As part of our sustainability journey, we applied through BEE Anglia for the Carbon Charter, hoping to gain accreditation in recognition of the work that we’ve been doing to reduce our impact on the environment.
We were absolutely thrilled last week to learn that we have been successful in achieving a Silver level accreditation. This is a big deal for us. Not only does is give us public recognition of the work we’ve been doing and help us communicate our environmental commitment, which is nice, but it also gives us the reassurance that we’re on the right track.
The Carbon Charter is awarded to organisations that are monitoring and reducing their carbon emissions, and the Silver Charter is “only awarded to organisations that have already evidenced steps towards a clear reduction in carbon emissions”.
What have been our challenges?
With regards to reducing our carbon emissions, we’ve had two main challenges:
- Being in a shared office building: Our office is within a landlord-owned building that’s also home to several other businesses. Having spoken to our landlord, it became clear that there was no easy way for us to monitor our energy usage, as the supply is not split out to the separate rooms. For the time being, we have been working with averages based on the type of work we do and the number of employees, but this is something we know we need to get a better handle on – a work in progress!
This also means that things like our choice of electricity provider is out of our hands. I have been in talks with our landlord about switching to a greener electricity supplier, but despite me raising this, the decision is not ours.
- Being a service-based business: Because of what we do, our consumption of energy and production of carbon is relatively low. It is mostly powering our computers (which we can’t do without) and getting to the office (which we also need to do). We’re going to have to think a bit more creatively about how we can reduce our scope 1 and scope 2 emissions – there are no quick wins here that are going to result in big gains.
Whilst the panel were pleased to see that we’d taken some positive steps, one of the handiest things is the feedback about where our priority actions lie, namely:
- Looking to determine our actual energy consumption and consideration of appropriate reduction measures (as mentioned above – we’re working on this)
- Recognising that we will need to demonstrate reductions to maintain our accreditation.
And this second point is our biggest challenge, but we are determined to make further improvements, and maintaining this accreditation gives us extra motivation to do so.
I’m looking forward to going along to The Carbon Charter Summer Event on the 6th July. In the meantime, if any other small businesses locally would like to chat about our experiences so far, I’d be more than happy to talk!