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    GETTING SUSTAINABILITY SUSSED

    The drive for business sustainability has never been greater. To help make this happen, we’re helping to build a totally fresh new community: SUSTAINABILITY SUSSED – an online and real community of like-minded, successful, culturally aligned and collaborative firms who want to challenge the status quo.  

    And there was a fantastic turn out for the recent Sustainability Sussed event.  

    Around the virtual table were sustainability champions from the across the business spectrum. From the world of retail premium fashion brand Paul Smith, supermarket chains Tesco and the Central England Co-op along with Hunter Douglas the parent group for brands such as Hillarys Blinds and Linney the digital marketing agency who have made huge strides on their sustainability journey already.  

    Hosted by April Bembridge our Chief People Officer along with Cat Kelly and Nico Ciobanu who are championing sustainability advisory activity within CP. This first meeting provided a valuable opportunity to share insight, experiences and common challenges.  

    After all addressing sustainability within a business is daunting. There’s so much to consider. From production and manufacturing to packaging and distribution let alone the impact of bricks and mortar stores.  

    HOW TO EAT AN ELEPHANT 

    As Desmond Tutu once wisely said that “there is only one way to eat an elephant: a bite at a time.” We really don’t approve of eating elephants. However, his advice could easily apply to tackling sustainability.  

    Some great ideas were shared during the lively conversation. An overriding view was that your efforts don’t have to be perfect. It’s far better to have the whole world trying imperfectly than a small group which is doing it perfectly. It all makes a difference.  

    Addressing sustainability impacts within business is about being brave. There’s no one size fits all answer. We’re all on a journey to making a difference. Sharing practical ideas and solutions across sectors is of great value.  

    It’s all about being brave. Making small changes that truly make a difference.  

    BUSINESS WITH PURPOSE 

    The conversation was wide ranging. But there were some recurring themes:

    • What do your customers or clients think? Whilst many customers consider green credentials before buying, not all do. Communication with customers about change is key. Particularly if pricing and products are changing.
    • What about your suppliers? Addressing sustainability issues with suppliers can be a real challenge. Particularly if their sector is going through change as well.
    • Have ambition. Have you set sustainability targets for your business? Do you know how to? Get help with establishing your start point. Monitoring impacts and collecting data.
    • People. Your people. Do they know what your sustainability ambitions are? More importantly do they know how they can make a difference? It’s the little things like closing the shop refrigeration unit door when collecting stock for the shelves.
    • There are some great resources. You don’t have to be on a B-Corp journey to use the assessment. It’s free of charge and a great tool
    • Green Energy. Many utility companies now offer ‘green energy’. But is it really? Or is it just a marketing ploy? Not all energy suppliers are the same. Or truly committed to sustainability. 
    • Carbon offsetting. Which form of offsetting is most effective, if any? Reforestation, project support or direct carbon capture.  

    WE’LL MEET AGAIN  

    Sustainability Sussed will be meeting again. The sharing of insight from across business sectors provided unexpected benefits for the participants. We’ll aim to meet three times a year, with next round table discussion set to happen in September. 

    The bringing together of businesses who are willing to support each other on their journey to achieve their green business goals was invaluable.  

    Inevitably the focus of this first meeting was wide ranging. Some of the themes identified will be talked about in more detail at future meetings. Topics bookmarked for future discussion include: 

    • Carbon reporting (Scope 1,2 and 3) 
    • B-Corp values and the benefits of applying 
    • Waste reduction and packaging 
    • Carbon reduction strategies 
    • Lifecycle of products – repair rather than throw 
    • Waste and packaging 
    • Sustainability impacts on health and nutrition  
    • Vehicle technology 
    • Deciphering of figures and carbon accountancy 
    • Suppliers and supply chain impact.  

    ONLINE OR IN PERSON? 

    A final thought. It’s very easy to assume that if you move your business activities online, whether that’s retail or how you hold events that you become instantly carbon neutral. If only it was that simple.  

    This event which was hosted via the on-line platform REMO still created 80kg of carbon. The equivalent to the energy used to boil a kettle over a thousand times. Whilst this is less than what would have been the impact having done it in person, we’ll go back to the blackboard and explore how to continue minimising our impact on our journey to Net Zero. 

    If you think you should be part of the conversation and want to join the next Sustainability Sussed event let us know. Join the Sustainability Sussed group on LinkedIn where we’ll be sharing more information and making connections between businesses committed to making a change.  

    If you need any help with sustainability assurance or reporting, CP can help. Mandatory sustainability reporting for large companies is to be introduced by the EU under its Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive. It’s expected to be in place by 2023. The law will also affect non-EU registered businesses trading across the EU. It won’t be long until this requirement is passed onto to SMEs as well so now is a good time to get things in place.

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    WANT TO CHAT ABOUT ANY OF THE ABOVE?

    Nicoleta Ciobanu, Head of Sustainability

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