters and the local community.
The unique football tournament ‘Planet Super League’ saw fans score goals for their club by completing planet-protecting activities like having a meat-free meal, using the car less and even taking cold showers.
Chesterfield FC fans put in an incredible effort over the 11-week tournament, racking up 33 points and beating 23 other clubs to the title. Fans have a perfect record for the season, winning all 11 matches including victories against West Bromwich Albion, Tottenham Hotspur, Aston Villa and MK Dons.
Chesterfield Property & Construction Group
The annual Celebrate Chesterfield campaign provided plenty of cause for celebration once again this year, with the announcement of the town’s Property & Construction Group being launched.
The new group brings together leaders from the area’s property and construction sectors to shape and drive forward collaboration, investment, sustainability and skills within Chesterfield.
Delegates attending the Chesterfield Investment Summit 2021 will be updated on the progress of the group over the last few months.
Chesterfield-based SDE Group is pushing forward with ambitions to be greener and reduce the carbon footprint of the UK, with the installation of multiple rapid charging points for electronic vehicles.
The company has set out a long-term goal of having a better impact on the environment, with the growth of electric charging stations being something the firm is very passionate about.
Ian Buckton, Contracts Director at SDE Group said: “SDE have been looking at the carbon footprint of the business for the last few years, so when we were approached by our clients to work alongside Gridserve on the renewable energy scheme, it is something that excited us as this falls into our business plan.”