Your net zero plan

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Understand your business emissions

1) What causes emissions

Direct carbon emissions produced by the food production industry:

  • chemical fertilisers – used on crops
  • energy use – electricity and gas for lighting, refrigeration and machinery
  • general waste – when it is not recycled and ends up at landfill sites
  • product packaging – using plastics instead of sustainable alternatives
  • travel – using petrol or diesel vehicles to deliver services or products

2) Calculate your emissions

Use a free carbon calculator to work out your business’s carbon footprint. This is measured in tonnes, over a year.

3) Estimate the cost of your emissions

Once you have your carbon footprint, you can calculate how much your emissions are costing you. This will give you an idea of potential savings you can make by taking action.

4) Sign up to the SME climate commitment

Make a climate declaration to show customers you are committed to reducing emissions.

Get finance and support

1) Support in your sector

You can get help and advice from the following organisations:

You can also learn how to run your business in a more environmentally friendly way by hiring a sustainability consultant.

2) Get financial support

These support schemes and networks are available in the East of England:

  • Business Energy Efficiency gives enterprise SMEs up to £10,000 in matching funds for energy efficiency improvements, electric vehicles and new machinery – must be located in Suffolk or Norfolk counties.
  • Net Zero Business Advisor Service – free advice for Suffolk-based businesses is provided by a team of expert and impartial advisors. Support matches the business needs and covers everything from carbon reduction plans to accessing funding, and is highlighted alongside Suffolk County Council’s Climate Change Commerical Ask.
  • The Suffolk Business Grant Scheme is funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund. This is delivered by Babergh District Council, East Suffolk Council, Ipswich Borough Council, Mid Suffolk District Council and West Suffolk Council. These district councils are looking to provide support to local SME businesses with grants between £5,000 and £10,000, with a maximum grant intervention of 50%. Businesses wishing to apply or for further guidance and support can contact the New Anglia Growth Hub to discuss their project or call: 0300 333 6536.
  • West Suffolk grants through the Growth Hub – grants of between £5,000 to £10,000 are being made available to SMEs in West Suffolk through the Growth Hub. The grants, which require businesses to match fund what they are applying for, are available on a first come first served basis and can be used to support businesses in their development, such as through marketing, web design or the purchase of new equipment. They are funded by West Suffolk Council, using part of the money it was allocated from Government under the UK Shared Prosperity Fund (UKSPF) and Rural England Prosperity Fund (REPF). SMEs can contact the New Anglia Growth Hub at www.newangliagrowthhub.co.uk/contact-us or by phoning 0300 333 6536.

Actions you can take right now

1) Use less energy at your office and workplace

Quick, low-cost measures include:

  • lighting – use LED bulbs for greater efficiency
  • heating – put your thermostat on a timer and seal your windows for extra insulation
  • office equipment – try to turn off and unplug devices when they’re not being used
  • ventilation – keep clean and carry out regular checks

2) Do an energy walk-round

Walk around your buildings to see if energy is being used efficiently.

Prepare a checklist

  • look at lighting, machinery, heating, refrigeration systems and ventilation
  • identify wasteful energy use and maintenance issues
  • check at different times of day and compare day and night time use
  • monitor over a period of a week for accurate average figures
  • make sure equipment is checked and cleaned regularly to ensure maximum efficiency

Learn more about reducing emissions caused by refrigeration

3) Decide if you need an energy strategy

Depending on the size of your business, you might need to implement an energy management strategy. An energy manager will help you:

  1. Measure and monitor energy use.
  2. Target ways to use energy as efficiently as possible.

Find out more from the Carbon Trust.

4) Train your workforce

You can train your team to be aware of energy efficiency in the workplace. Find a sustainability training course.

5) Change your energy tariff

Switch to a green energy tariff with your energy supplier. This will reduce your reliance on energy produced by fossil fuels.

6) Switch to a smart meter

This will allow you to see and control how much energy you use. Find out more about smart meters.

7) Manage your waste

Recycle waste to prevent it being taken to landfill sites where it takes longer to break down and causes more emissions.

Longer term actions

1) Make changes to your workplace

You can make long-term savings on energy bills by insulating your workplace and replacing old windows.

Check planning permission guidelines before you go ahead with any structural changes to the property.

2) Install renewables

If you are the legal owner of your property, you might consider installing renewable sources of energy.

For example:

By doing so, you could make significant long-term savings on energy bills.

3) Reduce transport emissions

Over a quarter of the UK’s carbon emissions are caused by transport. You can take measures to reduce emissions from freight and logistics.

If you have employees you could introduce a cycle-to-work initiative or encourage them to take public transport.

Visit our page on switching employee mode of transport for guidance.

Electric vehicles

If you use a work vehicle, you can reduce emissions by switching over to an electric vehicle (EV). You would be exempt from road tax, congestion charges and parking fees in certain areas.

For easy overnight charging you could install EV chargers at your home or workplace.

Visit our page to find out more about installing chargegpoints.

Transporting refrigerated goods

Learn how to reduce emissions when transporting refrigerated goods.

4) Use sustainable product packaging

Replace plastic with recyclable or compostable substitutes.

Types of sustainable packing include:

  • plant-based packaging
  • edible packaging – made from seaweed extract
  • compostable and biodegradable plastic alternatives
  • plantable packaging – which is made from seeds and can be buried in soil

Find sustainable packaging companies

Indirect emissions

To reduce indirect or ‘supply chain’ emissions you need to consider what happens before and after your business provides a service or makes a product.

1) Choose greener ‘upstream’ suppliers and products

  • use suppliers that measure and reduce carbon
  • help your suppliers with carbon reduction projects
  • buy products that take less energy to make, transport and operate

Find out more information on how to source products and services from green suppliers.

2) Reduce emissions ‘downstream’ of your business

  1. make products that take less energy to make, transport and operate
  2. reduce water consumption and waste disposal needs
  3. make investments in lower carbon financial products
  4. give incentives for lower emission activities in leased assets or franchises

3) Certify your supply chain action with PAS 2060

PAS 2060 is the internationally recognised standard that recognises your efforts towards carbon neutrality.

The standard process for PAS 2060 certification includes these steps:

  1. Measure greenhouse gas emissions (GHG) based on accurate data.
  2. Reduce of emissions through a carbon management plan.
  3. Document and verify through qualifying explanatory statements and make a public disclosure.

Through independent British Standards Institution (BSI) verification for PAS 2060, your business can demonstrate that it has met these requirements. You can show your business is environmentally friendly and contributing to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, while enhancing your organisation’s performance and resilience.

Search on Google for PAS 2060 certification organisations.

Share your progress

Sharing your progress will help employees and customers feel confident that you’re reducing carbon and moving towards net zero.

You should share your progress once you’ve done both of the following:

  • worked out a benchmark of emissions
  • started to take action

Find out more about how to track and share your progress.