Business West, the largest business organisation in South West England, has committed to work towards protecting the environment and addressing the climate crisis head-on. Representing over 23,000 businesses in the region, they are the first Chamber of Commerce to make this commitment and by 2030 aim to have met the target of net zero carbon emissions. In order to achieve their goal, they have issued a statement which indicates the steps they will be taking and how this will make an impact.
The bold targets from Business West, goes even further than Swindon Council’s own plans to become carbon neutral by 2030, which was unanimously agreed by council members in January 2020 (Labour, Liberal Democrat and Conservative council members backed the motion.)
Reducing all carbon emissions
By sourcing electricity from renewable sources via Ecotricity, Business West has agreed to install voltage optimisation at head office, together with LED lighting and energy-efficient office equipment including zoned heating controls and improved insulation. All remaining emissions will be balanced by using Gold Standard Verified Emission offsets.
Business West has committed to support their members and the local business community to help them make the transition. Chairman, Ian Wolsey said ‘”Climate change is a defining issue of our time and it is Business West’s view that business can make a pivotal contribution towards the rapid transitions required to overcome the challenges that it poses.” He added, “Far from being the sole preserve of scientists and activists, climate change is now a mainstream business issue. There can be no prosperous future generated at the expense of the environment – businesses must act now.”
Business West’s Initiative Manager, Nina Skubala, supports the move. ‘As a values-led organisation, we are clear that this statement represents a firm and ongoing commitment to tackling climate change for future generations. Reflective of our intentions, this statement will be enshrined as part of our accreditation status, to help us monitor our progress towards our goal of net-zero carbon by 2030, but also to hold us accountable to ourselves and the business community that we serve.”
Talking about how the statement was developed, Nina describes it as “a comprehensive organisational framework which takes account of the need to prioritise carbon reduction and offset carefully using verified schemes which support the UN Sustainable Development Goals.” She continued. “It also recognises the important role that Business West plays in the local business ecosystem, and its duty to challenge and support local businesses to take action.”
Wolsey said that Business West “recognised the importance of taking immediate action to tackle climate change, both in terms of its own operations and as a beacon for the local business community.” He also said. “As a leadership and membership organisation that supports 23,000 businesses across the South West, we are an organisation with the scale and influence to support and challenge the business community to prepare and adapt to meet the challenges of climate change.”
By publishing their commitment Business West are holding themselves accountable. “The publication of the Business West Climate Statement serves as a public record of our commitment to tackling climate change and aiding the transition to a sustainable and resilient local economy.” Wolsey said.