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East Midlands Chamber News

Why the Chamber is launching the Sustainable East Midlands campaign

This month, the Chamber launches the Sustainable East Midlands campaign to support businesses of all shapes and sizes in engaging with the green agenda. Here, we explain why we’re doing this and why it’s time for organisations to look at how they can contribute – and benefit.

 

In autumn last year, the United Nations said 2020 signalled the beginning of a Decade of Action as it gained global momentum for its 17 Sustainable Development Goals, while calling for “accelerating sustainable solutions to all the world’s biggest challenges”, including climate change.

A lot has happened in the intervening 12 months as Covid-19 has ripped through our lives, jobs and businesses.

It has forced us to reassess how we’d like to rebuild our economy and, if anything, the appetite for us to move towards a greener future has only intensified since the coronavirus outbreak.

This begins at our own doorstep, within the very organisations we own, run and work for.

Promoting the benefits of sustainability in business

Sustainability is a topic that is sometimes ignored – one that can be easy to flick past in pages like these or think it’s someone else’s responsibility to take.

But there’s a number of reasons why businesses should engage with an agenda that is becoming more prominent by each day, as evidenced by the Prime Minister’s recent pledge to make Britain a world leader in clean wind power and create tens of thousands of jobs in the process.

Firstly, it’s the right thing to do. All the science points to how, if we don’t act fast, the worst effects of climate change could be irreversible, bringing not just environmental degradation but huge social and economic problems in the future.

But it also has an impact on the bottom line for businesses. Just like the automotive industry is now beginning to shift from petrol and diesel to building electric cars because it has identified the direction of the market, engaging with sustainability will make our business community more competitive in the long term.

Adopting greener credentials reduces running costs and helps us win new contracts and business.

Why East Midlands can be at the forefront of sustainability agenda

It also makes the East Midlands more competitive as a region. It plays into our strengths as we have all the pieces of the sustainability jigsaw – the high energy users in manufacturing, the energy producers in our coal field heritage, and new hi-tech businesses coming out of our world-leading universities.

The world is looking for solutions to climate change – innovative products and services developed in South Normanton could have a transformative impact in South Africa – so there is a clear commercial purpose to this.

Everyone has a role to play in this green transition and, while the region’s crown jewels of Rolls-Royce, Toyota and Samworth Brothers are already reducing their carbon footprint, the overall success of this will be driven by SMEs, which make up 99% of all businesses.

So it’s time for each of us to change our thinking on this subject, take responsibility and reap the rewards.

The Chamber, via our new Sustainable East Midlands campaign, wants to highlight the opportunities available for businesses, examples of organisations already successfully engaged in the low-carbon agenda and the support available to those that want to learn more about how they can too.

So keep an eye out on our website for details of the grants and loans available, relevant events and other ways of finding support.

This is indeed a decade of action and it needn’t be a frightening one, but an exciting period in the future of our region’s business community.

To find out more about the campaign, visit emc-dnl.co.uk/sustainability.

 

This article featured in the November issue of Business Network magazine, which is a special sustainability edition. To read an online version of the magazine, click here.

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