World leaders have now gathered in Glasgow to debate and agree a united response to the climate emergency. There is a lot riding on COP26 – the fate of the world.
And yet, while our governments thrash out potential targets and goals, many business owners still have their heads in the sand.
The Institute of Directors today revealed that only a quarter of UK leaders have a fully formed plan for reaching net zero.
The vast majority have made little or no progress. Less than three in 10 even measure their carbon emissions.
How can this be?
Back in the summer, I wrote about the role that business must play in tackling climate change. Entrepreneurs are brilliant at finding solutions to impossible problems – and the climate emergency is certainly that.
But I also believe that the greener you are, the more viable and profitable your business will be.
Every business must set targets
Today I want to lay down the gauntlet for all business owners. It’s time to stand up and be counted as the world moves towards net zero.
This means having targets and a plan for reaching those targets. And these need to be decided now.
I am not just talking to leaders of mid-size or large companies here. Even one-man bands need to be thinking about this.
This is why I have been working closely with Business in The Community, The Prince’s charity, to extend membership options to small and even micro businesses, so that they can leverage the wealth of support and resources that the BITC offers companies moving towards a greener future.
The UK is home to 5.5m small businesses, representing 99.9% of the business population, and accounting for three-fifths of employment. Small business owners will be pivotal in the battle for net zero.
My commitment to net zero
The Institute of Directors has found that just 16% of leaders have set a date for reaching net zero. I feel extremely proud that BigChange is one of these ground-breaking companies, and that we are on target to reach net zero by 2022.
I know that it’s far easier for a technology company, which produces relatively low emissions, to make progress on this front. But we have also engineered our entire business model to save trees, reduce wasted journeys (thus saving fuel), and to cut speeding, which helps to reduce emissions.
This year we have saved 60m sheets of A4 paper. That is roughly equivalent to 7,200 trees, or 1.5 forests, through the use of our technology.
Our sole purpose is to improve lives by accelerating growth and sustainability in our community, partners and customers to become more sustainable and reach their own net-zero targets while helping them to grow and employ more people.
Let’s do this together
But we still have further improvements to make. We believe that by adding even more features and functionality to our scheduling software, we can save even more wasted journeys and incorporate the Internet of Things into our system, so that connected machinery and systems can say exactly which part needs replacing, we’ll be able to reduce visits by engineers.
The Queen summed up the need for action in her COP26 address yesterday. “None of us will live forever. But we are doing this for our children and for our children’s children and those who will follow in their footsteps.”
Tell me how you are planning to reach net zero. Let’s do this together.