Gemma Lakin takes a look at what companies are doing to help tackle climate change

A few weeks ago, my colleague Russell Jones looked at the story of John B McElmore, a man in a small town in Alabama who couldn’t understand why he was the only one in his neighbourhood who seemed to be trying to save the world from the effects of climate change.

After reading this blog, it made me wonder whether other companies are doing their bit to help or whether like John B McElmore our contribution to the environment is like a needle in a haystack.

As a company, we always actively try to identify ways to be environmentally responsible from installing renewable technologies on our roof to having recycling bins in every kitchen. Our CSR focuses on promoting biodiversity and protecting the environment and we have a programme called The Green Gateway which underlines everything we do as a business. We also encourage staff to do their bit with a ‘Count me in’ recycling programme and have an environmental education programme for Primary Schools called The Learning Curve.

So what are other companies doing? We all know about Marks and Spencers and their Plan A and there are hundreds I could focus on but here is just a few I have randomly selected.

Nandos

In March this year, Nandos opened its first ‘Next Generation Nandos’ which is its first restaurant to run on 100% renewable energy. It has 97 solar panels generating 10% of its electricity with the other 90% being generated by hydropower and Anaerobic digestion. It also features a huge array of other green features that help the planet including a whole wall of live plants.

Ikea

Ikea’s sustainability report revealed that in 2016 it sent zero waste to landfill in the UK, instead recycling materials to form part of its products. The firm don’t do this just to save the planet but find that it’s now more cost effective. Ikea also won a Guardian sustainable business award in 2016 for its steps towards making a net positive contribution to the environment.

UK Green Building Council

Last year when the UK Green Building Council had their headquarters refurbished they wanted to help minimise their environmental footprint and improve the wellbeing and productivity of their staff. Incorporated in the design was a living wall with over 1,500 plants; an innovative ventilation system, which has delivered a 750% increase in background fresh air provision; an automated low-energy LED lighting system; and products and finishes that minimise (and in some cases actively remove) pollutants from the air.

Whitbread / Costa

Costa coffee shop recently opened their new ‘Eco Pod’ store in Wrekin Retail Park in Telford. The ‘Eco Pod’ is ‘zero energy’ building which is achieved through passive ventilation and construction techniques such as intelligent orientation of the building which helps with the heating and cooling of the building.

Wyke Farms

Winner of the Guardian Sustainable business of the year award in 2016, Wyke Farms has spent a lot of time working towards a sustainability plan where they generate electricity, gas and heat from renewable sources. The company, which sells its cheese through companies such as Sainsburys and Waitrose now saves over £100,000 a year on their energy bills thanks to the initiatives they have In place including the installation of solar panels, as well as the creation of biogas from cow dung.

Just some of the immediate benefits

Why should a company go green?

  • Save money

    Although the initial outlay for renewable technologies can be expensive, capital costs can often be offset against annual tax bills and over time renewable technologies use less energy, saving on running costs.

  • Healthier work environment

    Happy and healthy staff are likely to stay at your company longer and be more productive.

  • Attract customers

    Many people now take into consideration how ethical and sustainable a company is when buying from them - it really can now make a difference

So, my apologies if your company is doing loads of good things and I've not managed to give you full credit here.

If there's more you could be doing though, I hope this has inspired you to find out more.