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East Midlands Chamber News

Earth Day 2021: East Midlands Chamber explains why sustainability should be top of the agenda for businesses

Commenting on Earth Day 2021 (22 April), East Midlands Chamber (Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire, Leicestershire) chief executive Scott Knowles said: “Earth Day offers us all a great opportunity to reflect on the fight on our hands against climate change, an issue that existed before coronavirus but has been crystallised in our minds over the past year as we consider how to ‘build back better’ from the pandemic.

“For businesses, which account for 18% of the UK’s carbon emissions, environmental credentials have perhaps been previously regarded as a ‘nice-to-have’ within their wider CSR armoury. But we should be under no illusion this is no longer the case and engaging with the sustainability agenda is now business-critical.

“We launched a Sustainable East Midlands campaign at the tail end of last year, which aims to highlight the opportunities and support available to businesses, as well as providing examples of organisations already successfully engaged in the low-carbon agenda.

A strong business case for adopting sustainable practices

“Our key message is that this has an impact on the bottom line for companies. 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, as large organisations become more eco-conscious about their supply chains, helps us win new contracts and business. It will also be crucial in recruiting and retaining staff, with the younger generation now joining the labour market placing a greater emphasis on the social values of their employers.

“The low-carbon agenda 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.

“Given one of the key focuses of Earth Day 2021 is around emerging technologies and innovative thinking, this shows our region can play a central role in this green transition – with the overall success likely to be driven by SMEs, which make up 99% of all businesses.

“So as we reflect on where we stand today, it’s time for each of us to change our thinking on this subject, take responsibility and reap the rewards.”

For more information on the Sustainable East Midlands campaign or about the support available for businesses to engage with the sustainability agenda, visit www.emc-dnl.co.uk/sustainability.

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