At Business West, we recognise that we have the ability to make a positive impact on the wider community and the environment both through our own organisation and by galvanising the wider business community.
Our Corporate and Social Responsibility reflect our purpose to not only help businesses of all sizes start, grow, export and innovate but also recognises that a successful region is more than just economic prosperity. Our desire is for a region rich in culture, devoid of inequality and poverty. Put simply, we want this region to be the place to live, work, learn and prosper.
Business West is committed to safeguarding the environment and addressing the Climate Crisis. We are Carbon Neutral and aim to be net zero carbon, having cut all our emissions, by 2030.
We are committed to:
- Reducing emissions: We are accelerating our existing carbon reduction programme across our organisation and business activity (Scope 1, 2, 3) and balancing remaining emissions with Gold Standard Verified Emissions Reduction (GS VER) offsets. [1,2]
- Engaging business: Supporting our members and wider business communities to make a just transition  on their journey towards net zero and climate resilience, while enhancing and protecting natural assets globally.
- Accelerating the region: Working with our stakeholders on transitioning our region to meet Net Zero targets and achieving a climate and nature resilient economy and place.
Business West Chambers of Commerce and Initiative has signed up to the International Chambers of Commerce Chamber Climate Coalition  and will use its certified ISO 14001 Environmental Management System  and B Corp certification  to help monitor and challenge our progress.
- Scope 1 refers to direct emissions e.g. gas used for heating, Scope 2 refers to the emissions from purchased energy (e.g. electricity, heat, steam) and Scope 3 refers to indirect emissions (e.g. waste disposal, business travel, purchased goods and services). www.carbontrust.com/resources/briefing-what-are-scope-3-emissions
- Business West is Offsetting its carbon emissions and those of its workforce using Gold Standard Verified Emissions Reduction (GS VER) offsets https://ecologi.com/businesswestltd
- British Chambers of Commerce and other leading business groups have called on the government for a Just Transition to Net Zero. This is to: account for the scale of the ambition; have clear and accountable governance; have a diverse set of business led solutions; ensure businesses from all sectors in every region can contribute to a net zero economy; and that climate change policies are affordable and achievable. https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/media/get/A%20Just%20Transition%20to%... .docx
- Chambers Climate Coalition provides a platform for chambers to demonstrate their commitment to an effective global response to the growing climate emergency https://www.chambers4climate.iccwbo.org/
- IS0 14001 Certification demonstrates that a business has an independently audited framework to manage and reduce its environmental impacts https://www.iso.org/iso-14001-environmental-management.html
- Certified B Corps are businesses that meet the highest standards of verified social and environmental performance, public transparency and legal accountability to balance profit and purpose https://bcorporation.uk/
Since 2011, Business West has had an environmental management system that is UKAS Certified to ISO 14001 which has enabled us to drive environmental and sustainability improvements throughout our organisation.
In 2015 we launched Go Green, a scheme to celebrate Bristol winning the title European Green Capital. This scheme has inspired over 1000 businesses across the region to adopt and embed sustainable practices across 5 areas:
- Planning and Resilience
- Travel and Transport
- Energy and Efficiency
- Sustainable Sourcing
- Happy and Healthy
We are also strategic partners of the Bristol Green Capital Partnership. This organisation seeks to create a Sustainable City with a high quality of life for all
Within Business West , we use the Go Green framework for our own corporate sustainability efforts.
Planning and Resilience
We recognise the importance of planning for the future, having ambitious and inclusive growth plans and creating for opportunities for all. Much of this work is centred on:
- Working with young people to create opportunities, inspire and develop our future workforce
- Creating conditions to enable continued growth and prosperity whilst addressing inequalities
- Celebrating diversity and developing strong communities
This is an annual awards ceremony that celebrates the achievements of young people in Bristol. We provide on-going annual support by raising the profile of the Awards and helping the organisers gather sponsorship.
This is a new social venture and charity that works across the South West which creates solutions to help reduce youth offending and gang warfare. The challenge is to help young men coming out of jail onto a new path through mentoring, work tasters, and ultimately to assist them in finding and sustaining long-term employment in order to create a new future. We help by connecting this organisation to local initiatives and provide opportunities to raise its profile.
We helped set up this Social Enterprise that provides support to children and young people to change their lives and reach their full potential. The West of England Initiative Chairman, Dr John Savage CBE, chairs this organisation.
Through the Bristol Initiative Charitable Trust we support the work of My Future My Choice to develop innovative educational programs to create learners with attitude.
We sit on the board of this organisation which is focused on working within disadvantaged communities.
Working alongside a range of partners in Bristol under the “City Office” famework we are addressing the acute problem of rough sleeping. Through a range of initiatives, the aim is to create opportunities to tackle this complex issue.
91 Ways - Bristol Food Connections
We support 91 Ways which celebrates the 91 languages spoken throughout Bristol reflecting 91 cultures. Citizens across the city are invited to take part in Supper Clubs to learn about different cultures and connect over food.
We are partners in this initiative which aims to create a city free from gender-based violence, abuse, harassment and exploitation.
Travel and Transport
We recognise that this region’s success is partly due to its excellent regional and international transport connection. Its success in part comes at a cost with congestion and issues of poor air quality. Our view is that business can play an important role in adopting more sustainable transport solutions.
Local Sustainable Transport Fund
We have supported local authority bids for funding to encourage more sustainable forms of transport, we do this by promoting locally available grant schemes and sitting on steering groups to promote electric vehicles. Each year we support the Commuter Challenge this encourages employers and employees to change from single cars to more sustainable forms of transport.
We recognise that businesses can have a big impact through procurement. The choices business makes beyond obtaining the best price can achieve wider social and environmental aims.
We sit on the Anti Slavery Partnership which seeks to eradicate human trafficking and slavery in our area and further afield. We have supported the development of the TISC Report which helps business register their intent to help tackle modern day slavery.
South West Fairtrade
We have a long history of supporting the Fair Trade movement across the South West, through running, judging and promoting its Business Awards as well as planning its International Conference in 2015.
Happy and Healthy
We recognise that wellness is important in the workplace in terms of staff retention, motivation and productivity.
In 2017 Bristol will be the European City of Sport. To enable businesses to engage in this we are partnering with Wesport who are developing a series of workplace sporting challenges throughout the year as well as Bristol Sport who provide opportunities for business networking in a sport setting.