Nottingham Trent University aims to help in carbon emissions goal
With the United Nations Climate Change Conference to take place in Scotland from October 31 to November 12, Nottingham Trent University is looking to offer practical support to reduce the carbon emissions of Nottingham’s small to medium-sized businesses.
The UK aims to be leading the charge at the conference, but a recent poll found that only one in ten UK businesses is measuring its carbon footprint.
The UK-wide poll was carried out by O2 and the British Chambers of Commerce (BCC) earlier this summer, having received responses from 1,072 businesses, with 94 per cent representing small to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). More locally, Nottingham City Council’s “Carbon Neutral Nottingham 2028” pledge has set ambitious carbon emissions reduction targets in a bid to become the UK’s first net-carbon neutral city by 2028. Businesses now need to respond to reduce risk, save costs and maintain competitiveness.
How to measure your carbon footprint and the importance to local small to medium-sized businesses
Measuring your carbon footprint can feel complex, even for those with business experience and specific training, such as attending free courses like the NTU-provided Sustainable and Inclusive Leadership course, which involves Carbon Literacy certification from the Carbon Literacy Trust. Therefore, allow Dr Ana Rita Domingues PhD MSc of Nottingham Trent University to explain some of the things that should be under your consideration.
“People are the core of any organisation,” begins Dr Domingues. “A commitment of leaders and employers is crucial to support a transition to carbon zero. Organisations can rethink their products to make them distributive and regenerative by design. They can also implement environmental strategies and practices, such as monitoring environmental performance, improving buildings’ insulation, and installing renewable electricity or heating to reduce carbon dependency. Premises are significant consumers of natural resources due to how processes are designed and the use of space.
“By rethinking the use of space, organisations can enhance social relations, which underpins environmental action. Nevertheless, the transition goes beyond physical boundaries. Organisations’ supply chains and the local communities are also crucial elements that underscore a sustainable transition.”
Reduce risk, save costs, and maintain competitiveness with help from Nottingham Trent University
Local small to medium-sized businesses can access bespoke sustainability and carbon management consultancy delivered by the Nottingham Business School (NBS). The service is led by final-year NTU students and academics with expertise in sustainability and carbon reduction, undertaking the following to produce a free carbon impact assessment for the organisation:
- Business needs assessment and project brief
- SME desk research including review of current environmental policy
- Identification of risks and opportunities associated with sustainability and carbon management
- Defining the area of the business to be audited
- Audit of resource data for carbon foot printing, e.g. energy (electricity, gas), fuel use, water, waste
- Assessment of carbon footprint and associated costs of consumption
“This is a complex area even for those of us with business experience and specific training.
I've done a couple of (free) courses myself, including the NTU-provided Sustainable and Inclusive Leadership course, which involves Carbon Literacy certification from the Carbon Literacy Trust, and I still feel under-equipped to approach this task comprehensively on my own,” said Adam Pickering, Marketing and Partnerships Manager at LeftLion Magazine Nottingham.
Many businesses could benefit from consultancy in this area and should email the team at [email protected] for information.
Businesses already making moves with the Carbon Management Programme
The Nottingham Business School will soon be launching their new Carbon Management Programme in the weeks leading up to the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP26). The programme’s first cohorts will consist of 10 local small to medium-sized businesses who will embark on a journey to better understand how to embed specific aspects of low-carbon and sustainable practices across their organisation. The programme will have four to five further cohorts throughout the lifespan of the Sustainability in Enterprise programme. Course dates are still to be confirmed, but expressions of interest are welcomed. Contact [email protected] to make an enquiry.
The Sustainability in Enterprise programme is part-funded by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF). ERDF helps local areas to stimulate their economic development by investing in projects which will support innovation, businesses, create jobs and local community regenerations.