Posted on 26 February 2015
Skyline of the City of Bristol, UK. Source: Flickr/Rhonddal
Bristol is well-known for being a sustainable, forward-thinking city but more still needs to be done to embed sustainability in SMEs, larger businesses and enterprises as well as in charity and public sector organisations. There is a gap in the knowledge base and a need for greater motivation and more incentives to support businesses across the South West.
In February this year, over 300 people attended the launch of Go Green Bristol, an initiative under the 2015 European Green Capital Programme, which saw the launch of a new tool for Bristol’s businesses which SEI had a significant role in developing.
SEI researcher, Chris West, said “SEI has co-developed the Go Green Tool with NETpositive Futures and the Go Green team to provide the right information to businesses and other organisations in Bristol and the South West. The tool helps them to plan and deliver sustainable business practices and enables them to measure their impact and social value. The tool also provides data to monitor progress; identify where there are gaps in the market; and target future engagement opportunities.”
The tool, which is a development of previous work conducted within the NETpositive Initiative, is designed so that businesses with no prior sustainability experience can create a free, bespoke action plan that signposts them to local initiatives, events and further information, and addresses five key areas:
Action plans are developed based on what is relevant to the particular business. This allows businesses to think about a whole range of things they can do to improve, starting with the ones that matter most to them. They are also invited to “Prove it”, or rather, demonstrate where they have implemented actions.
Go Green Bristol is aimed at helping businesses play a major part in making the Bristol City region healthier, more competitive and more sustainable. It is led jointly by Business West and Low Carbon South West Go Green, with funding from Bristol 2015.
Andrew Garrad, Chair of Bristol 2015 said:
“We want to ensure that every business in the region has the chance to benefit from the awareness created by the European Green Capital award. We want to celebrate the success of our greenest companies, but also encourage many more to seize this opportunity to become greener, save money and find new customers”.
The tool is “Like having a sustainability expert in your pocket”, says Go Green Project Manager Jessica Ferrow. “We know that many businesses are interested in how they can become more resource efficient, reduce their environmental impacts and engage their staff in new ways, but they have limited time to implement these measures, let alone research them. This is where Go Green can help”.
The Go Green Tool has already garnered significant interest from businesses in the region with more than 80 companies starting an action plan during the first two weeks of launch. If successful it can be used as a template for other UK cities aspiring to become low carbon and will be of wider interest to future European green capital cities. SEI will be analyzing the data entered into the tool and will be making enhancements to the platform as it evolves.
The website is available at www.gogreenbusiness.co.uk.
Follow on Twitter @gogreenbristol | Twitter @NETpositiveOrg
Net Positive Futures - www.netpositivefutures.co.uk
Low Carbon South West - www.lowcarbonsouthwest.co.uk
Business West - www.businesswest.co.uk
Bristol 2015 - www.bristol2015.co.uk