Your net zero plan

You selected ‘Health and social care’ and ‘West Midlands’
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Understand your business emissions

1) What causes emissions

Direct carbon emissions produced by the health and social care industry:

  • energy use – electricity and gas for lighting, heating and equipment
  • general waste – when it is not recycled and ends up at landfill sites
  • transport – using petrol or diesel vehicles to get to work or deliver services

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 West Midlands:

  • Agri-tech Growth and Resources for Innovation (AGRI) gives SMEs free innovation support from experts at local universities – must be located in the Marches region
  • Alternative Raw Materials with Low Impact (ARLI) gives free energy efficiency advice and technical support to SMEs in the Greater Birmingham and Solihull areas
  • Business Energy Advice Service (BEAS) is offering 4000 free energy assessments to small businesses across the West Midlands, including Birmingham, Coventry, Dudley, Sandwell, Solihull, Walsall and Wolverhampton, as well as Worcestershire and the Marches, Warwickshire and Stoke and Staffordshire. The assessments will provide recommendations for energy reduction, helping to reduce costs.
  • Energy & Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI) gives SMEs expert advice and research support to develop low carbon products and services
  • GrowAgri gives SMEs 12 hours of expert support to adapt products for the horticulture and agriculture sectors – must be located in Worcestershire
  • Low Carbon Opportunities Programme (LoCOP) – gives SMEs free energy assessments and matching grants up to £100,000 to install renewable energy systems – must be located in Worcestershire
  • Net Zero Worcestershire support and grants – Worcestershire County Council offers free assessments and gran funding to help businesses save energy and reduce carbon and develop low carbon technologies
  • Sustainability West Midlands offers support and funding sustainable business on their regional hub
  • West Midlands Innovation Programme provides targeted support to SMEs to access more national innovation funding
  • The West Midlands Small to Medium Enterprise (SME) Grant Programme (WMGP) funding is available for:
    • start-up SMEs based in the West Midlands Region (grants of £2,500 to £7,500 are available for Birmingham, Cannock Chase and Solihull based businesses only)
    • existing SMEs based in the West Midlands Region (grants of £5,000 to £100,000 are available for Birmingham, Cannock Chase, Solihull, and Shropshire based businesses)
  • Worcestershire Decarbonisation Portal Worcestershire County Council has partnered with Climate Essentials to offer free access to their carbon management platform for one year, alongside onboarding sessions to help get your Worcestershire organisation started.

Actions you can take right now

1) Save energy at your 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

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

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) 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.

5) Switch to a smart meter

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

6) Manage your waste

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

7) Get training in energy efficiency

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

Longer term actions

1) Make changes to your workplace

If you are the legal owner, there are a number of long-term measures you can take to improve energy efficiency.

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

Improve insulation and windows

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

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.

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

2) Reduce transport emissions

Over 25% of the UK’s carbon emissions are caused by transport. You can take measures to reduce emissions from 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.

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.

Take part in the UK Net Zero Business Census
Take part in the UK Net Zero Business Census