Addressing Global Problems with Local Solutions

Rising CO2 emissions, climate change, and environmental devastation are global issues that every individual and business has been made aware of. But in the grand scheme of things, many individuals and smaller businesses may feel like their impact won't make much difference, especially in comparison to some global conglomerates. Yet, with a global issue of this proportion, unified efforts across all businesses small to large need to happen to protect the planet.  

Although SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) and Global Businesses have different day-to-day challenges and operations, there is still a need for collective actions to make your business more environmentally conscious.

Global Businesses tend to be more in the public eye, under more scrutiny from legislators and overall seem to be given more support and knowledge about how to address their impact. However, with SMEs making up over 90% of global businesses, it's vital to help the local and smaller businesses make tangible steps towards sustainability so we can all achieve our global mission of environmental policies.  

Small businesses big impact – why SME’s?

With the gentrification and the incorporation of big businesses in local areas, there has been traction in the campaigning for people to “Shop Local”. Although many of us know the benefits of supporting local businesses, SMEs should also understand their impact on a wider scale.

SMEs are defined as businesses that have 0-249 employees. In the UK, 5.5 million businesses are defined as SMEs, making up 99.9% of private sector businesses. So, with most UK businesses being SMEs, it's important that they recognise their impact on their environment – as every small business CO2e can add up.  

Yet even though the UK business landscape comprises predominantly SMEs, there is a lack of training and awareness about their environmental impact. In a report by BT, over three-quarters of SMEs feel like they need some sort of training to help them understand their environmental footprint.

From value chains to utilities, mapping out what needs to be done, and the means to record them can be overwhelming, especially for a business with limited resources. With every unit of CO2e adding up to create and enlarge this issue, and the UK Government planning to hit net zero targets by 2050 – it's clear that all businesses of all sizes, need to work together in achieving sustainable goals. 

How can local businesses make global changes? 

Being a small business in today's economic climate can be stressful in itself, let alone navigating through best sustainable practices and policies. So, to help sustainability become achievable for all SMEs we have listed some of the best sustainable practices that can make a big difference.  

1. Find out your footprint

On average 15 tonnes of carbon emissions are created by UK SMEs each year.  Yet, it's still not mandatory for UK SMEs on their carbon emissions. Despite this lack of compulsory reporting, more small businesses still need to audit and address their carbon footprint.

With small businesses making up 44% of CO2e (non-household emissions) – SMEs have to be proactive in their sustainability policies so we all can achieve carbon reduction targets. To start this process of carbon reduction, use a CO2e calculator, so you can have metrics on where your business currently is, and how the strategies mentioned below contribute to your sustainability plan moving forward. 

2. Foundations of Sustainability  

Building on the foundation of your business's sustainability, it's needed for you to look at your own Greenhouse Gas emissions (GHG).

As a business, you may have heard about Scope 1 and 2 before, if not that’s no problem. This standard of emission reporting looks at your GHG from your main direct and indirect sources. 

  • Your direct emissions (Scope 1) are the ones that come straight from your organisation – so the main one is the fuel from your vehicles.  Now, many businesses are moving to electric vehicles – however, this isn’t always an option as the switch can cost money. If you aren't in a position to change to an EV, you can still reduce your direct emissions by, carefully planning your route, cycling/walking/public transport when you can and getting regular services on your car.
  • The indirect emissions (Scope 2) represent the biggest contributors of CO2e - heating and gas. When it comes to business utilities, there are some obstacles. If you can reduce your footprint, swap to a sustainable energy supplier. However, some businesses may be tied into non-renewable energy suppliers by their landlords.  So, to help limit your CO2e footprint be mindful when using the electrics and heating. Use a switch-off policy when something’s not being used, invest in energy-saving bulbs, energy-efficient technology and provide layers to your workers.  

Note: Sustainability doesn’t have to cost the earth. These tips don’t just help the planet they help you save money by reducing fuel and utility costs. 

3. Don’t be let down by your Supply Chain 

The before steps give you guidance and knowledge on your business's footprint, and how you can reduce it. Once you’re confident in tracking those emissions, it’s time to look more broadly, seeing how your supply chain indirectly adds to your emissions (your Scope 3).

Being a part of a sustainable supply chain will add value to your business and help your associated CO2e. Although addressing your supply chain’s CO2e may sound overwhelming, taking small steps, like supporting more local suppliers checking CO2e from suppliers' materials, can have a huge impact on your business footprint whilst making being green manageable for your business. 

Find out more about Scope 3 emissions in our blog here

Your next steps

 Although your business may seem small, it can make a big difference in protecting the planet. Being green, shouldn’t cost you the earth! It can help your business be a savvy saver. These small steps, from measuring your carbon footprint to monitoring who your business is working with, will help both you and the planet.   

If you need help in reducing your CO2e from chemicals like cleaning products – BioHygiene is here to help.

The UK's leading brand in biotechnology, we help businesses of any size to keep the planet safe and improve the health of their employees, all whilst keeping your business clean and tidy for your customers.

Click the link below to find our more about how BioHygiene can fit into your business’s plans