Throughout 2021 we're encouraging everyone in Merton to join us in the effort to make the borough carbon neutral by taking steps in their day-to-day lives to reduce their carbon footprint. Each month we're focusing on a different theme where we can all play a part in tackling climate change.
The theme for Februry is: business and investment
We are encouraging businesses to reduce their emissions in order to improve access to sustainable products and services in the borough. We're also asking both businesses and consumers to invest more sustainably and use their buying power to drive the transition to a low carbon economy.
The unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 over the last few months has been very damaging for most businesses. However, once we start to rebound from the pandemic, all businesses have an opportunity to take stock and build back sustainably, as part of the UK's green recovery, to help tackle the climate emergency.
As a business, reducing your emissions is not only good for the planet, but can also help attract talent and customers, save money and boost productivity.
If you want to help us achieve net-zero carbon by greening your business or supporting sustainable businesses in Merton, you can make one or more of the following pledges:
If you are a business, you could pledge to
- Plan your route to net-zero carbon – The first step in getting to net-zero carbon is understanding your carbon footprint and what you can do to reduce your emissions. By making this pledge, you're committing to carrying out a sustainability audit of your business in order to identify the next steps on your journey to net-zero carbon. You can start by calculating your carbon footprint using the Carbon Trust's SME Carbon Footprint Calculator. The Carbon Trust also has a range of resources to help your business become more sustainable and energy efficient.
- Join Merton's Business Network for Climate Action – Founded by Sustainable Merton and Merton Chamber of Commerce in January 2020, Merton's Business Network for Climate Action aims to connect businesses who are serious about taking action on the Climate Emergency. The Network offers a space for businesses to share their experiences and challenges, and hear about useful resources, services and products to help them on their journey.
- By joining Merton's Business Network for Climate Action you will:
- Receive a business sustainability checklist to review "where you are now" and help you determine your actions for the next 6-12 months
- Meet experts who can support you to achieve your action plan
- Share your journey with other businesses and learn from each other
Fulfilling this pledge is easy, you can join Merton's Business Network for Climate Action online.
- Take stock of your supply chains – Supply chain emissions can be up to five times higher than a business' direct emissions. By working with your suppliers, your business can help drive important carbon savings in the wider economy. Why not pledge to review your supply chains to identify opportunities to reduce emissions from your procured goods and services - this will generally also help you become more efficient and resilient, as well as cut costs. You should consider how sustainable the products and services you use are, how green your suppliers are, and if there any suitable local suppliers who could provide the same services to reduce transport emissions, for example. You could also pledge to integrate carbon reduction and a circular economy approach in your procurement policy. As well as cutting carbon, this could help your wallet and the local economy!
- Measure and report your emissions – In order to understand the scale of your emissions and track progress towards net-zero carbon, why not pledge to measure and report your carbon emissions on an annual basis?
- Help consumers make sustainable decisions – As a business, you can also help promote sustainable consumption in Merton by raising awareness on consumption-based emissions and encouraging the uptake of low carbon products and services. By making this pledge, you are committing to providing information on the carbon footprint of your products and services, and highlighting the benefits of low carbon alternatives in order to enable your customers/clients to make informed purchasing decisions.
- Put your money where your mouth is – Businesses and individuals alike can help drive the transition to a low carbon economy by investing in low carbon industries and businesses. By making this pledge you're committing to reviewing your finances and focussing your investments towards greener outcomes. This could involve switching to a green energy provider, divesting your pensions and investments from fossil fuels, or investing in low carbon infrastructure like solar panels or cycle parking to reduce your organisation's emissions.
- Help develop local green skills – You can help build a low carbon economy in Merton by creating opportunities to develop green skills in the borough. Why not pledge to create a new sustainability role within your organisation, or to provide apprenticeships or training opportunities with an environmental or sustainability focus?
- Raise staff awareness on climate change – Your staff will have an important role to play on your journey to net-zero carbon. Why not pledge to raise awareness on climate change within your organisation? This could involve offering carbon literacy training to your staff, starting a sustainability blog or newsletter, or encouraging sustainable behaviours through a cycle-to-work scheme, for example. As an employer, you have an opportunity to encourage more sustainable behaviours in your staff at work and at home.
If you're a resident, you could pledge to:
- Put your money where your mouth is – By making this pledge you're committing to using your purchasing power to support low carbon industries, businesses and products. This could involve switching to a green energy provider at home, divesting your pension* and investments from fossil fuels, changing to a sustainable bank account, investing in solar panels or an electric vehicle, or simply opting for the more sustainable product in the supermarket (Giki can help with this). Your pension may be your biggest contribution to the financial system. Ensuring it is invested sustainably could also be your biggest contribution to creating a healthy world for you to retire in.
- Support sustainable businesses – Why not pledge to support local sustainable businesses, such as Merton's Zero Waste Shop, to help encourage other businesses to follow suit and help drive the transition to a low carbon economy in Merton.